Get your garden ready for summer with our personal guide to Spring cleaning the outside of your home.
I was looking at my own garden the other day from our kitchen and thinking what a mess it looks. I’ll be honest we’ve not used it much over the last 4 or 5 months, and it shows.
Our lawn is looking a bit worse for wear, fence paint peeling, leaves are still on the ground and the aftermath of all the snow dumped on it by the ‘Beast from the East’ seems to of left a right old mess.
I mentioned in one of our posts last month that I’d recently ripped up a load of decking, so that job needs tackling too.
So with some of the great weather we’ve been getting over the last few weeks, I thought I’d turn our attention to giving our gardens a bit of Spring clean. A few tips to get them ready for what will hopefully be a good summer.
I’ll be honest, I’ve neglected our gardening and DIY based posts in recent months, maybe the Winter has played its part there. So hopefully, this post will remedy that.
We are well into Spring, and this weekend is the perfect time to get our wellies on and get outside. Me personally, I like to kick things off by giving the outside of my home a good spring clean.
You need to after Winter. Everything from jet washing patios and driveways to cleaning the conservatory and window frames etc. Now is the time to tackle these jobs. Box off a weekend, and roll your sleeves up.
The Lazy Susan guide to giving your garden a Spring clean
We spring clean the inside of our homes. So it makes perfect sense to spring clean the outside. Do it when the weather is nice, a little sunshine, a day or two of cleaning outside, and you’ll have you’re garden looking great.
Unfortunately, we can’t cover everything in this article, but I will try and cover the main spring cleaning jobs that I like to tackle in one hit, from patio cleaning to lawns. Give you an overview of the jobs I do at this time of year.
Spring Clean A Stone Patio
You can really make a difference to your outdoor space by giving your patio a good clean. I have a slate patio and it is a breeding ground for algae and moss. Not to mention how easily stains seem to appear from nowhere on it.
Mind, I tend to clean my road bike on it. All the lubricant, and the special solution you use to clean the chain and gears, leave some terrible stains. A good scrub though, and it comes back like new.
And this method that I use is gentle enough to clean all types of stone, be it slate or sandstone, whatever.
Mix a good squirt of washing up liquid and warm water in a large bucket. Pour it onto the patio, and then using a stiff bristled outdoor brush give it a good scrub.
If there’s any tougher stains, such as those left behind after cleaning my bike, then I’ll add a small squirt of household bleach to mix.
You can buy specialist patio cleaners, but I’ve tried several, and I’m yet to find one that cleans any better than good old washing up liquid.
When you’ve finished scrubbing the whole patio, leave the soapy mixture to soak for 5 minutes or so, but don’t let it dry. Then with the spray nozzle set to a wide fan, use a pressure washer to give the patio a good rinse.
Don’t hold the nozzle too close to the stone as it can damage it. For any stubborn stains, move it closer if need be but be careful, and avoid the mortar between the stone flags as it is easy to damage/dislodge it.
The pressure washer is great for this job though, it will easily clean the majority of dirt and grime off your stone patio.
Spring Clean Decking
Decking on the other hand. Never clean with a pressure washer in my opinion. The timber is just too soft, and you’ll strip it. Even composite decking is susceptible to marking. It is just best avoided and not necessary.
Alternatively, there are deck cleaning attachments specifically designed for the job. I never felt the need to use one on our old deck, but a friend swears by the Kärcher T550 (pictured above). Me, I’m happy with just a garden hose and brush.
If you’ve just had your decking laid, then I would advise that you leave it for about 12 months before you think about staining or oiling it. This will give the timber a chance to bed in and weather naturally.
However, if on the other hand you’re looking at refinishing, then you must strip all the timber back to bare wood before you apply any new stains or oils.
How I Clean Decking
But for this article, I don’t want to go into the finer details of staining etc. Save that one for another day.
For the purpose of this post, I just want to focus on how I (as i mentioned above, used to, as we’ve recently removed ours) would give my decking a post winter spring clean.
Start by clearing your deck area and then using that stiff brush again, give it a good sweep. Get all that loose debris and dirt swept up.
As you go, keep an eye out for any loose decking or raised screws. Secure them before you proceed. And if you have grooved decking, make sure you remove all the dirt and debris from down in those grooves too.
Unlike stone patios, when it comes to timber, I would advise you do purchase a specialist cleaner. There’s several to choose from, but I always used Ronseal’s Decking Cleaner & Reviver (pictured above) for a Spring clean.
It’s fast acting, so you don’t have to wait that long to get started on the cleaning. It removes mould and algae, and an be used over stains and oils.
Does the job, which sounds like one of their adverts I know, but it does.
And it seems to keep it clean for longer, I only used to really clean once a year, followed with a little protector (more of that in a bit). Other than that, just a regular sweeping kept ours looking great.
You just pour it directly onto your decking and then scrub the surface immediately with a stiff brush. Then leave for 15-20 minutes.
Just make sure you check the recommended product instructions on whichever product you buy, but I think the majority of them can be poured directly onto your decking.
Make sure you only pour it onto one small area at a time. Whatever you can manage. This will ensure that you can get it scrubbed before it has a chance to dry.
And be careful with any surrounding lawns or planting. Don’t let the solutions sit on them, rinse it off immediately.
Rinse off thoroughly with clean water, and if you do want to the use a pressure washer with a specialist deck/patio cleaning attachment, then this is point to do it.
Apply Decking Protector
Personally, I find the Cleaner & Reviver does a great job on its own, but I guess it depends on the condition of your decking. My friends was surrounded by trees, so she felt the pressure washer with attachment was needed.
Leave the decking to dry for at least 24 hours before applying any paint or stain.
However, if you’re happy with how your decking looks, and don’t feel you need to re-stain, then you might just want to also apply the afore mentioned decking protector.
This will just help to keep it cleaner longer and stop it from weathering. Again, Ronseal have it covered with their Decking Protector (pictured above).
It just helps to give that little extra protection from the sun, rain, and constantly being walked on. The finish is matte and clear when it dries too, so it won’t alter the colour of your decking.
So that’s it for Part 1 of our garden spring clean article.
Part 2 is available now, and in that we look at Spring cleaning garden furniture, windows and guttering. Plus, theres some tips on spring maintenance of lawns and planting. You can read that here.