With spring just around the corner, it’s time to start dreaming about summer barbeques, lazy alfresco brunches and long evenings spent in the garden. This means it’s also time to make sure your patio is in tip top shape so you’ll really be able to enjoy all that sunshine we’re sure to have this summer.

(A little positive thinking never hurt…!)

After a nasty winter such as the one we’ve just had, your patio and paved areas are likely looking a bit worse for wear. Weeds and moss love all that damp horrible weather, and will probably have left your garden oasis looking a bit more like the creature from the black lagoon.

But not to worry, because just a little bit of elbow grease will leave your patio and paved areas spick and span and ready for your guests.

A good old fashioned scrub

For this, you’ll need a bucket or basin filled with hot soapy water (washing up liquid will do, as will most floor cleaners, just make sure that it’s acid free as acidic cleaners might react with the concrete), and a scrubbing brush. Then get scrubbing: as an added bonus, you probably won’t need to go to the gym that day. When you’re done just hose the debris into the nearest drain (try to avoid the soapy water going into your garden or flower beds though, your plants won’t thank you!)

If you have a power washer, that will do the job just as well, though it won’t get you out of your upper body workout. If you’re not used to using a power washer, always try it on a less visible corner somewhere as too much pressure can damage the surface of your paving.

For any greasy spots near the barbeque, apply a little degreaser. You can even make a natural degreaser with some baking soda, lemon and warm water.

If you’re tackling 20-odd years’ worth of grime and swamp-thing growth, you might want to invest in a chemical cleaner or call the professionals in.

Get weeding

You’ll probably find that some weeds have properly taken root in between your paving stones over winter. The best way to take care of those is simply to yank them out, taking care to get as much of the root as you possibly can. A small trowel or special paving weeding tool will help.

Pouring boiling water straight from the kettle over your patio will help to eliminate really stubborn weeds or those you can’t reach, or sprinkle some cheap salt and leave it for a day or two.

If you had any real monsters growing between the slabs, removing them might disturb the joint, so you’ll need to repair it with any suitable mortar mix.

Keep on top of it

After all your hard work, you’ll want to be able to enjoy your patio and paved areas for the rest of the summer, so make sure you give them a good brush every few weeks. Getting rid of debris and stopping seeds from taking root in the first place is the best way to keep your garden looking wonderful.