By Alek. Patio. Published at Thursday, October 04th, 2018 - 15:03:28 PM.
How To Protect Your Patio Area From The Elements As a nation we are spending more and more time outdoors on our patios each year as well as spending more and more money on maintaining the appearance of our outdoor garden living area. One way to guarantee that the look of out patio is maintained in tip top condition is to use a patio cover in the winter months or whenever the outdoor area isnt being used to protect the surface from the elements. One problem that occurs on nearly every un-covered patio area is that of moss and weeds growing between the stones of the patio. Although a patio cover will not totally eradicate this problem it will reduce them amount of sunlight and moisture that can filter its way down to the horrible little weeds and restrict their growth. What ever weeds do grow will not be as strong as ones that have been exposed to full sunlight and moisture and will be easier to uproot. One of the most mind numbingly laborious jobs of any spring and summer has got to be jet washing the patio clean to get rid of the debris that have congregated on the patio area over the winter months. This job can be avoided by putting a patio cover in place in the late summer to avoid and debris of moss accumulating on the stones. The moss can especially be a nuisance as this can permanently discolor the patio which is not a good look. As well as these points, if you add a patio cover to your outdoor living area before the autumn and winter months set in you can spend the time that you would have spent cleaning enjoying the patio with your family. You should always look for a strong and robust cover that will with stand the weather and elements over the winter months as well as being easy to un-cover and fold away when the time is needed. If you are not confident at fitting a patio cover on your own it is possible to get a specialist in who will do the job correctly and ensure that the cover is in tip top working order before the job is complete. This is a more expensive option to take but at least if you are not so confident you will know that the job has been completed well and to a high standard. Patio covers can save you a lot of time and money in the long run and are well worth paying out for as soon as youve had a patio area fitted out. A patio cover will prolong the look and the life of your patio area over many years.
Patio Design & Decor The patio used to be a place, where you would set up a couple of chairs, a table, and maybe a couple of plants. These days, a patio can be an outdoor living room, a greenhouse, a garden, or even an outdoor kitchen. The function of a patio has definitely changed. From just a paved space for a weekend barbecue, the patio has become a space where family and friends gather to chat, or to relax. You can find a wide range of patio furniture and patio decor to fit your needs. The furniture you place on your patio will be determined by the function of the patio. If you want a space to gather and chat, you can find a wide variety of chairs and benches for seating, as well as small tables where drinks can be placed. If your patio is mostly a dining area, you can buy a table or two where dinner is served. A hammock, or even a bed would be appropriate if the patio will be a place to simply relax or take a nap in the afternoons. Obviously, you can use the patio for more than one function, and furnish it accordingly. Place a table and a few chairs at one end for entertaining, and a hammock at the other end for relaxing. Additional furnishings and appliances can be used to enhance your patio. If you love cooking, youll probably want more than just the typical backyard grill. Youll probably want something a bit more substantial, with more cooking space. If you have enough space on your patio, you can even install an entire kitchen, with cupboards, sink, and refrigerator. Most of us dont have the space for something that elaborate, but it can be done. For the most part, a good sized grill, either charcoal or gas, will make outdoor cooking a pleasant experience. If it gets cold in the evenings, you can add a patio heater or chimney to heat things up on cold evenings, and extend the use of your patio into the fall when the weather cools down. You can add a campfire atmosphere to your patio with a nice fire pit. You can find fire pits of many different materials and designs for your patio. Some of them burn wood, while others are gas powered. The decor of the patio should reflect your tastes, and be unique. Browse online, or look through your local flea markets and garage sales, and you can find wall art, to hang on the walls or a post, to add a touch of decor to the patio. If you like gardening, you can add some containers or hanging baskets filled with flowers, to add a touch of color to your deck. If you like the sound of falling water, there are many fountains available to either mount on the wall, or set on the deck. The possibilities are endless when it comes to decorating your patio. Use your imagination, and make your patio unique. I could go on and on about decorating patios, but that could fill several pages. Browse through some home and garden magazines, visit your friends and relatives, and see what theyve done with their patios. Make notes of what you like, and what you dont like. Then take a look at your patio. Decide what you want to use the patio for, how you want to decorate it, and go for it. Make your patio a place where you can relax, and enjoy life.
Sealing Your Patio Pavers - 11 Keys to Successfully Sealing Your Patio When my neighbor first decided to install a paver-block patio behind his home, he chose paver stones for several good reasons. He thought they would last longer than other materials like wood, or poured concrete, he thought they had a really "rich" elegant look to them and most of all, he thought that they would be maintenance free. Well, he almost had it right. They do look great and theyre incredibly durable, but it wasnt long before he learned that they arent completely maintenance free. After several seasons of rain, snow and sun, the patio just didnt look as good as it first did when he had it installed. The sun was beginning to fade the color in some areas, the sand between the stones had been washed away by the rains and weeds had started growing in the gaps between the pavers. He even began to see ant colonies beginning to form using his precious paver sand as their new home. Well, the solution to his problem was fairly simple. It was time to clean the patio up and seal it for protection. And though he was somewhat reluctant at first to attempt this project on his own, once I began to walk him through the various steps, he decided it didnt sound that tough and he ought to be able to seal his patio himself. I concurred. "Just observe these simple 11 keys", I told him, "and when youre done your patio will look like it was done by the Pros!" 1. First, take your time With every project that I undertake, I cant stress this point enough. From the beginning to the end, with every step in between, take your time. When you rush a project through you make mistakes, and mistakes are what the pros are able to avoid. Sometimes its just a matter of cleaning the surface a little better, or rinsing things off a little more. Maybe its allowing a little more time between coats for your sealer to dry or waiting a few more hours before re-installing your patio furniture. With every step of the process, take your time. The chances are much better that when the work is all done and the tools have been stored, youll look at the finished result and be satisfied that it turned out just as you had hoped it would. 2. Acids can be great cleaners Often times when you inspect the patio, prior to washing youll notice stains. Leaves that have remained on the patio can leave tannin stains. Iron furniture that sits on the patio will most likely leave rust stains. Whatever stains you find need to be removed prior to sealing or they will be sealed in and become permanent, so now is the time to work on them. The simplest way to get the stains out is by using an acid cleaner. Conventional muriatic acid works well and its cheap, but I hate it. If you get it on your skin it burns and the vapors from it are just terrible. Instead, I use a "safer" cleaner, such as Defy Safer Masonry Cleaner. For severe stains, I simply pour a little cleaner at full strength on the stain and give it a few minutes to work before rinsing. If the whole patio is fairly dirty, dilute the cleaner 4:1 (four parts water to one part cleaner) and using a garden-type pump up sprayer, spray the entire surface with cleaner. Allow the cleaner to remain wet on the surface for 5 minutes or so, and then begin the rinsing process using a power washer. 3. Clean, clean and then clean some more In regard to the prep work, sealing you patio isnt much different than staining your deck or painting your house. Much of the quality of the job comes down to how well you prepare the surface. Patios that have weathered will often times have mildew, moss and algae growing on the stones and in the sand between the joints. Weeds that have begun to grow as well as any other foreign debris need to be removed, and for a patio that means a good cleaning. The easiest way to clean things off is with a power washer. Make certain that you select a washer with enough power to do the job. I try to never use anything rated less than 2400 p.s.i. Select a tip that will fan the water out slightly, 15° or so. Also, always work in sections. Patios should be constructed so that water runs away from the home. So begin working near the house or the high side of the slope of the patio. Rinse debris down the patios natural flow, away from the house. Youll loose some of the sand between the joints during the cleaning process and thats ok. Well replace the sand once the patio is cleaned up. Just be careful not to blow out more sand than is necessary while doing your cleaning. 4. Now this ones on the "level" With the patio now cleaned, look around and inspect the condition of the pavers. Over time, paver stones can settle or shift, making them unlevel. If you have some bricks that are out of place, using a screwdriver and a stiff putty knife, pry the uneven stones out. Once removed, you can add a little sand, smooth it out with the blade of your putty knife, and re-install the bricks. A couple of taps with a rubber mallet to make things perfect and voila, the bricks are level once again. 5. Its time to fill this joint The last remaining step in getting the patio ready to seal is to re-grout the joints between the stones with fresh sand. This step isnt hard, but it does take a little time so be patient. To do this, I use a fine grade of run-of-the-mill play box sand. Pour a small amount on the patio and begin sweeping it into the joints using a push-broom. Sweep in both directions; back-to-front and left-to-right to insure the joints get completely filled. As the sand gets used up by filling the joints pour a little more onto the patio and keep sweeping. 6. Break time This is the part youre going to love. Go take a break! Remember when we started I said to take your time? Well now its very important that you take your time. After all of the cleaning that we did, the ground under those pavers is soaking wet and needs to dry out. Give the patio a couple of good, hot sunny days to dry out before applying any sealer. If you dont, you could end up trapping moisture under the sealer and the whole project will turn a milky-white color...yuck! 7. Take a look at Waterborne Sealers Its time to pick out your sealer now and the choices are solvent-based products or water-based products. I hate solvents! "Why?" you ask. Heres why: 1. Theyre bad for our environment. 2. If they get on my grass or flowers, they kill them. 3. They smell terrible. 4. Everything has to be cleaned up with messy solvents. Water-base sealers are a much better choice. Besides being both easy to use and easy on the environment, they offer another amazing advantage. They "stabilize" the sand. When cured, water-based sealers such as Defys Epoxy Fortified Paver Sealer, will harden the joint sand and lock it into place. This prevents it from washing out during future rains. 8. Read the can, follow directions Every manufacturers product can be little different so always read the directions. It only takes a few minutes but it will ensure that you have all the right information before you get started. Pay attention to details such as how many coats of sealer to apply, how long to wait between coats, how to properly apply the product and how to clean it up. There are any number of variations to these questions and more. Read the label first and youll be likely to get it right the first time. 9. This sprayin stuff is easy Now the fun stuff begins...applying the sealer. To do this, I love to use a garden-type pump up sprayer but Ill warn you in advance, dont buy a cheap one! The better sprayers (they usually cost over $50 bucks) have a metal fan-style spray tip and do a much better job than the inexpensive weed sprayers. When youre looking for a sprayer, the key here is to look for a "fan-style tip". The patio edges can be cut-in using a 4" nylon brush and then youre ready to start spraying. Water-based sealers normally require two coats to be applied. Once youve cut-in the edges, spray the entire patio with the first coat. Then wait for the sealer to dry enough that it can walked on, and do the same thing all over again...two coats! If you get things on too heavy and the sealer starts to puddle, use the brush to get rid of the puddling by simply brushing it out. If you want to see what this process looks like, you can visit defyinfo.com where you can find a streaming video detailing each of the steps that weve taken. 10. MORE is definitely NOT better Ok, if a little is good then a lot must be better, right? No! Remember, were sealing concrete paver stones and these stones are sitting on a bed of sand. When the sand gets wet and then the sun comes out, these pavers need to breathe, meaning they need to let any water vapors pass through them. When too much sealer is applied, the water vapor can no longer pass through, which results in a white "blushing" effect or even potentially peeling. Dont be fooled, I know how great this stuff can look if you really lay it on, how cool that high gloss finish is. But it will blush and peel. Limit your application to two coats and you wont have a problem. 11. How about a little maintenance Ok, great job, now just one more thing. How about a little maintenance? Blow the leaves off when they fall to keep them from staining. Rinse the dirt and debris that seems to just show up over time. And as the weather begins to dull down the finish and the patio loses its luster, simply rinse it off and apply a light maintenance coat. Catch it before the patio gets too weathered and its really that simply. So thats it. Thats everything. Eleven keys to sealing your patio. Go ahead and try these eleven keys for yourself. See what the results are when you set out on your next project to do it like a pro. You might just surprise yourself!
What Flagstone Pavers to Choose for Your Patio, and What to Think About When Creating Your Design! Every garden needs a patio, somewhere to sit and reflect, enjoy your garden, entertain and relax. Often, a patio will be the focal point of a garden so it is important to not only get your patio design right, but to also use the right materials! Bricks, concrete and pebbles can be used, but often the most popular choice is flagstones as they are generally flat and durable. Choosing what flagstone pavers to use can be a daunting task, as they come in such as vast array of sizes, shapes, colours and textures. Budget will obviously have a big bearing on your decision and you must make sure that whatever paver you choose you are happy with it, because you do not want to have to be taking up and relaying your patio if you can help it!! When purchasing your flagstones get them all at the same time, to avoid variations in texture and colour. Popular choices for flags include sandstone, limestone and granite. There are also a lot of imported stones available like indian stone, which is often a cheaper option to some regional stones like yorkshire stone. Take your time to choose your flagstone pavers. A lot of garden centres and builders yards will have them on display for you to view. Choose something that will compliment your existing style and features. You dont want to spend a lot of money on the in thing only to discover it has gone out of fashion in a few years time! The shape of patio that you choose will depend on your design and the shape and size of your garden. Patios should look natural and flow with the overall design of your garden. Patios can be raised, flat, square, rectangle, round the list is endless. Rectangle and square patios tend to be more traditional and fit into spaces well, so if you have a smaller garden it is often better to choose a patio with straight edges. If you have a bit more space, then you might want to consider a patio with curves to create a soft flowing look. Give consideration as to what you will be using your patio for, and what type and size of patio furniture or ornaments are going to be placed on your patio area. I have often seen people build patios which are going to be used as a family eating area, only for the whole patio to be swamped when a family table is placed on it, making it difficult for people to manoeuvre round the table and leaving absolutely no room for anything else such as pots, ornaments or seating. If you intend to entertain on your patio or eat as a family on it, make sure that your patio is big enough! There is nothing worse than designing and building your patio, only to discover it is too small as does not meet your needs! Another very important point of consideration in any patio design is where to place your patio. Patios really can go anywhere in the garden and more and more people are moving away from the traditional positioning of a patio, which is usually adjoining your house. Consider sunlight. Will the position you have chosen for your patio get the sun? Does that position get a breeze compared to other parts of your garden? Will you have to cross wet grass to get to your patio? Will your patio position be overlooked by your neighbours? Finally, how far is your patio from the kitchen if you intend to carry food and drinks to it? Make sure all these points are considered before choosing a location. There are so many aspects to consider when building a patio, but whatever you do, think about your design carefully and do not rush! Plan carefully so that you end up with a patio that you truly love and can enjoy!
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