“Summer has arrived!” It’s official, and the first day of summer, Sunday 1st of June was a cracker, sunny and warm all day, and my first family barbecue of the season! Also a first, there were no pressing DIY jobs to do, so I could relax and enjoy the whole wonderful day outside in the garden! The reason for my DIY-free day, I had already done it all, (although my wife would disagree!) Normally I like to work on the garden and prepare it for the coming summer end of April, beginning of May, but as I was really busy I didn’t get a chance until the last week in May, which was pretty miserable weather-wise.
I always have a routine to get the garden ready: first I cut the grass and remove any weeds from the lawn, (I use a tool I bought from Lidl’s which extracts the weed and deep taproot very effectively!) seed any bald patches, mainly caused by Alfie’s regular rest-stops around the garden, (oh Alfie’s our ten stone+ Rhodesian ridgeback!). I bought a grass seed specifically designed for urine-bald patches at Lidl, the success has been patchy!) I weed all the flower beds including all the raised ones, apply a fertiliser, and dig over and rake the soil, I top-dress and feed all my potted plants, renew any damaged plant and tree-stakes and tie’s.
I clear everything off my patio and steps, and sweep it all clean, now it’s time to wash everything! My patio is a sunken terrace, laid with English sandstone, with a limestone inlaid pattern, surrounded by a 4ft 6in old london-stock retaining brick wall, which is really lovely, and effectively prevents us being overlooked, which is rare when surrounded by houses, especially in London. Up until three years ago, I would use a hydro-chloric acid based cleaner, like Brick-clean, or Disc-clean, diluted with water, and poured over the paving with a watering can and worked in with a yard broom, and rinsed off with water. This method is very effective, but hard work, and used to take me the best part of a day to do when including the front drive, (old york-stone) and steps, (new sand-stone). You have to use gloves and safety goggles to stay safe, but I don’t really feel comfortable putting these chemicals into the environment.
Then I got a Karcher power washer, (be careful when using the lance, you can blast out the pointing between the slabs, especially if laid on sand!) and it came with an attachment like a large yellow easter egg. This is for cleaning patio’s and decking effortlessly, and as a man of many tools, and not easily impressed, I have to say I was blown away, the paving came up like new, and I had the whole job done, back and front, including the large raised deck in just a couple of hours, and not a drop of chemical into the environment, just water (and not a lot of that either – a very impressive bit of German engineering). All the garden furniture, big stone BBQ, drain gullies, rubbish bins, get their major annual clean using a range of purpose made products from that great old British brand Jeyes (Jeyes fluid) leaving your garden contamination free, (blooming foxes!) clean and safe for the family, for the whole summer!