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Why bother with garden paving?

Paving stones in your garden are beautiful, easy to look after, and add structure to the layout of your garden, as well as being good places to put pots and garden furniture. But there are many choices in garden flagstones, so which option is best for you, and how do you look after it?

The first thing you should be thinking about is what kind of look you want to go for, something modern, sleek and minimalist, or some of the gorgeous flourishes and style of more traditional garden paving. What kind of colours would you like to see, and how will that work with the rest of your garden at different times of year?

Porcelain flags are becoming more common and have the added benefit that you can use them both inside and outside your house for an interesting continuous look. It's usually best to get a designer to lay out your patterns if you're using smaller paving stones in your garden, since even the simplest layouts can be spoiled by a mislaid stone. Of course, garden and path edging and patio edging can be done easily enough!

Looking after your garden paving depends on the type of stone that was used, hard or non porous stones will need less work to keep them looking well, while algae and dirt can build up in the more textured stones. High pressure power washing your stones is usually a bad idea though, since it can damage the surface of the stones! Low or mid pressure washing is often the best approach, with that said, so use a variable pressure washer.

A good sweep with a stiff brush will clear out a lot of dirt and leave your paving or flag stones looking a lot brighter, but algae and moss may need a bit more work. A harder brush at first, followed by plenty of hot water mixed with washing up liquid will soon clear this vegetation, if left for two to three days. A better solution is a professional cleaning mixture.

Sealing your paving is a great idea, since it improves the colour of your stonework and prevents future growth by blocking off the little cracks and pores in the stones.

One other thing to keep in mind, particularly in concrete paving, is the appearance of efflorescence, which looks like unpleasant whitish stains on the concrete surface. This is just a chemical reaction with the air and will vanish over the course of a couple of years.

 


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