Renovating a Patio


You may have just moved into a new house and inherited a tired looking terrace or patio, or you may simply want to spruce up one that you've owned for years. We've put together some tips and tricks to help you revamp your patio and make it into a place where you can sit out and relax in comfort and style.

Uneven Slabs

Uneven patio slabs can be a real safety hazard, especially if they are located on the main route through to the garden or right in front of a doorway. Lift any slabs that have become raised or that wobble when trodden on. Re-lay the slabs using mortar (1 part cement to 5 parts of sharp sand), making sure that the ground is absolutely level before you do so.

How to Remove Moss and Dirt

Use a solution of Jeyes fluid to remove algae, lichen and moss from paving surfaces. Follow the dilution rates shown on the bottle and make sure that you are careful not to splash any solution on nearby plants. Remove using a hosepipe and a stiff broom, or wash away with a pressure hose.

Brush debris out of corners; use a hoe for stubborn patches. Ingrained dirt may be removed using a pressure washer.

Changing the Colour of Slabs

If you're not keen on the colour of your paving slabs simply change them with exterior floor paint. You can even create a pattern and use more than one colour for a really individual look. Make sure that you carry out the work on a dry day and use masking tape to shield other surfaces from paint.

Creating Planting Areas

You may decide that you'd like to include a number of planting pockets within the patio. This can be done by lifting one or two slabs and then planting the space left behind. Before lifting the slabs, place a bucket or other object on top of the ones you have selected and then use the patio normally for a few hours. This should demonstrate whether the marked flags are in the middle of a major route or are placed in such a way that their removal may cause an accident.

Lift the slabs one by one using a pick axe or metal bar and then dig out the hardcore or rubble beneath. Dig down with your spade to work the soil to a depth of about one and a half spades. Remove the soil, then add it back in with some good garden compost.

The holes may be planted with plants such as mat-forming thymes or mound forming alpines. You could even use the areas to plant a miniature herb garden using mint, chamomile, basil and rosemary.

Changing the Surface

If you really can't live with the existing patio surface, consider building a parquet deck over the top of it. This can be laid quickly and easily (take a look at our 'How to' guide for instructions) to provide a brand new patio look for very little cost.