Summer Prep

The sun has finally appeared and the first glimmer of Summer is here. But before I settle down in your deckchair with a glass of wine and a gripping read I am getting Mr C to spend a day sprucing up the hard landscaping and furniture so the garden is ready for the season ahead.

Clear the decks

Elbow grease and a stiff brush will remove most of the mud, fallen leaves and moss on paths and decking. A good scrub down on your knees (use a kneeler) with a handheld hard brush should get rid of the more obstinate areas of resistance. Do it after a spell of dry weather and life will be considerably easier — do it regularly and it will be even more so.

Wash down

Water and a mild detergent or a proprietary algae and fungal cleaner should reinvigorate your paving. If there are no plants, you could use diluted bleach or Jeyes Fluid, but be wary of acid-based cleaning products, as they can change the colour of materials — check the ingredients and test on a small area beforehand. Garden furniture and greenhouse window panes can also benefit from a wash-down with a detergent to get rid of algae.

Weed control

Again, manual labour is a good place to start when sprucing up paving and paths — another call for that comfortable kneeler. To remove weeds between the cracks. If you can’t get them out by hand, there are plenty of weedkillers designed for paths and gravel areas; keep children and pets away until they have dried. Then there’s the organic approach: white vinegar, or try boiling or salted water on specific plants.

Soft furnishings

Garden cushions, parasols or hammocks can succumb to black mould and mildew if they have been stored in a damp place. Scrub with a dilution of half a cup of bleach or Vanish in a gallon of warm water, then rinse and dry in the sun.

Barbecues

Remove any carbon build-ups on the barbecue with a steel brush before soaking in detergent. Jeyes has just brought out a Smart Brush barbecue cleaner: the cleaning liquid is squeezed onto the brush as you scrub. If it is a gas model, check it for any leaks and cracks before inviting the neighbourhood round for a barbie.

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