3 Simple Steps to a Warm-Weather-Ready Patio

Time to spruce up those cushions and umbrellas too.

If you are like most people, you probably don't look forward to spring-cleaning. But when the chore involves the use of a water hose, it suddenly becomes more entertaining. Sure, it's still work. But at least you can put on your swimsuit and recruit the kids to help. Here's a step-by-step guide to getting your patio ready for hours of enjoyable relaxation.

For the General Grime

First, you are going to want to do an overall spray down of your entire patio. This includes your paver, flagstone, deck, and any other surface you have in your backyard. This can also include your outdoor furniture and umbrella, depending on the type you have (even the cushions of most outdoor furniture can be cleaned this way).

Okay, so you need to spray things down, and a regular old water hose will certainly suffice, but if you really want to get the job done right, you need to get a pressure washer. You can rent one, but these days they are so readily available and affordable it just makes more sense to buy one. You only need a power of 2,000 PSI maximum for basic tasks (plus, any higher than that and the machine is likely going to be difficult to maneuver), which can run you right about $150. The water coming out of this machine is so high speed that you can probably do most of the cleaning without any detergent at all. While you're at it, give your sidings a quick hose down too.

A pressure washer makes quick work of patio grime.

For the Tough-to-get-out Stains

Once your general washing is complete, you may notice a few stains remaining, especially around the grill or table areas. Most of these spots can easily be cleaned with a mixture of one part bleach to ten parts water. However, always check an inconspicuous place first before heading for the stain, just in case your patio flooring material doesn't take well to the bleach. If the unsightly spot still doesn't come up, hire a professional, because you don't want to mess with the dangerous chemicals it's going to take. And this year, invest in some outdoor mats to place in these stain-prone areas.

For the Fabrics

Hey, you are almost done! And isn't your patio already looking spectacular? Just one more step and you can relax: sprucing up your cushioned/upholstered furniture and umbrellas. First, have your hose handy and inspect the creases to make sure there are no spiders, dead bees, or moth cocoons hidden. If there are, spray them away. A vacuum will also work for this, and for cleaning out any dirt in hard-to-reach places, like every nook and cranny in your wicker set. Finally, compose a simple solution of dish soap and water and gently scrub the surfaces of the fabric to brighten them up without stripping away the water-resistant coatings.

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