My brick paving is changing
and without constant work and vigilance my back garden is going to look quite different. Can I allow the change?
I think I’m making my peace with the fact that the back garden brick paving is going to look like this from now on.
and probably never again look like this
just after I’ve power washed it
or even like this
when the sun has bleached it.
I’ve written before about my power washing efforts Lovely old brick paving without power washing
and No more power washing brick paving
What it looks like now
and although it is black and slimy and a bit slippery, what I do love about it is that there are dozens of forget-me-nots growing in the cracks as well as daisies and herbs and who-knows-what.
Plants will be attracted to the cracks
My neighbour has a lawn and so I’m always pulling grass out of the cracks but I’m thinking I could just stop doing that. There is also moss growing in the cracks which I really like.
For 11 years I have power washed the bricks twice a year and recently I just thought I can’t do this anymore. The idea of water and electricity and the noise and the tangle of cables and all the water to be swept away was just too much trouble. I gave up after doing a small area and put it all away.
I also don’t want to disturb the leaf litter so I’m going to have to come to terms with a change in expectation. The slipperiness is a problem and I’ll have to step very carefully when I go out there but I can’t see an alternative. I did toy with the idea of shining up a few patches with a scrubbing brush but decided to sit and have a cup of tea indoors instead.
Letting wildlife survive
I’m ashamed to say I’ve often sprinkled neat bleach everywhere to clean the brickwork but am horrified now that I did that. It must have poisoned everything it touched. Not done it much good anyway.
There’s no denying that it looked gorgeous when I put in all that work
but let’s see if I can get through the winter and let the lovely carpet of forget-me-nots make the paving look like a blue carpet next spring.
I also love the latest blog by Jack Wallington about leaving leaf litter around plants rather than taking it all away. You can read that here
Gardens and our gardening is changing and it’s ok to think about different ways of doing things. Here’s to a good winter and happy gardening to everyone.
11 comments on "Allowing the brick paving to change"
(I’m writing from Vero Beach, Florida.) There is an alternative to chlorine bleach, which is oxygen bleach, & it is not harmful to wood or soil & plant life. Buy the organic oxygen bleach. I’ve read several articles about it, which I found on the internet. I have purchased it locally in the grocery store. Also you can mix Oxyclean with warm water to make oxygen bleach.
I am concerned that you could slip on the bricks & take a nasty fall if they get black & slimy.
In NZ we have a product called 30 Seconds Spray & Walk Away.
Now I know most people will be horrified at the suggestion, but even if you just sprayed a small walkway enough to get through without slipping, as we are all getting older and considering any potential fall can be very inconvenient.
I entirely agree with you! I think your patio is lovely. It has character and warmth that a polished brick patio lacks. My old brick patio looks very much like yours. I actually encourage the moss to spread. Besides moss, I have a few buttercups, a little grass, and violets that I have learned to live with quite happily. Thank you for your posts. They bring me so much joy.
To do or not to do..That is always the question. Just step carefully.
Same problem in California! I mostly make peace with it (but sometimes it still IRKS me). I have no choice in my dense townhouse area, because with our drought there’d be a revolt if I still power washed (and the flip-side is that over 25 years it had gradually eroded the bricks making them more porous to suck up even more dirt/grime). I can’t win this battle, so I can only overlook it!
Gorgeous! my brickwork and my cobblestone courtyard look similar this tiem of year here in Eugene, Oregon usa on the west coast. i wonder what would happen if you put a bit of sand over the bricks for the winter to cut down on it being so slippery and then sweep it into the flower beds in the spring? just a thought. no idea if it is a good or bad thought.
Goodness that is a great idea. I could just make a Andy path on the bits I need to walk on to get to the shed. and no damage done or hard work to sweep it away. Thanks so much. so lovely to hear from people so far away. Best wishes and Thankyou for getting in touch. Julie
We have brick and flagstones in our patio and these become dangerously slippery in winter so I powerwash them at least once each year. Dare I suggest that the bother of powerwashing is far less than the bother of a broken hip/arm or whatever.
Paddy of course I agree with that. I will be doing everything I can to keep it safe. the issue for me is the destruction of the biodiversity and also that we live very closely with neighbours here and the noise the washer makes really is unacceptable these days when people work from home and at weekends want some peace. If anyone in the street uses something noisy the sounds bounces around and we can ALL hear it. Thanks for reading my blog and best wishes. Lucky you living in Ireland.
Understanding that you cannot do everything is a part of life. Your garden should be somewhere you can relax in and find comfort in. So what if you cannot keep up with some maintenance? If anything, I think a little extra moss and grass adds to a traditional English garden!
I totally agree. I am moving towards a much wilder garden from now on. Maybe because I’m older bit mainly because it is lovelier to look at and to be in. you are quite right.