Old brick paving in the garden
This blog is about what changed when I stopped power washing our old brick paving in the back garden and just let it weather naturally.
In 1988 we inherited the lawn
And as it was under water for months at a time in the winter, we paved it over with dull grey cheap paving slabs.
Then in 2011 a builder paved over the top with beautiful old stock bricks; pinky/yellow/beige mixed bricks like the ones used for a wall in our kitchen.
And this is how lovely it looked.
I was warned that the bricks were porous and not ideal for an outdoor surface but I’m not sure I fully took that in.
With winter frost they looked rather interesting and still lovely to look at
until with rain and low light they went black, slippery and slimy.
So I bought a power washer and every time I made the effort, they looked like new for a few months.
Bright sunshine would bleach them which was great
and newly washed they looked like this
but no sun meant black and slimy again.
In early 2020 I left it for a while and now that has turned into 18 months with no power washing. I’ve decided not to do it any more.
Main reason for no more power washing
Aggressive washing destroyed all the lovely natural moss, seedlings and lichen growing in the cracks and on the bricks.
I also realised I was blasting every living creature from the whole paving area. And if the blasting didn’t get them, the drowning in gallons of extra water would.
And frankly I was embarrassed making that awful noise just so I could have clean shiny paving. It’s a real pain for houses nearby. Everyone’s nice quiet day in the garden is ruined because one person wants a tidy garden. I’m thinking that’s not acceptable any more.
The paving now looks like this and I can live with that.
It’ll never look bright pink and yellow again but the benefits are seedlings everywhere and lovely lines of greenery between the bricks. There are self seeders everywhere and I’ve written about the joy of those here. If it’s slippery in the winter I’ll just have to tread carefully. It’s all about compromise, like everything else in a garden.
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Best wishes and happy gardening to us all. Julie