I wrote rather smugly about power washing brick paving in my last blog here. I was no longer going to use the power washer on the paving in the back garden. When it’s washed it looks lovely, like this
When it’s left to the sun and rain to do the job, it looks like this
Time for action
It hadn’t been power washed for 18 months. I’d grown to accept the “natural” look. Aka “the lazy look.”
I didn’t want to disturb the little creatures that love the mud and moss. (Brownie points). I didn’t want to lose the cute self-seeded daisies and poppies that came up in the gaps. (I’m so eco friendly). I didn’t want to annoy the neighbours with the awful noise it makes. (I’m such a nice person) It’s SUCH a waste of water. (Must be responsible) blah blah
I was learning to live with the slightly black slightly slimy bricks but after the rain came recently the paving turned into a death defying ice rink. The grass which had self-seeded in the gaps between the bricks had grown and was now very slippery as well as Nature doing her thing.
Monty Don on Gardeners World also had slimy slippery brick paths which he dealt with by brushing really hard with sharp sand. He said it was very hard work but I was inspired. gardenersworld.com
Act before you think
So yesterday, without any sharp sand but with a spring in my step, I began scrubbing, sweeping, brushing, washing, and had transformed a patch the size of a tea towel by lunchtime. There was a lot of sweating, three pairs of shoes soaked, swearing, and splashing.
At 2pm I finally cracked.
I got the Karcher out. That fiendish instrument of the Devil.
I wished I’d used it from the start.
I blasted those little creepy crawlies to oblivion. I smashed those daisies out of their foothold. I was ruthless. If the neighbours were shouting “hypocrite!” I didn’t hear it because of the noise I was making.
But even with the targeted blaster, the grasses in the cracks wouldn’t budge so after I’d soaked them I had to bend down like a medieval peasant and pull out every grass seedling by hand.
I didn’t manage them all. Some wouldn’t budge, even being winkled with a knife.
And with gaps like this between the bricks I’ll never be free of slippery weeds.
Originally there was mortar between the bricks but it must have got blasted out by ……. I think I’ll just stop there.
Moral of this tale
– when you feel like being a clever clogs “Miss-can’t-tell-her-anything” snooty smug pants – just keep it zipped.
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Happy Gardening and best wishes, Julie
14 comments on "No more power washing brick paving – did it work ??"
I have the same problem with bricks and usually have to resort to the power blaster. As regards the weeds, not liking to use weed killer, I have recently invested in an electric ‘weed blaster’. It really does the trick. It has a long flex so will stretch qyite a way from a power point.
I have had success with pouring vinegar on weeds in the cracks of cement in my garden to get rid of them. Others have had success with pouring boiling water on them.
You can use that sand to fill in where the cement has been blasted out. Pavement/playground sand should settle in although it may take a couple of times.
I was wondering about it being slippery in the winter time. Take it from one who had been there and back a few times…..Best of luck to you. All that hard work!
Ohhhh reading this has put a smile on my face on a rainy grey day! It really does look so lovely when it’s been karchered and although your patio eco system is no more, you can still be a snooty smug pants about the lovely haven you provide the pollinators with your beautiful planting! Some things are just better left to boisterous machinery 😊
Adore your honesty. Worth a million of the smug smarty pants #we’re only human and we have to live too xx
You can use a product from Lithofin and others that you water on with watering can. It helps break down the slippy algae . Worth checking it out
I do have the same problem .
First world problems…I’m with you sister. One summer of Florida rains and humidity, and the pressure washer is my best friend!
Best post yet, love the honesty!
Looks like a lot of hard work!
Hard physical work yes, but actually what I need at the moment to take my mind off unsolvable problems. Helps a lot.
I have an unstained cedar deck, which has a lovely aged grey colouring. Except here on Canada’s wet west coast, the winter renders it slimy and slippery which forces us to scrub it down in the early spring. Goodbye lovely grey – hello not falling. I could use a pressure washer, but have never mastered the very light touch needed not to damage the wood. I use boiling water through the year, on the weeds that lodge in the cracks on the brick patio – and I think the boiling water also hampers the environment needed for algae and slime to thrive on the bricks. Ten years and we have not needed to scrub the bricks – they don’t look lovely and new – but they are pretty decent and not slippery.
Again, great post with candor well appreciated.
Thanks so much Steve. That’s a great idea. I could pour boiling water on the worst bits as an experiment. It would be so good not to have to use a deluge of water to deal with. I am definitely going to try that. Best wishes and thanks for your encouragement.
Power-washing brick paving isn’t a good idea at all. It’s certainly being talked about more and more, and I don’t think it’s all that great an idea.
I realise that more now. Absolutely daft idea and so noisy and antisocial. Our views change don’t they, with time. Thankyou for your comment and I totally agree.