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Perfect Patios: Creating a Low-maintenance Suntrap

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As the temperatures warm up, many of us are getting out into garden to make the most of the nice weather. Even though you might be lucky enough to have a garden that gets a lot of sun during the day or evening, it might not be reaching its full potential as a space to relax in. Chances are you’re missing stylish patios or dream deck where you can simply relax and enjoy the sunny weather without spending hours on cleaning and maintenance first.

Although no patio or deck will look after itself, creating a low-maintenance suntrap is completely possible. But you do need to be picky about positioning and materials to create a space that will get plenty of use and won’t need constant work.

Pick the right position

The first thing you need to do to create the perfect patio or deck, is pick the right position. To find a sensible spot, you need to think about when you’re most likely to use your suntrap and watch where the sun hits your garden during those times of the day. This should help you work out where the best position is going to be.

If your garden gets a lot of sun during the day, you might have a choice of positions. To help you pick the prime spot, think about how far you want it to be from the house and where it gives you the most privacy from neighbours.

Near the house is handy for grabbing supplies from the kitchen, but it can sometimes be quite shaded, which can mean you’re not making the most of the sunny weather. And shaded parts of the garden can be prone to more moss and algae growth, meaning more maintenance is needed. Of course, some shade is necessary for seating areas, but you can easily add in a flexible solution such as a parasol or shade sail.

Choose the right decking materials

You might be wondering whether it’s better to go with paving or decking for your seating area. Thankfully, there are low maintenance options for both.

Wooden decking is fairly low maintenance, so long as you’ve used pressure treated rather than dipped timber and have applied an effective oil or stain. Decking oil penetrates into the wood, boosting its resistance to dirt and water. So, this can be a more durable choice. Either way, choose an oil or stain with UV protection, so your decking doesn’t fade.

You could use paint on your deck instead but bear in mind that paint can sometimes flake and dirt shows up easily with colours that are very light or dark. So, it might not be the best option for your low-maintenance suntrap.

Of course, whatever you use on your deck will need reapplying every few years to prevent the wood rotting away. For this reason, installing composite decking can be a great alternative as it’s durable and easy to maintain. A wood-plastic composite decking will give you the same look as wood but without the time-consuming maintenance while a PVC-based decking is highly durable and easy to clean.

Or go with low-maintenance paving

If you’d prefer a paved patio, it’s equally important to choose the right materials. Some concrete slabs can not only look a little grey, but they can also be prone to staining unless they’re sealed.

Traditional brick and stone pavers are one low-maintenance option to consider. These weather over time, giving you rustic charm with very little effort. A quick sweep and the occasional hose down should be enough to keep this cottage-style patio tidy.

Another good option is to use porcelain tiles. As porcelain is resistant to moisture, it’s not so prone to algae or staining. However, coating them with a tile protector will minimise this further, to save you effort. Patterned porcelain tiles can work even better as these not only look good but don’t show up dirt easily. So, there’s no need to clean them so often. When they do need cleaning, a quick sweep and jet wash with soapy water should do the trick.

Select seating for style and substance

In order to reduce maintenance, it’s just as essential to select the right materials for your patio furniture.

Aluminium and galvanised steel furniture are becoming increasingly popular because they need little maintenance. They don’t rust as easy as cast iron and won’t rot like wood. However, it’s best to select furniture that’s coated or apply a sealant yourself to prevent corrosion and reduce maintenance.

If you do go for wood, make sure it’s treated, cover it when it’s not in use and keep it off damp ground. This should reduce maintenance and boost durability. If you’re choosing a synthetic rattan, check the materials and frame are of good quality as sunlight can weaken plastics. Investing in covers should help keep this type of furniture protected and means a swift wipe over is all that’s needed before use.

In terms of cushions, look for machine washable covers, to reduce the cleaning effort. Or choose covers that are weather resistant, wipe clean and quick drying or water repellent. This should prevent dirt and mould ruining your perfect patio set up.

 

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