Winter gardening hacks: Expert shares three key steps to winter-proof your patio

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Winter is far from over and with the frosty weather finally setting in across the country, pavings and patios can take the brunt of the chilly temperatures. Protecting your paving is an essential part of winter gardening – and January is the perfect time to do so. Express.co.uk spoke to a paving expert to find out exactly what you should be doing to maintain your garden patio this season.

Why is it important to winter-proof your patio?

While patio spaces are the perfect spot to enjoy the summer sun in the garden, paved areas of the garden can often become overlooked when the cold weather arrives.

Blustering winds and stormy conditions are the main culprits for leaf-cluttered gardens, but it’s the freezing temperatures and heavy rain which could cause real damage to your garden paving.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, John Gill, CEO of Infinite Paving said: “Before you can adequately protect your paving in winter, it’s important to understand the threats that can arise.

“One of the most common reasons for paving stones being damaged is due to rainfall.

“We tend to get more rain, hail and snow during the winter months, and this can take its toll on paving stones.”

How to protect your patio during the winter months

Keeping your patio protected through winter is crucial to keep it from becoming slippery or cracked – both of which can make it dangerous to walk on.

Ensuring your paving is in good condition all year round is essential, so it can be enjoyed when the warmer months arrive.

John says there are three main key steps you should take to keep your patio looking fresh until Spring, including:

  • Sealing your paving
  • Filling in any cracks
  • Installing a patio awning

Sealing your paving

There are many ways that water can damage your paving in the winter.

From water stains to frozen droplets causing cracks in your patio, protecting against heavy rainfall is crucial to avoid unexpected issues with your paving in the future.

John said: “It’s a good idea to place a sealant on your paving in the winter months and it is fairly easy to apply, so you won’t require a professional to do the job.

“Sealing your patio will make sure the stone is protected from developing stains from rainwater.

“It can also prevent water penetration which stops water from freezing and cracking your paving in cold weather.”

Taking steps to seal your paving will not only protect against the long-term effects of the harsh British winter, but it can also shield your patio from erosion.

This makes slabs more durable throughout periods of harsh weather.

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Filling in cracks in paving slabs

Even tiny cracks can become a big problem over time and winter weather can make them worse quicker than you might think, says John.

Paving filler can be used to fill small cracks and protect your stone from rainfall, though bigger cracks will need to be dealt with in a different way.

John said: “You may need to seek the advice of a professional before making a decision about repairing cracks.”

Preventing cracks in your paving can be done with some simple maintenance tasks, such as:

  • Regular sweeping – keeping a patio clear will prevent debris allowing pools of water to sit and freeze over causing cracks
  • Regular scrubbing to deter algae – algae can make the surface slippery and dangerous to walk on
  • Grit your patio in colder spells – this will stop ice from freezing and causing cracks

Benefits of installing a patio awning

Covering your patio is the best way to keep your paving protected from the elements and can be enjoyed all year round.

John explained: “A patio awning is one of the best solutions for protecting your paving this winter.

“It can protect your paving stone from rain and snow and ensure it isn’t slippery when you need to walk across it.

“A patio awning is a protective sheet of fabric that you can purchase in a range of sizes – you can even have an awning specially designed to fit your patio’s size and shape.”

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