No matter how many times you sweep, mop, and tidy, it seems that a patio is just one of those things that always gets messy again within days. Patios are unique spaces in that they are often filled with an indoor-like atmosphere with tables, lamps, and chairs, while enjoying an outdoor location that's subject to seasonal changes, weather conditions, and weathering over time. The focus of this guide is to introduce several tips that will help you to maintain a clean and tidy patio with less effort—by planning ahead and following these guidelines, you can save yourself a lot of scrubbing, tidying, wiping, repairing, and reupholstering later on! In the end, putting a little effort into maintaining a clean patio from the beginning will give you more time later on for relaxing in it!
A patio with lustrous and polished wooden planks is much more vibrant than a dull, rain-soaked deck. Over time, unfinished, unstained, and untreated wood will being to sag, dry out, crack, warp, and lose its colour. Keep your patio looking fresh by putting a coat of varnish or stain on it right in the beginning—not only will this preserve the wood and allow it to last longer, it will make it easier to wipe up any spills from dinner (lookin' at you, red wine) without worrying about the spills staining the wood.
No one likes working in a place that's hard to get to—in order to keep your patio in tip-top shape, make it as easy as possible by creating an easy way to access your patio or deck. Climbing around chairs, hopping over coils of hose, or skirting a pile of unused lumber from who knows when is no way to welcome yourself to your patio! Smooth and polished surfaces like these concrete steps are especially nice, as they're not likely to get stained as you traipse back and forth. They also offer an easy-to-sweep alternative to common deck features like latticework, where leaves tend to get clogged.
There's not much to clean if you don't have much in the first place. Opt for a minimalist approach to your patio, and you'll find that it looks tidy year round in its beautiful simplicity. So often, a space that feels messy or dirty simply needs a bit of decluttering in order to highlight its true character. This deck, for example, uses a simple arrangement of three streamlined pieces of furniture in white, creating a look that's easy on the eyes. With little to be distracted by, a minimalist patio like this allows you to focus on the scenery, the sunset, and the friendly conversation.
If you're looking to accessorize your patio in stylish ways, you can find inspiration in this ideabook that explores simple and relaxing garden accessories.
A patio will never be 100% clean—it's outside, after all. Embrace the outdoors and opt for a patio floor that is prepared to deal with rain, wind, leaves, and dirt: a rugged stone floor like this one will hold up to all sorts of seasonal changes, and its uneven surface will not be tarnished by a little bit of dirt here and there! A more rustic floor like this one is especially great for families who will be getting a lot of use out of their patio—it's an investment that will likely require a professional landscaper, but a floor like this will save you the need to be constantly sweeping after every single outdoor gathering.
A pot of geraniums is great, until the leaves start blowing down into the pool. Choose your plants wisely and save yourself the hassle of fishing around for leaves in the water when the weather gets cooler. Come autumn, a potted palm tree or succulent garden is a much better choice for a poolside patio than a leafy array of flowers and blooms—you'll thank yourself later on! Overall, evergreen plants, cacti, palms, and succulents are excellent choices, as they naturally keep their leaves up and out of the yard!
As you've seen, each of these tips presents an investment of time and effort, but once you've made the leap, you'll be looking at a patio that brings you the opportunity to relax without fretting about getting the broom out yet again (however, if all this talk about cleaning has got you reaching for the broom, you may want to have a look at this ideabook with tips for making your home cleaner than ever before!)