Balcony and patio areas after winter

Garden Life
Little attention is paid to balcony and terrace areas during the winter, as we were only too happy to occupy a warm and cosy spot inside the house and not much was going on in the garden anyway.

But now that the weather is getting warmer and spring is slowly creeping in, we are pleased to put our noses outside the door again. But winter has not passed by unnoticed, leaving its mark in our gardens and on patios and balconies. In order to finally eliminate the signs of winter you need to make a few improvements here and there and do a little renovation work.

What should we do about rust stains, weather damage to the ground, garden furniture and blinds, and infestations of moss on patios? We would like to provide you with a few tips on how to deal with this kind of problem quickly and easily.

As you walk across your patio or balcony, you may notice a few spots which have become infested with moss and lichen after the long winter. Even though this greenish patina gives some stones in the garden a Mediterranean feel, it is often unwelcome on terraces. As well as looking dirty it is dangerous, since it's easy to slip on paving slabs which are covered in moss or lichen.

So the question is how to go about solving the problem. Do you choose a generally effective but often harmful chemical agent or do you opt for a more environmentally friendly alternative? Chemical substances should not be used on wooden floors as wood is extremely sensitive and permanent damage could be caused by such treatments. In such cases, it is better to use old tried and tested household remedies such as oil or wash the wood with water.

Greening is best avoided in the first place by selecting the right stones for your garden. Granite, for example, is less susceptible to greening. When laying a new patio, you should ensure that there is a slight gradient so water can run off it and doesn't accumulate.

If unwanted plants spread between the gaps in the spring, flame treatment is a good option for combating this problem in the long term. The infestation will increase slightly at first, but if you repeat the procedure a few times you will soon be rid of the problem.

When you take a look at the state of your garden furniture once winter is over, your desire to sit out in your garden can quickly fade. Teak furniture and other hardwoods are very sensitive to sunlight and damp and greying occurs as result of these factors. Lichen on garden furniture can be removed using lemon juice or vinegar. However, for permanent protection, treatment with hardwood oil is recommended. Soft pinewood furniture should be brushed first with a firm brush. If the infestation is already well advanced, the wood can be sanded back to the healthy wood and then brushed with spruce turpentine or pine oil.

To restore balcony railings which have rusted to their former shiny glory you can first clean the surface using a wire brush. An old household remedy is to remove the rust using hot water and lemon juice. However, this option is not very long-lasting. To counteract rust in the long term, paint rust primer onto the rusty areas and then give the railings two coats of paint.

You should always make sure that you treat, floors, railings and furniture with environmentally friendly certified products, particularly if there are children in the house.