How to clean your garden

Getting the garden ready for spring and summer means plenty of pruning, mowing and other gardening tasks – but it can also involve a surprising amount of cleaning!

From cobwebs creeping over your patio furniture, to algae overwhelming your paving slabs, several outdoor areas need sprucing up at this time of year.

Here are 4 easy ways to clean up outdoors, ready for the warmer weather:

How to clean garden stones and gravel

Decorative stone, slate chippings and gravel are practical, low-maintenance ground coverings, while large rocks and boulders give gardens height and drama. Keep them looking their best:

  • Pull up any large weeds poking through gravel, and clear away any fallen leaves
  • Tackle smaller weeds by pouring boiling water over the affected areas for a chemical-free alternative to weedkiller
  • A small pressure washer or high-pressure hose is the easiest way to clean gravel – remember some stone colours will show dirt more easily, while water and sunlight can cause it to discolour
  • For a deeper clean, mix washing up liquid with warm water and brush over stones lightly using a soft-bristled broom
  • To remove algae from large landscaping stones, lightly brush with a scrubbing brush and soapy water, then rinse with a hose
Garden stone path surrounded by flowers

How to clean garden slabs

Patio slabs should be regularly brushed with an outdoor broom to keep dirt and debris at bay – try these steps for a deeper clean:

  • To remove moss, lichen and algae, mix washing up liquid with warm water in a bucket and brush over paving slabs with a hard-bristled brush, then rinse with clean water
  • If deeper cleaning is required, repeat the process using a mixture of vinegar and water – move plants and furniture out of the way first!
  • Cleaning with a pressure washer is fast and effective, but be careful to only use a light pressure setting to avoid damaging your slabs, and aim the jet at an angle rather than spraying the slabs directly

How to clean garden tools

From small trowels and forks to large spades, rakes and shovels, maintain your garden tools to keep them in good working order:

  • Use a hard scrubbing brush to carefully remove excess soil from blades and metal areas
  • Rinse down muddy tools with a hose and dry fully before storing away, to prevent wooden handles from cracking, and metal from rusting
  • Stainless steel is unlikely to rust, but other metal tools can be coated with a thin film of oil for protection
  • Use WD-40 to loosen any stiff working parts, like the central pivot on a pair of secateurs
  • It’s easiest to clean tools just after use, so remember to wipe them down every time you finish gardening

How to clean rusty trampoline springs

Metal equipment stored outdoors often falls victim to rust, from BBQ stands to swings and trampolines – here’s how to tackle it:

  • Remove any rust that has already formed on metal surfaces by scrubbing with a wire brush and WD-40. Alternatively, mix half a cup of salt with the juice of two lemons to form a paste, coat the affected areas, and leave for 2 hours before scrubbing away
  • Rinse with clean water, then dry thoroughly with an old towel
  • Working areas such as trampoline springs can be coated with petroleum jelly to stop further rust forming
  • Paint larger metal surfaces such as frames and tables with rust-proof, waterproof outdoor paint to keep rust at bay