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Imagine if you will after spending many hundreds of pounds on creating a patio area in your garden that you suddenly don't look after your patio for a few years and then realise in a moment of clarity that the patio could do with a bit of a spruce up. The patio slabs have become discoloured, perhaps slippery with moss and there are more plants growing in the gaps between the slabs then are in the nearby flower beds.
What is the answer?
Well one is not to leave the patio for that long and therefore the occasional bit of tidying is required, so you need a brush and a means of tidying up the edges and the slabs. Slabs are expensive and hard to replace if they become permanently damaged and in my eye there is nothing worse than a patio or paved garden where the cracks have become a haven for weeds. In fact I'd rather have not have a patio than be presented by that every day, so you need a method of tidying the cracks between the slabs. One approach is to use a knife or a trowel, both have limitations firstly a knife is of course sharp and after the kitchen the garden is the site for the most injuries occurring at home. Trowels on the other hand tend to be slightly too wide and curved meaning using those on the edges will lead to the patio slabs becoming chipped.
So when I had my back garden paved over last year I bought the above edging tool which allows me to maintain the garden with minimum effort. The tool is a kind of modified scraping tool, basically it has a short handle then the head of the tool is shaped like a hammer head but much thinner. It has a tapered point at one end and a blunt end at the other and the long thin tapered side is graduated to give a larger surface area for scraping out the edges around a block.
How I use the tool.
I use the tool in two ways, one is as a sharp edged blade in which I use to jab into the gap between blocks, and this uses the thin sharp end. I then once any large obstruction has been broken up use the flat side of blade as a flicking tool to flick any debris out of the gap. This gives the opportunity to dig out weeds, flick out little pebbles, snails, rubbish, moss, etc and a means of breaking up more compacted dirt. The best time to use the tool is about two or so hours after a decent bit of rain when the slab itself should be dry but the gap between slabs still being moist allowing for easily breaking up of any organic material. The tool can also be used to scrape off moss, bird poo, dog poo, chewing gum from the slab using the two sides of the tool. The tool itself fits very comfortably into the palm of the hand and has a very hard wooden handle, the head itself is a little more open to damage and so after each use I clean and dry the top of the tool.
The tool cost £7 from Wilkinson and for the cost of a few pence you can keep your often expensive patio area looking clean and tidy. The temptation to use the tool for other things is also prevalent but I'd recommend not using it to dig out weeds from the garden that's what a trowel is for.
I'd say this is in the category of a useful but not essential piece of garden equipment but then some would say gardening itself is in the category of useful but not essential so draw your own conclusion.
Wilkinson Sword gardening tools may be a little bit more expensive but in the long run the extra outlay is worth it, the tools are fine quality and as long as you take care of them they will last you for many years to come.
I have been using a Wilkinson Sword patio knife for a couple of seasons now and I have to say that it was £6 well spent.
The tool looks quite weird and wonderful but it is exceptionally capable. Patio slabs may look good but they can be a pain to maintain, the concrete slabs discolour and when the weeds start to flourish the gaps in between the paver's start to fill up with unwanted weed.
Some people may read this and think that the ideal way to stop this problem is to lay the slabs and cement the joints but I like to give the slabs some leeway and that is why we always dry joint using a mixture of sand and cement.
The Wilkinson Sword patio knife looks lethal but it is very effective. The patio knife has a light wooden handle that is easy and comfortable to hold and that handle has a hole bored into the end so that you can thread some cord through to let you hang the tool up in the shed.
The actual knife part of the tool has been formed from carbon steel which has been treated to make it tough and hard wearing. Wilkinson Sword offer a five year guarantee on the product which is brilliant.
The Wilkinson Sword patio knife sounds a bit of a mouthful but in truth it could not be easier to use. The knife part of the tool is `L` shaped, so you have a long piece of steel that runs off at an angle giving you the shorter length of steel that has been cut to a point so that it will fit in between the paving stones.
You take the patio knife and slide the pointed tip in between the paving stones and slide it back and forth, the tool is easy to manoeuvre and it is light to work with. If you use the patio knife at the right angle then the weeds in between the paving slabs end up sitting on top of the slab ready to be swept away afterwards.
This tool from Wilkinson Sword is invaluable, it may be called a patio knife but it is equally as useful used on garden paths. Often concrete garden paths develop little holes and cracks where the weeds gather and the pointed tip of the patio knife lets you remove them easily.
A super little tool for the price, if you have children I would say that the tool needs to be cleaned off and put away in the shed once you have finished with it.
Weeds in between paving stones can be treated with weed killer but I am always loathe to do it this way in case I end up poisoning any wildlife or domestic pet.
For weeding between paths, tiles and concrete paving slabs