After a long winter, I stood outside on the patio of the older house we just moved into to survey the yard. It looked a bit neglected, but the worst part for me was all the weeds and dandelions that were growing very proudly between the patio stones or pavers. There was about an inch gap between them all, which allowed lots of weeds to grow.
My pavers were still in good shape even though they are from the 70s, and I didn’t have the budget to start replacing them now. I decided to mow the patio to at least even out the weeds and grass but not impressed.
I don’t like to use chemical weed killers, as I also feed wildlife in my yard and I love to walk barefoot, so after some research I found a way that gets rid of the weeds and gives your patio stones and pavers a clean look.
The Best Weed Killer? – White Vinegar – I didn’t believe it would work at first, but I decided to try it as it is toxic to the weeds but not to me and this way I didn’t risk moving the pavers or scraping my hands trying to pick them out.
My Method: Plain white vinegar works the best and is the cheapest at the grocery store. You can purchase a sprayer at your home improvement store if you have a large area to do, otherwise you can simply get a spray bottle from the dollar store.
Fill your bottle with the vinegar and start spraying between the patio stones to really get them wet. Don’t do this if you know it is going to rain, try and have a 24 hour period with no bad weather if you can.
Do not get the vinegar on your good plants as it will damage them, so keep it to the patio stones area. You can also use this method on weeds growing in your paved driveway. It gets rid of them so your driveway doesn’t look so unsightly.
After a day or so you will see them whither and go brown. You can then grab them to really have a clean look, or you can use a patio knife, which is an awesome tool for getting in-between square pavers like the ones I have.
The vinegar is an acid which kills the weed, but is also a natural weed killer instead of the nasty chemicals that are on the market. If you have kids or like to walk barefoot on your patio then you will want to stay away from anything harsh.
Bonus – A clean Patio! – I also discovered that vinegar was a great cleaner for the stones. I sprayed some on the surface and scrubbed with a course brush and they came up clean. Mine were actually checkered pink and grey squares, but you would not have known it for the years of grime.
Use this method for grass and weeds growing along edges of the driveway or patio or deck, or places where pulling them out manually would damage the surface.
Boiling Water – Another option is boiling water. If you don’t have a large area to work with, then put the kettle on, make yourself some tea and then pour the boiling water into the crevices between the pavers. This will kill the weeds as well. By the next day they are wilted and easy to grab.
Bonus: - Boiling water also kills ants – If you have little red ant hills in the crevices between your stones, then pouring boiling water in there will get rid of them along with the weeds.
Once you have cleared the weeds away, you will need to come up with a “weeding schedule”. It might be a once a week, you take the patio knife between the stones to get rid of any that try to start growing again, or another option is to add more topsoil by sweeping it into the crevices and then purchase packages of thyme or low growing ground cover to have something better growing in there that will take over the weeds.
A friend of mine planted grass seed between her stones, and then once it grew thick she mowed the area right along with her lawn. This can have a nice old time look as well and the lack of weeds and just thick grass, gives it a checkerboard look which is really nice in her yard. The downside to this of course is that you will have to move your furniture off the area each week to mow your patio! But this is an option since something will always try to grown between in the cracks.
This would be a great chore to give to your kids!
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Outdoor Area Patio Rug - This is perfect if you want a more rustic look for your back patio and want to be done with the weeds. Another great option is once you have removed the weeds, purchase an outdoor area rug in brilliant colours or a sophisticated one like the one pictured. This will cover most of the patio and add whimsy and colour and stop weeds and grass from growing.
You can get these outdoor carpets at home improvement stores, or online, they are fast drying, easy to clean and sweep. This is a perfect way to update a “not so nice” patio space. There are ways to improve your oasis without breaking the bank.
So, if you are looking for a homemade weed killer that won’t kill you in the process, than look no further than white vinegar or boiling water. Your weeds will be gone and your patio stones will be clean!