As summer approaches, we all spend more and time outdoors, enjoying our patios and backyards.  But perhaps you've stepped outside and realized that your patio is not looking as fresh and beautiful as it used to.  Sound familiar?  Then it's time to give your patio a spring-cleaning overhaul.  It may sound like a daunting task, but if you take it one step at a time, as outlined below, you'll be enjoying your fresh, clean patio in no time

Tools You'll Need

You don't need any fancy tools to give your patio a good cleaning.  All you need is a good push broom, a garden hose, and some fresh plants and flowers

Start with the Furniture

If you have outdoor furniture on your patio, begin by moving it off.  As you are doing this, take stock of the condition of your furniture.  Which ones are still in good shape, and which ones have reached the end of their usefulness?  Do any of your pieces need refinishing or repainting?  Or is it time to invest in some new patio furniture?

Give it a Good Sweep

Now that the patio is clear, give it a good sweep with a strong broom made for using outdoors.  You can find one at your local home improvement center.  Thoroughly sweep the patio, removing dirt and leaves that have accumulated both in and around planters

Time to Weed

Next, it's time to get on your hands and knees and weed.  Remove all weeds from the cracks and crevices in your patio.  As weeds grow, they can damage patio tiles or cement, which in turn causes additional damage when water gets underneath and starts eroding away the soil that supports the patio.  Best to get to those weeds when you first them

Take Stock

How are your plants and planters looking?  Pull out last year's annuals and trim up any perennials.  Take out plants that aren't doing well and don't look as nice as you'd like

Look at the stones, tile or cement of your patio floor.  Do they need a good scrubbing?

Cleaning the Patio Floor

It's likely the floor needs a good cleaning.  You can either hire professionals to do this for you, or you can do it yourself.  For the most effective cleaning, you can rent a power hose or power scrubber at your local hardware store.  Be careful with any cleaning solutions you use, to be sure they won't kill off any plants you have nearby or damage your lawn.  Also be sure the cleaning solution won't damage the materials by bleaching it or otherwise discoloring it.  The staff at your hardware center can help you choose the best product for you patio

Replace the Furniture and Add Flowers

Now that the floor is clean, spray down your furniture and replace it.  You can also clean your patio cushions with a mild dish soap.  Plant new flowers for color

That's all there is to it!  In one weekend, you can easily clean your patio to look like new, and enjoy the rewards all summer long.