So you’ve gone to the effort and expense to lay down patio pavers in your garden or yard. You took the time to plan out the installation and to make it look great, but that doesn’t mean, unfortunately, that it’ll stay that way. After a season or two, you’re nearly guaranteed to find yourself battling nature’s built-in enemy: the weeds.
Weeds aren’t typically deterred by the placement of bricks over fertile ground. In fact, they’ll often grow right up between, around, and even out from underneath your well-planned patio. What’s more, they won’t just make things look sloppy. They could cause some actual damage, too.
So what can you do about it?
You can just let nature take its course, but the probable outcome of that will be the destruction of all of your hard work. Weeds might not seem particularly threatening in the abstract sense, but a strong root system and a healthy desire to push towards the light can quickly lead to cracked, broken, and displaced paver stones. That means having to dig everything up and re-install it the following season, which means the time and money you already spent on that chore were wasted.
Luckily, this isn’t necessarily your fate–or your patio’s. There are things you can do to prevent this from happening. In fact, if you’ve recently installed patio pavers, or you plan to do so in the near future, you’d be strongly advised to take a look at the tips below, and put one or two of them into action. It’ll take some extra time and work on your part, but it’ll give you a much better long-term guarantee on your beautiful results.
Things You Can Do to Prevent Weed Growth Around Pavers
1) If you haven’t yet installed your patio pavers, stop now, and do some preventative maintenance. Before the bricks hit the ground, invest in some type of weed barrier. Once you’ve leveled and prepared the work area, there are a couple of directions you can go in terms of creating a barrier that’ll prevent weed growth in the first place. Hardware and home improvement stores carry several commercial solutions, ranging from landscaping fabric to herbicides. Another potential option is the use of tamped sand or gravel, which keeps the weeds from poking through. Opinions on how to lay down the sand vary; some contractors recommend digging a full 8-10 inches into the soil in particularly weedy areas, then filling the space with the gravel and sand until it’s level once again with the surrounding lawn.
Whatever you do, don’t experiment with the popular (and poor) DIY idea of laying down plastic beneath the pavers. Weeds will simply take root in the cracks between pavers and appear anyhow, and the plastic can also collect water, creating drainage problems and other issues.
2) If your pavers are already in place, you’ll have to attack the weeds right where they appear–above ground. Once again, there are commercial solutions available, depending on your preferences (or aversions) for chemicals. Weed killers applied between the bricks can be an efficient solution. Others may lean toward the more organic option of boiling water, vinegar, or salt poured onto the offending growths. Which option is best will depend largely on what kind of weeds you have, and how determined they are.
3) Don’t forget your follow-up! However you go about killing the weeds during Round One, you’ll pay the price if you don’t remain vigilant. Errant seeds can take root at almost any time after your pavers are installed, although obviously tips #1 and #2 above will greatly reduce the number of invaders you have to battle.
Thankfully, there are multiple effective options when it comes to fighting weed re-infestations. Pouring sand between the pavers each spring can be an effective solution, as can applications of herbicide with the start of each growth season.
Homeowners and patio lovers alike should breathe sighs of relief, because it’s quite possible to avoid damage to pavers caused by weeds. The key is to be patient and pay attention; one major weed removal, followed by yearly upkeep in one or several of the manners listed above, should do the trick. Eventually, the weeds will realize that your patio isn’t the ideal growth environment, and will move on to, well, greener pastures.