Brick Patio – Questions. Mentoring?
We recently moved into the bottom of duplex. It has a lovely backyard with a brick patio, and flower beds around the outside perimeter. We're in Seattle, and have experienced some heavy rains followed by recent warm weather. Weeds have taken over all the cracks between the bricks. The patio looks like it might be as old as 15 or 20 years. It was laid with concrete between the bricks, so there is no soil to be dug down to (although soil has gradually accumulated in the cracks over time). It looks as though, through freezes and temperature fluctuations, that the concrete has cracked and eroded some. I have been meditating on how to spiff up that brick. Yesterday, I started weakening the soil bonds and pulling out the largest of the weeds. A screwdriver between the bricks seems to do a decent job. Then, in frustration with the soil and sand everywhere, I pulled out the hose and began to clean it up some. Since I had weakened the bonds between the bricks, I was able to wash up a lot of dirt and weeds with it. I noticed that there's an average of 1 to 1 1/2-2 inches of depth below the bricks... and then it hits the concrete. I'm a little unsure about how to fill up the cracks again with something that would be weed resistant. I understand that sand would be a good option. However, my hubby is a dirt-o-hobe and immediately started in on "sand, sand, everywhere... and it will wash out and away". Another thing that was brought to mind... my grandmother had a beautiful rock garden when I was growing up. And there were some bricked areas with miniature mints, thyme, and other yummy smelling mean-to-be-stepped on plants. I actually like the look of some of the moss, and wild flower weeds in certain areas of the patio. So how does this sound? I'll continue to clean out between ALL OF THE BRICK - starting with a clean slate. Then I can identify the areas where the concrete has eroded the most. For the areas where I don't want plants in the patio, I can put a little concrete in there to secure the brick again... but paying attention to keeping a uniform 1 - 2inch depth. Then I will identify the areas where I would like to have stepping-plants... even removing a brick here or there, so that they can be well established. I can put SOIL into the cracks where I want to encourage growth and spreading... and I can put SAND between the bricks where I would like to discourage it. I want to show my hubby some comments to convince him that SAND is the best option (if it is), and that he should deal with his dirt-o-phobe issues and just let me do what ought to be done. Because I have a cat, I sort of refuse to use chemicals to keep the patio in-line. If I notice new excessive weeds coming up in the sand I plan to use HOT BOILING WATER and also perhaps a 15+% vinegar mixture (being careful not to use it near the beds). Another option I have is to simply "mow" very close to the brick (or use a weed whacker). That really doesn't address the prolific dandelion issue... and those flat suckers that just spread out and out and out. We're also over-run with ground clover... it also likes to cover up the brick and promotes the accumulation of decomposing vegetation and sugar ants. So, am I right? Should get rid of the weed infested topsoil between the bricks, get it down to the concrete, repack with sand... and clean soil? Love to hear from the experience brick owners - especially those who do more than fight with it, but love and use it to its best advantage.