Using natural stone in your garden makes for a unique, rustic look that is built to last and timeless in style. Flagstones may however become vulnerable to the elements, needing extra love and care to avoid erosion, fading and cracked stones. Whether used for patios, walkways or driveways. Here are some top tips for taking care of your natural paving stones. Keeping them looking wonderful throughout the seasons. 

Know Your Stone

Despite often falling under the umbrella term of ‘flagstone’, there are so many different types of paving stone. All of which have different needs and requirements to keep looking their best.

These different natural stones can usually be categorised as either sedimentary (layered rocks like sandstone), igneous (volcanic rocks like basalt), or metamorphic (rocks that have been formed by extreme heat and pressure like slate). Some are more prone to erosion, others to splitting. Some are vulnerable to water or acid damage, or can easily be stained. 

Clear Your Garden

Falling leaves, flowers and plants are a common occurrence as autumn turns to winter. However, as leaves rot away they can stain the surface of your stone. Make sure to clear large fallen plant debris from your stone surface.

Keep It Sealed

Depending on the stone, sealing will vary from being something that is nice to avoid stains. To a vital necessity to make sure flagstones do not break. A stone sealant is a product that forms a barrier that stops liquids from getting into the surface.

Generally, this will take the form of a penetrating sealant that enters all the nooks of your stone. Topical sealants are also available which provide a thin layer of protection, often giving a wet look to the stone. It is essentially required if you plan to use sandstone or other sedimentary rocks. This is due to their naturally porous nature meaning that a few rain showers will create noticeable damage to the surface.

Be Careful With Furniture

Whenever you are moving tables, chairs and other furniture about, try to lift it off the surface to avoid it skidding and scratching. Try using feet on metal chairs and tables and lift plant pots to avoid excess staining.

Avoid Abrasive Cleaners

Many stone cleaners you can buy are designed to clean concrete, a man-made stone that requires acid to be effectively cleaned. These are filled with strong chemicals that can really damage natural stone.

Ammonia and bleach-based products, abrasive stone cleaners and anything that contains acid should be avoided when cleaning natural stone. Abrasive cleaners scratch the surface and potentially damage the seal, and acid cleaners eat into the calcium part of the stone and will dull it. 

Generally, when cleaning natural stone, use something with a neutral pH. Ideally, find cleaning products designed for the type of stone you are using. Similarly, when cleaning natural stone, use nylon brushes, as they are less abrasive and less likely to scratch the stone when cleaning.