Technology in the garden - pressure washers

It’s at this time of year that our patios tend to look dirty and green from the inevitable moss, dirt and algae that builds up over the cold wet weather.  Using a pressure washer to clean your patio and paths will make them look much better and stop them becoming dangerously slippery to walk on.

A pressure washer is far quicker, easier, and more effective than using a scrubbing brush and hose.  Essentially, it’s a machine with a pump that delivers a powerful jet of water to lift off dirt.  There are lots of models on the market, catering to different sized gardens and needs.  Most models for domestic use are electric with power varying from low power models (around 1400W) suitable for smaller patios, to medium power (around 1700W) through to heavy duty models for extensive areas.

Mid-powered models by companies such as Stihl tend to be efficient to use.  Look for water pressure of around 100-130 bar and medium flow rates.  As well as the power needed, things to consider include weight and portability such as having wheels or handles, how noisy they are and the length of the power cord in relation to your outlet.  Cordless models are another option.

In terms of accessories and design, it’s useful to have built-in storage for accessories and tools and a hose wheel.  The basic machines come with one lance with a nozzle on the end, which provides variable pressure. A rotary jet lance provides a more powerful jet that spins and is useful when more powerful cleaning is needed.  It’s also worth looking out for built-in detergent tanks – and using the various eco-products on the market.

Power washers can take a bit of setting up and getting used to.  Make sure your hose is firmly attached to the tap and water runs freely before you switch on the power.  The pump will not operate until you squeeze the trigger.  Make sure all connectors are tight and there are no leaks.  Work from one edge or corner of the patio, pushing the dirt away from you in a sweeping motion.  You might need more powerful settings to shift dirt and then rinse off with a lower pressure.