A luscious carpet of healthy green grass will always make your backyard look appealing, but if you want to try something a little bit bolder, brighter, and more imaginative, why not adorn your lawn with a variety of colorful flowers for a few months of the year? That's exactly what the viral bulb lawn craze is all about, and if you're sold on the idea, now is the perfect time to start planting one.
Bulb lawns are made by planting a host of spring flowers on your lawn. We're not talking about the small pockets of blooms you might typically dot around your backyard in cute little clusters. No, we're talking a mass of bulbs which, come March or April, cover your entire lawn with a sea of beautiful flowers like a scene from a Disney movie.
Keen to give it a go? Even since an inventive method for planting big-scale bulbs when viral on TikTok, we've been itching to try it ourselves, and we thought it was too good not to share. Here's what you need to know about planting a bulb lawn, a genius planting idea that could just be the garden trend of 2024.
What is a 'bulb lawn'?
First, erase any notion of light bulbs from your brain. Those aren't the kind we're dealing with here. We're talking about flowering bulbs that bloom in spring, such as crocuses, daffodils, and tulips. 'A bulb lawn is an area where these flower bulbs are planted beneath the grass rather than, say, a flower bed,' says Tony O'Neill, professional gardener and founder of Simplify Gardening. 'When spring comes, instead of just green grass, you get a beautiful display of flowers sprouting amidst the lawn, turning it into a vibrant tapestry of colors.'
The trick, of course, is planting the bulbs close together - and lots of them. 'Instead of traditional grass, the primary feature of a bulb lawn is the dense concentration of flowering bulbs that cover the ground,' notes Zahid Adnan of The Plant Bible. That does mean that a bulb lawn will be both easier (and cheaper) if you have a small garden.
What are the benefits of a bulb lawn?
While the primary benefit of a bulb lawn is its aesthetic beauty, there are some practical advantages, too. 'Aesthetically, a bulb lawn offers a dynamic, ever-changing view,' Tony explains. 'The lawn evolves as the bulbs flower and fade, providing ongoing visual interest.'
From a practical point of view, he says it also offers a way to make the best use of the space, especially in a small garden, allowing homeowners to enjoy both a lawn and a flowerbed in the same space. 'Bulbs are also typically low maintenance once planted, making it an easy way for gardeners to add a splash of color to their outdoor space,' he adds.
Zahid also notes the secondary benefits that come with an array of spring blooms in your backyard. 'One of those is early pollinator attraction,' he says. 'Many spring-flowering bulbs attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, which can benefit the local ecosystem.' Besides wildlife gardening, bulbs are also a great long-term addition to your lawn since most varieties are perennials. 'Over time, some bulb varieties can also naturalize, meaning they multiply and spread, creating an even more impressive display in subsequent years,' Zahid says.
How do you plant a bulb lawn?
'Traditionally, bulbs are planted using a bulb planter or trowel to ensure they're at the right depth,' explains Tony. Recently though, a TikTok video that's amassed nearly 5 million likes shows a more inventive method of getting lots of bulbs planted quickly.
'As seen on TikTok, the drill method involves attaching a bulb auger to a drill to speed up the process,' Tony notes. 'It's effective, especially if you're planting many bulbs, but always ensure you're still planting at the correct depth and not damaging existing roots in the soil.'
As we hinted at earlier, the good news is now is the perfect time to plant your bulbs if you want a carpet of color come spring. 'Planting bulbs for a bulb lawn is typically done in the fall, a few weeks before the ground freezes,' notes Zahid. While factors like the variety of bulbs and your local climate must be taken into account, mid-October is generally a great time to get your spring bulbs into the ground. That's the case when planting daffodils, too - an all-time spring favorite.
Finally, don't forget to give thought to your grass type and its growing habits, too. 'Some grasses grow faster and might overshadow the bulbs,' Tony explains. 'It's also crucial to ensure that the area is well-draining as bulbs don't like to sit in waterlogged soil as it can cause them to rot.'
What bulbs should you choose?
In terms of which bulbs to plant, the world is your oyster! That said, for a colorful lawn-like effect, it's best to go for short, low-growing flowers like crocuses or grape hyacinths over the likes of daffodils and tulips.
But, as Tony points out, the choice of bulbs really depends on the effect you're going for. 'For an early spring show, crocuses are a popular choice,' he says. 'They're quickly followed by daffodils, tulips, and then alliums. Mixing different types ensures a succession of flowers and extended color throughout spring.'
'For the best carpet of flowers in a bulb lawn, consider using a mix of early, mid, and late-season bulbs,' Zahid agrees.
Can you mow over a bulb lawn?
While your bulbs are still underground, it's perfectly fine to cut your grass as usual, though you can probably stop mowing throughout the winter months anyway. 'However, once the flowers start to emerge, you'll want to hold off on mowing until after the bulbs have flowered and their foliage has naturally yellowed and died back,' adds Tony. 'This allows the bulbs to store energy for the next year's bloom.'
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Lilith Hudson is the News Editor at Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.
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