Designing a Tulip Garden

What You'll Need
Gardening tools
Gardening gloves
Knee pads for kneeling
Diatomaceous earth
Lava rock
Tulip bulbs

Plant a tulip garden to add some bright spring color to your yard. Tulips come in a variety of colors and shapes and are very easy to care for once they've been planted. Designing a tulip garden to maximize the beauty of these plants takes only a little time and some creativity.

Step 1 - Decide the Garden Location

Since there are more than 100 types of tulips divided into 15 types of groups, it's important to choose the right ones for the location of your garden. After you decide where you want to plant, determine how long you'd like your garden to bloom. Some tulips will begin blooming in early spring and other varieties will continue to bloom until late May.

Sketch the general shape of your garden on a piece of paper, and then divide your drawn garden into sections. Select the color you'd like for each section and record this information. Decide if the approximate height of the tulips you'd like in each section. For example, dwarf tulips work well in a rock garden, while regular tulips look great along borders or mass gardens.

Step 2 - Go Bulb Shopping

Once you have a good idea of what you would like, you can go shopping for tulip bulbs. Regardless of which type of bulb you choose, make sure to choose heavy, firm bulbs over ones that are withered, blemished and dry. Do not buy bulbs that show any traces of mold. 

Step 3 - Prepare the Soil

In early fall, start preparing the soil in your garden for the new flowers. Turn over the soil and add nutrient rich compost to make the soil richer. Make sure your garden has good drainage to discourage water from pooling around the bulbs under the soil and causing them to rot.

Step 4 - Plant the Tulip Bulbs

Plant in the late fall before the ground freezes. Divide your garden into sections using the design you created earlier. You can use twine to section off the areas. Sort your bulbs based on color and height which you determined earlier in your design.

Start planting the bulbs from the back of the garden and work your way to the front. Plant them about 4 inches apart at 6 inches below the surface of the soil. Make sure you put the bulb in the soil correctly. The rounded side of the bulb is the root side and this should be the side that points down in the soil. The pointed side should be facing up as this is the part that will open in the spring and flower. Fill the hole with soil and water. Then cover the bulbs with mulch to protect them from the winter elements. Finally, add a barrier of diatomaceous earth or lava rock around your tulips to discourage slugs or snails from eating the bulbs.

In the spring, remove the mulch to allow the plants to grow if foliage hasn't already started to sprout. Only water the bulbs when the temperature is above freezing and once leaves have appeared.