Grass-free wildflower lawn + wildflower meadow
I'm going to create a wildflower lawn and meadow in spring so thought I should start planning now so I can be prepared come March.
First, I'm creating a 25sqm low-flowering perennial wildflower lawn without grass as that increases the floral aesthetic and has more benefit for pollinators than a lawn with grass - also the meadow area will have grass anyway. I'm going to use plug plant collections rather than seeds as that has a higher rate of success. Not sure if I can give the website but they sell max quantities of 150 plugs per pack with 15 species, so 10 of each species. I'll be working with completely bare economy soil (dug up from new builds) so I have a few options on density/layout as there won't be anything to cover the gaps:
a) 150 plugs @ £98 => 30cm x spacing by 30cm y spacing (basically 1ft gaps all around)
b) 300 plugs @ £196 => 15cm x spacing by 30cm y spacing (from the front it looks more dense horizontally and less dense going towards the back)
c) 450 plugs @ £294 => 15cm x spacing by 15cm y spacing (dense both across and back to front)
If I went for the first two options I could put a 25mm layer of bark chippings to thinly cover the soil but I don't know whether this will affect the propagation of the perennials. Anything else that could fill in the gaps cheaply? But not grass!
What would be the best option for getting nice coverage and display by next summer? I'm not planning to walk on it as I'm putting down a path of stepping stones but I don't want it to look gappy or become muck when it rains. How long do you think it will take for a green "mat"? I did ask the guy from the website but I thought I should ask actual customers too.
I do know of wildflower turf mats but that's quite a bit more expensive and might not be perfect iygwim.
Secondly, behind the lawn will be a traditional wildflower meadow with grass mixes and will be taller, an area around 6 to 10 sqm. This I'm going to make with seed mixes as I'll be more tolerant if there's any problems. Same economy soil used. If I do weeding once a week is this patch likely to succeed? What issues do people usually come across when creating a perennial wildflower meadow?
Apologies for the wall of text