By Rusty, Thu, 08/24/2023 - 19:16

Ground cover plants are taking over landscapes in North Central Florida, and for good reason! These low-maintenance superheroes require minimal maintenance including fertilizer, pesticides, mowing, and trimming. They also need less irrigation which saves money as well as water resources. 

But here's the real kicker: they attract all sorts of cool wildlife, promoting biodiversity and effectively combating soil erosion, especially in rainy areas (hello Florida). And let's not forget the jaw-dropping beauty they bring to the table! With a stunning variety of foliage colors, textures, and flowers, you can transform your landscape into a breathtaking masterpiece.

So, if you're in North Central Florida, it's time to join the ground cover revolution! Just be sure that when you’re selecting plants for ground cover you consider factors such as sunlight requirements, soil conditions, and maintenance needs. We have a helpful guide prepared for you with our favorite ground cover plants!


1. Asiatic Jasmine
We choose Asiatic Jasmine as our go-to ground cover plant. It thrives in areas that receive at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. However, it can also tolerate some shade, making it a versatile option for different lighting conditions.

With its lush growth and glossy green leaves, it adds elegance and beauty to any garden or pathway. Not only is it low-maintenance, requiring little to no mowing or trimming, but it also tolerates various soil conditions and moderate foot traffic, making it a versatile and resilient choice for your landscape.

2. Large & Dwarf Mondo Grass
These plants thrive in areas where sunlight might be a bit limited. With their dark green color and dense, dense foliage, they'll transform your shaded areas into enchanting carpets of green. Not only do they provide excellent coverage, but they also require minimal maintenance once established.

Both Large and Dwarf Mondo Grass are fantastic choices for shade or partial sun ground cover in North Central Florida. These resilient plants can adapt to various soil conditions, making them versatile options for your landscape.

3.Liriope Spicata (spreading liriope, rather than the clumping varieties like Liriope Muscari)
This is the ultimate plant for shade and partial sun ground covering for North Central Florida! This beauty is all about adding some flair to your landscape. Its grass-like leaves and lavender-purple blooms bring a touch of class to any shady spot.

It thrives in those low-light areas, forming dense mats that kick weeds to the curb and provide excellent coverage. Once it's settled in, Liriope doesn't demand much, leaving you more time to chill and enjoy your outdoor paradise.

4. English Ivy
This hardy and evergreen plant is like a natural carpet, spreading effortlessly across the ground and crowding out pesky weeds. This attractive and low-maintenance plant thrives in our climate, even tolerating the occasional frost. English Ivy also helps conserve moisture in the soil, reducing the need for constant watering, which is always a bonus!


1. Perennial Peanut
This plant thrives in North Central Florida’s warm climate and sandy soil, requiring minimal maintenance. With its dense mat and ability to suppress weeds, it keeps your landscape looking tidy without the hassle. Plus, its attractive yellow flowers add a touch of natural beauty to your outdoor space.

2.Wedelia Vine
Wedelia’s golden flowers closely resemble beach sunflowers, but it has emerged as a menace to numerous native plants, extending its reach beyond cultivated areas into natural habitats. As part of the sunflower family, Wedelia forms a dense carpet of vegetation, outcompeting and shading existing plants, thus disrupting their growth. Therefore, it's crucial to avoid planting Wedelia or allowing it to spread outside of cultivated settings.

3. Juniper (smaller varieties like Blue Rug and larger varieties like Parsoni)
Blue Rug juniper grows at a moderate pace, reaching a height of less than a foot but can spread out several feet wide, creating a dense mat of foliage. For optimal growth, it's best to plant blue rug juniper during the cooler seasons of fall or early spring.

4. Sunshine Mimosa
Sunshine mimosa makes an excellent groundcover alternative. It stays low to the ground, spreads easily, and can handle being mowed. This plant is versatile, thriving in both dry and moist environments. While it doesn't climb over other plants or structures, it extends its growth by sprawling continuously and rooting down as it goes.

5. Purple Queen
Purple queen is a great ground cover plant. It's got a trailing look with beautiful purple foliage, and it can handle full sun. Once established, it requires minimal maintenance and quickly fills in the area, providing an attractive carpet-like cover.

Just remember to water it well during the start, and keep an eye on it because it likes to spread. It'll keep your garden looking beautiful, but be mindful not to let it take over the whole neighborhood!

As you can see, ground cover plants are the unsung heroes of Nocatee landscapes. With their low-maintenance nature, they save time, money, and water resources while promoting biodiversity and preventing soil erosion. Not to mention, their stunning beauty can turn any yard into a picturesque masterpiece.

If we can help you with your North Florida Landscape ground covering plants please contact us at (352) 378-5296 or (904) 913-5296 or fill out our form at the top of the page!

2023-august-ground cover-guide-blog.jpg
By Rusty, Tue, 05/23/2023 - 20:01

Spring has sprung, and our schedule is filling up fast with homeowners seeking our help to jazz up their outdoor living spaces. To lend a helping hand, we've gone through our archives of past outdoor living projects and asked our team to choose their favorite ones and share some before-and-after pictures to help inspire our clients.

Landscape Design
Landscape design is undoubtedly one of the top-voted outdoor living projects, and for good reason. A well-designed landscape can transform a plain and boring yard into a beautiful and functional outdoor living space.

With careful planning, you can include areas for outdoor dining, gardening and relaxing. Landscape design can also incorporate sustainable practices, such as using native plants, conserving water, and minimizing chemical usage.

With its numerous benefits, it's no surprise that landscape design is a popular choice for those looking to enhance their outdoor living spaces.

Check out our top 5 Landscape Design projects:

  1. Lawn Project Spotlight: Haile Plantation Landscape Renovation - The client contacted us after purchasing a house with overgrown landscaping that did not meet the landscaping requirements of Haile Plantation. The plants and original landscaping were outdated and so overgrown that a complete removal was necessary, and we had to start from scratch.
  2. Project Spotlight: Curb Appeal Makeover - After constructing a new home in the Lugano subdivision, the client was dissatisfied with the landscaping on the side of their property.

    They requested a fruit tree for seasonal fruit, a focal point plant outside their window, the use of vibrant colors for curb appeal, and the addition of boulders to the design for a textured effect.
  3. Project Spotlight: Landscape Renovation - For years, our client had been planning to construct their ideal home and desired an entertainment area off their back porch.

    Specifically, they wanted a space that included an outdoor kitchen, fire pit, patio, a blend of boulders and pavers, screening for an outdoor shower, and a spot for an industrial-style "Stock Tank" pool.
  4. Outdoor Living Makeover: Paver Patio, Gas Firepit, Herb Garden, and Waterfall Feature - This homeowner was captivated by a water feature they had seen in a Jacksonville landscape and wanted to replicate at their new home.

    In addition to the water feature, they had other desires, such as an all-inclusive space for a hot tub, a natural gas fire pit, and a herb garden.

    We were thrilled to have met all of their requirements and even more excited that we exceeded their expectations!
  5. Elevated Outdoor Living: Enhanced Gainesville Backyard with Deck Replacement and Raised Living Space - This client called us because she did not like the small wooden deck that came with her house. She also wanted to have an open design with space for a hot tub in the future. She installed retractable screens and our team installed a beautiful paver patio with steps to reach her backyard.

    We used thin pavers to go over her patio inside the screen that matched the larger pavers on the exterior area to make the entire back patio come together into a beautiful space for entertaining.

    To top it off, we added landscape lights to keep it looking appealing and safe in the evening as well. 

We take pride in our landscape design skills, and it shows in the remarkable transformations we've achieved for many homeowners' outdoor living spaces.

As the demand for outdoor living spaces is still on the rise, take a cue from these projects and let them inspire you to create your own dream outdoor space.

Don't hesitate to reach out to us and let's collaborate on making it a reality!

If you’re looking to extend your outdoor living space, please contact us at (352) 378-5296 or (904) 913-5296 or fill out our form at the top of the page, we would love to help!

By Rusty, Tue, 02/15/2022 - 10:51

Now that we have made it most of the way through the dark days of winter and our plants are brown and damaged from cold snaps, it's time to plan your spring pruning for rejuvenating your landscape.

There are four major reasons for pruning a plant:
1. To improve flower or fruit production
2. To direct the growth and shape of the plant
3. To change the size of the plant
4. To promote plant health

With spring just around the corner, it's the pruning season for many Florida landscape plants. You can spring new life into a plant by letting it flush out from rejuvenation pruning.

But, what is rejuvenation pruning?
Rejuvenation pruning is the removal of old or overgrown limbs so that the plant can grow new, healthy branches in their place. Plants that require rejuvenation can be “hard pruned” or pruned gradually.

Why is rejuvenation pruning done?
This type of deep pruning is done to “rejuvenate” the health of shrubs. Without regular pruning, shrubs can get crowded, look messy, produce fewer flowers, and leave the plant looking really unhealthy.

When is rejuvenation pruning needed?
This radical form of pruning is used when shrubs are overgrown, leggy, dying in the interior and/or have slowed flowering. This typically happens to fast-growing, multi-stemmed shrubs if they haven’t been properly pruned for several years.

Rejuvenation pruning gives these shrubs a fresh start. After stems have been removed down to the ground, the shrub quickly begins to regrow. Flowering shrubs produce more blossoms in following years and shrubs with colorful stems, such as dogwoods, tend to grow back brighter and more colorful after rejuvenation pruning.

What time of year should rejuvenation pruning be done?
Rejuvenation or renewal pruning is usually done in early spring before new growth emerges. Pruning in this way during a later time of year can cause excessive stress to the plant.

Which Gainesville Landscape plants can benefit from rejuvenation pruning?
- Perennials
that grow very fast have flowers that get frozen back to sticks
(examples: Firespike, Lantana, Butterfly Bush, Milkweed, Plumbago…all of these need to be cut back every year to cut off the frost damaged to grow from base (Crape Myrtles as well)

- Spring blooming plants after they are finished flowering. Many Southern shade garden plants such as Azaleas and Camellia in the spring blooming category. You can prune spring bloomers any time after flowering, but before the Fourth of July as these plants begin to set next year’s blooms from mid-summer to fall. If you prune too late in the year, you will not experience blooms the following spring.These plants may look dead but they may very well have life in them. Never prune this set of plants until after they flower.

- Ornamental Grasses such as Flax, Muhly grass, and Pampas Grass will need rejuvenation pruning after hard frosts. This ensures the dead and frost-damaged leaves do not remain along with the new growth from spring, leaving the plant healthier and more appealing.

- Leggy looking plants such as Knockout and Drift Roses when they are overgrown and in need of rejuvenation pruning. If a plant gets too much growth on old wood-then sometimes old branches will start restricting the nutrients that go to those limbs and the rejuvenation pruning will allow more growth and fill back out without all those dead “leggy” limbs.

Pruning at the correct time of year can improve structure, control growth, and encourage beautiful blooms. If you are happy with the size, shape, and blooming of your plants, you have it easy. You may not even need to prune at all!

If you would like more information on pruning, check out a few of our Youtube videos on the topic:

What can be done with Muhly and Pampas Grasses to keep them appealing?
Spring Pruning for Golden Cassia Trees
Spring Pruning in your Gainesville Landscape
3 Tips for Pruning Crape Myrtles in Gainesville, Florida

If we can be of help with your spring rejuvenation pruning Gainesville landscape maintenance chores - or the surrounding areas of Alachua, Jonesville, and Newberry - please don't hesitate to reach out to us at (352) 378-LAWN or fill out our form at the top of the page!

By Rusty, Mon, 01/28/2019 - 13:54

The Angie's List award reflects The Master's consistently high level of customer service and professionalism in the lawn care industry. They have earned the home service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award for the 5th year in a row for 2018. This award honors service professionals who have maintained exceptional service ratings and reviews for the Gainesville, Florida Lawn and Landscape market.

“Service pros that receive our Angie’s List Super Service Award represent the best in our network, who are consistently making great customer service their mission,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “These pros have provided exceptional service to our members and absolutely deserve recognition for the exemplary customer service they exhibited.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2018 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include maintaining an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade. The SSA winners must be in good standing with Angie’s List and undergo additional screening for proper licensing, insurance, and background checks.

"We are blessed to have a team that is committed to exceeding our client's expectations and profesionalism in our industry," said Rusty when asked about the award. "It's one thing to see your job as to do just lawn spraying, or yard mowing, or planting - but it takes it to another level when you have team members see everyhting they do as a way to serve our clients better- and that's what our team does every day."

Rusty Thompson founded The Master's Lawn Care in 2004 after a negative experience with a couple companies as the president of a homeowner's association, and knew that there was a need in the market for a customer-focused company. The Master's Lawn Care has been listed on Angie’s List for over 8 years, and this is the 5th year in a row to have been recognized with this award.

Service company ratings are updated continually on Angie’s List as new, verified consumer reviews are submitted. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in multiple fields ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality. For over two decades Angie’s List has been a trusted name for connecting consumers to top-rated service professionals. Angie’s List provides unique tools and support designed to improve the local service experience for both consumers and service professionals.

2018 angies list service award
By Rusty, Mon, 01/28/2019 - 10:55

The Pansy Delta Fire features 2.5 to 3 inch blooms coming in Red, Scarlet & Yellow with Mahogany Red accents on compact 4 to 6 inch plants that keep the blooms from flopping over. All Pansies can take the cold, but the Delta series can take more heat than almost any other (Matrix is great for warm days too), which come regualry in Gainesville landscape as we bounce back and forth from cold to warm this time of year.

The Delta Fire is definitely something different and we love to see it in a bunch of pots or small beds.

It is best planted when soil temps are between 45-70 degrees and in a raised bed for good drainage.  Pansy's planted when soil temps are below 45 will be stunted exhibiting little growth or flowering.  Plant 6 to 10 inches apart in full or part sun.  Water thoroughly for the first time 5 days after planting and then it is best that they receive a thorough watering once or twice a week and feed once every two weeks.  Regular dead heading of faded blooms can extend & increase blooming.  Surrounding, with approx 2 inches of mulch will help conserve water and protect against the cold.  The Delta Series exhibits great heat tolerance though all pansy's will begin to decline as the days heat up.  Be careful if you live in the Millhopper Road area of town though, because deer love pansy's!

If we can help you with your Gainesville Landscape improvements, please give ua a call or text at (352) 378-5296. 

By Rusty, Thu, 01/24/2019 - 10:49

A common question we get about Landscaping in Gainesville, Florida is what plants do we recommend that are low-maintenance and offer great curb appeal to use in Gainesville Landscape Designs. In this quick video, we show off a design we implemented for a client with 7 of our favorite Gainesville landscape plants.

We go over the Flax Lily, Drift Roses, Agapanthus, Regina Iris, Salvia, Oyster Plant, and Angelonia as great plants to use to brighten your Gainesville lawn.

If we can help you in your Gainesville landscape, don't heistate to give us a call or email us at (352) 378-5296. 

7 Appealing Plants for your Gainesville Landscape
By Rusty, Sun, 12/16/2018 - 09:18

One of our favorite cool-season flowering plants to brighten Gainesville Landcsaping is the Diascia 'Juliet'. Diascia has prolific, showy blossoms on a low-mounding habit. Diascia can be used interchangeably with Alyssum, Pansies, Nemesia, and other cool season annuals.  These plants love cooler weather, so they are covered in blooms.  While perennial further north, Diascia will likely not make it through our summers - making it a cool-season annual for Gainesville, Florida lawns.

Diascia is sometimes referred to as "twinspur" because the flowers feature two spurs coming out of the back of the blossoms. Within these spurs, the plants produce an oil that is collected by a species of bees that have evolved alongside the plants. Diascia grows as a compact mound 1-2 feet in spread and 2-3 feet high.

North Florida Landscape companies are usually very familiar with planting common snapdragons (Antirrhinum), but may not know their semi-trailing cousin Diascia or Twinspur. Like snapdragons, Diascia can withstand multiple light frosts without skipping a beat. But Diascia wins in the maintenance category as its burgeoning blooms are produced profusely without any deadheading.

Diascia is frost tolerant to 28 degrees, so below that we recommend some covering to protect them - but those night are rare in our area.

This South African plant grows best in fertile, well-drained soil with consistent moisture. Diascias tolerate drought once they are well-established. These plants will benefit from regular fertilization, especially during the spring.

While they do not require deadheading to keep up with their blossoms, diascia will benefit from a shearing back to encourage a flush of new growth.

If you would like to see Diascia or other Gainesville Landscape installation, please don't hesitate to reach out to our office (352) 378-5296 or

By Rusty, Fri, 11/30/2018 - 16:55

The Viola is a beautiful cool-season annual. It offers amazing uniformity across a wide range of dazzling colors for Gainesville Landscaping with more blooms on every plant than most other flowers. It is also more tolerant of Florida's warm days in the middle of the winter well, too. It's excellent for massing, edging, rock gardens and in hanging baskets and other containers.

These little beauties were imported from Europe in the 18th century.  Viola flowers are smaller than their Pansy cousins – about the size of a nickel – but much more abundant. Violas also tend to be more heat and cold tolerant so that means an extended blooming season.

Viola cornuta looks like a Pansy. They actually belong to the same family, but the viola is much more hardy than the pansy is. The petals are how you can distinguish pansies from viola cornuta. Voila cornuta numbers 2 petals facing upwards, and three facing downwards. 

Here are some photos of Violas and Poinsettias planted in Butler Plaza this week! They aren't in full bloom yet, but will be within a week or two. 

viola flowers in landscape

If you would like to see Violas planted in your Gainesville, Florida lawn - please contact our office by calling (352) 378-5296 or emailing

By Rusty, Tue, 11/27/2018 - 09:00

The 2  two biggest mistakes I see when homeowners (and even a few Gainesville landscape companies) plant trees and shrubs are planting them too low, and applying too much mulch. In today’s quick tip, I’ll give you my secrets to planting a healthy tree in your Gainesville lawn.

Mistake 1: Planting Plants/Tree Too Low

This simple mistake is the most common one we see and does major damage to the plant. It also is the main reason that we see trees and shrubs planted for a while and not actively growing. Most people think a tree is supposed to be planted with the root ball flush with the soil level, but that is incorrect. This results in people planting their trees too deep which makes it hard for your newly planted tree to thrive, as the base of the plant cannot breathe.

What should be done is to install the tree so the root flare is flush with the soil level, which looks like the tree is planted too high to the untrained eye, like the photo below:

tree rot flare diagram

The reason this is bad for your tree is that this excess dirt rots the bark off of the tree and prevents valuable nutrients from moving from the roots up to the branches. One of the symptoms of a tree that has been planted too deep is if you lean on a tree that has been in the ground a few years and that tree’s trunk rocks easily back and forth in the ground, that tree is slowly rotting. The only fix to this is digging up the tree or shrub and replanting correctly to see if it can be salvaged.

Mistake 2: Too much mulch (mulch volcanoes!)

This is a case of too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, like candy. Mulch is great for plants and trees and overall is beneficial to landscapes by controlling weeds as well. The problem is when a person goes overboard piling too much mulch up against the tree trunk. The next time you are out and above, pay attention to the mulch volcanoes in your neighborhood. Most people, including far too many landscape professionals and lawn care workers, make this mistake. Here are some funny photos of "mulch volcanoes:"

mulch volcano
mulch volcano

Make no mistake, you need to mulch your new tree, plants, and landscape, but the way to do is to leave a gap of about 2-3" away from the trunk of the tree. Here is an image showing how we recommend trees to be installed correctly including the mulch and planting height:

proper tree planting diagram

For a tree to thrive, nutrients, fertilizers, and oxygen pass back and forth in a layer just underneath the bark. A telling example of how important this is for a tree - years ago, when a farmer wanted to kill a tree on their land, they would take their knife and cut through the bark all the way around the tree. This cut effectively cut off the tree’s supply of nutrients. This is called girding a tree and that’s exactly what happens when you pile too much mulch or soil up around the trunk by the two above mistakes. The bark rots and begins to cut off the supply of nutrients.

If you are thinking about planting a tree or making any updates to your Gainesville, Florida landscape, give us call at 352-378-5296 or email We’ve been helping our community improve the health and beauty of their lawns and landscapes for over a decade and have a lot of experience and knowledge in what plants and trees will thrive in our Florida weather, which will save you time and money in the long run. We look forward to working with you. 

By Rusty, Thu, 11/22/2018 - 15:12

The Bird of Paradise is highly valued for its large, exotic, colorful blooms in a bold blend of orange, blue, and white (Go Gators!) It adds amazing color and lends a tropical look to any landscape.  Crowns of long stalks with large grey-green leaves provide year-round interest. Very useful as a specimen planting, especially on a patio or near a pool. Evergreen.

Gainesville Landscape Plant: Dwarf Bird of Paradise