By Rusty, Tue, 01/18/2022 - 15:58

The ultimate goal of every homeowner who takes pride in their landscape is to have a thick, green, and lush lawn to enjoy. The easiest way to have that is to make sure it has the right amount of irrigation, a healthy dose of sunlight, and the proper lawn fertilization program. With those 3 things in-tact, your lawn will be the envy of the neighborhood.

Too much shade is often the culprit for an unsightly dirt patch in a lawn.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone tell me they think all they need to do is install a pallet of sod and their lawn will be fine. What actually happens is the sod looks great for a few months, but over time begins to fade and, six months later, their unsightly dirt patch is back. They're treating the symptom of the problem (the dead sod) rather than the actual problem (the amount of shade on that area of the lawn).

The bottom line is that St. Augustine and Zoysia need about 4-6 hours of sunlight a day. 

Get more information here: 3 Basic Needs of a Healthy Gainesville Lawn: Sun
Watch Video Here: 3 Basic Needs of a Lawn - #1 is Sunlight

If your lawn developed brown spots last spring in the sunny areas, I’d venture to guess that your problem is water-related.  Most of the lawn issues we see in May and June are from the dry spells we experience. These brown spots during droughts are generally caused by one of two things if you have a Gainesville Irrigation system:  Improper irrigation coverage or incorrect watering times.

Three Quick Tips to Avoid Over or Under Watering Your Lawn:
1. Run your irrigation early in the morning. I set mine to start at 4AM.
2. Run your Rotor or Rotator Zones for about 45 minutes. Shrub/Ornamental zones can be set to 25 (deeper root systems).
3. Run your irrigation twice per week from March - November, per Alachua County Code.

Get more information here: 3 Basic Needs of a Healthy Gainesville Lawn: Water
Video Here: 3 Basic Needs of a Lawn - #2 is Water (Sprinklers, Irrigation, Drought stress)

Many homeowners in our area use the ‘feast or famine’ method fertilizing once or twice a year because of chain stores recommending the spring and fall lawn feedings. This is one of the many ways that turfgrass and the human body are very similar. This is not unlike eating one or two large meals a day and expecting a healthy physique – It just doesn’t work like that. In the same way that many nutritionists recommend 5-6 small meals a day because your body needs to be fed constantly, your lawn is at its best when it is given 5-6 doses of nutrients per year too.

Get more information here: 3 Basic Needs of a Healthy Gainesville Lawn: Fertilizer
Video Here: 3 Basic Needs of a Lawn - #3 is Food (Fertilizer)

It's a Brand New Year and a great time to set goals for your lawn. It all starts with a vision, and having a plan in place to focus on where you want to see improvements will help to make sure you hit your lawn goals for the year! Grass can survive with a minimum amount of care, but keep in mind, to  grow well, it will need supplemental watering and fertilizer when it starts to look stressed. That’s where we can help out!

Our lawn health programs are designed by a team that specializes in Gainesville turf grasses, with a focus on prevention of issues before they become issues. We use seasonally appropriate lawn foods to ensure your lawn is primed for success.

If we can be of help with any of your 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, Tue, 11/02/2021 - 18:24

Lighting up the fire pit is a great way to initiate an intimate gathering with family and friends. The hosting possibilities that come along with owning a fire pit are virtually limitless and only bound by your imagination.

Fire pits have become one of the hottest home accessories on the market and it is clear why. There are many fire features that you can have in your backyard. There are basic as well as upscale designs. You will even be able to increase the value of your property with the right fire pit and the right backyard landscape design.

How many types of fire pits are there? Well, fire pits come in numerous alterations but they can generally be grouped into four categories depending on the kind of fuel each pit uses. Below we will take a look at 4 different styles of fire pits.

1. Simple Custom wood burning
A natural replica of a campfire, but limited to a contained space, these pits provide an authentic experience complete with real smoke and the crackle of wood. Choosing the wood-burning option has several advantages, and one of the biggest is price. A wood-burning fire pit is significantly less expensive to design and install than gas fire pits. Also, there’s no beating the crackle, smell, and ambiance of burning real wood. Another perk is that you don’t have to worry about running a new gas line through your yard.

2. Log lighter
A log lighter fire pit has a round pipe with holes in that is located underneath the fire grate. Natural gas or propane gas goes through the pipe and, when lit, is an easy way to start your wood fire. Lighting fires the old way could take a long time. Just when you'd think your fire was finally lit, it would fizzle out and you'd have to start over again. With a fireplace log lighter you'll get strong flames immediately that will easily catch your logs on the fire. Just set the logs on the wood grate over the log lighter, turn the key to open the gas line, toss in a lit match, and the fire lights around your logs. After the logs have caught on fire, turn the valve key to close the gas line, and enjoy the crackling wood fire before you.

3. Gas fire pit
There are many different designs of gas fire pits, but they all work on the same principles. First, there is the housing that contains a gas line from the house or a portable propane tank. At the top of the fire pit is a large concave heat-resistant bowl. One or several burners sprout out of the bowl from below. These are attached to the tank underneath, supplying them with combustible gas. The bowl is filled with fake heat-resistant logs or coals to break up the shape of the bowl and hide the burners from view.

The more decorative bowls might be filled with fine sand, gravel, or river stones for a unique look, though these types of fire pits require mesh covers over the burners to prevent clogging. The pit may come with an ignition switch which, once the gas flow has been turned on, ignites the burners and gives the appearance of a real coal or wood fire.

Below are a couple of projects with gas fire pits that we have installed:
Project Spotlight: Mid Century Modern Landscape and Hardscape Project
Project Spotlight: Landscape Renovation

Keep in mind that while it is safe to cook over a basic propane gas fire pit, there are some gas-fueled outdoor fire features that you don’t want to cook on. These can add a lot of flair to your outdoor space but they’re not the best option for cooking.

4. Portable patio fire pit
Portable fire pits offer the most flexibility and versatility and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, materials, and can meet almost any budget requirement. They can range from small portable campfires you can take with you on vacation to full-size outdoor dining fire tables. The main advantage they have over a permanent one is that you can reposition them whenever you need or want to. You can even take them with you if you move houses.

Hopefully, our suggestions here will help you through your journey of choosing what type of fire pit is right for you and you will be happy with the fire pit you choose for years to come!

With our design and construction experience, we can work with any space, large or small, to build the outdoor experience that you and your family will enjoy for years to come. If we can be of help with creating the fire pit of your dreams, please don't hesitate to reach out to us give our team a call or text at (352) 378-5296. We're local and have been serving Gainesville for over 15 years. We look forward to working with you!

By Rusty, Tue, 10/12/2021 - 19:26

Many people think of spring as the best time for planting, but our preferred season in Gainesville is actually right now! The cooler temperatures and fall rains help the plant’s roots become well-established and the soil is still warm enough to allow roots to grow before the risk of freezing temperatures set in. It’s also a great time to get out in the yard and enjoy your investment! Below you will see our top 5 reasons for why we love Floria Fall landscapes!

1. Color
Here in Gainesville, we don’t get to experience the same dramatic color changes that some of our friends further north enjoy. The flip side of that is that we also don’t have to deal with the colder winters either! Still, it’s nice to see some changes at the turning of the season, and while we won’t be as showy as some other areas, here are a few Gainesville landscape additions that I would highly recommend for our area that will bring you some fall color.

Red Maple Tree
Shumard Oak
Crape Myrtle
Oak Leaf Hydrangea

2. Mild Temperatures
I’m sure many are asking, ‘What if we plant in the fall and then we have a cold winter! Won’t my plants die?’  The truth is The Master's Lawn Care rarely loses plants to the cold. Some freeze down because they're deciduous, but they typically re-grow in the spring even larger and more vibrant than if they had kept their leaves. The reason we don’t lose many plants over the winter is because when we do have a cold snap, it doesn’t stay cold for long. Rarely does north central Florida have a cold snap that lasts more than a week or two.

3. Greener Grass
Fall is a great time for sod installation because most other landscape plants have been planted and have matured by this point and therefore require less maintenance so you will be able to spend more time focusing on creating the thick, lush lawn that will make the neighbors jealous next summer! This is why we recommend Fall. It will be both optimal conditions for the grass and for those installing and maintaining it!

4. Fresh Mulch
Fall is the perfect time to refresh your mulch to encourage healthy, vibrant growth in the spring. Mulching helps protect your plants through our harsher, but short-lived, cold months of the year cost-effectively and easily. A fresh installation of mulch will help keep down weeds, reduce erosion, and keep the soil moist for the health of your Gainesville landscaping plants. The addition of mulch will also help create a clean and neat look in your landscape beds.

5. Outdoor Living
When the heat of summer is gone and cooler weather approaches, Florida Fall is the perfect season for spending more time in the yard with your friends and family. This is the time of year to enjoy firepits, patios, and other outdoor living spaces that you’ve worked hard on the rest of the year. Now is the time to really enjoy your hard work while the weather is nice! 

We do have a short transition from summer to winter. If you plan on taking advantage of the cooler weather to have some Gainesville landscaping renovations done, let us know how we can help! Give our team a call or text at (352) 378-5296. We're local and have been serving Gainesville for over 15 years. We look forward to working with you!

By Rusty, Thu, 09/16/2021 - 19:02

Black Diamonds are a revolutionary new series of crape myrtles that provide unique beauty to your landscape and instant yard envy for your neighbors. Flawless black foliage emerges in early spring followed by masses of brilliant jewel-toned blooms that last until the first frost.

How Fast do Black Diamond Crape Myrtles Grow?

A Black Diamond Crape Myrtle tree can grow 2 to 4 feet in a single year. Once they get to mature height the trunks and branches grow thicker, but the trees stay around 12 feet tall.

How to care for Black Diamond Crape Myrtles

Crepe myrtles need full sun to perform well. They will grow in shade, but blooms will be sparse, and plants will get leggy. For best growth and production, crape myrtle should receive at least one inch of water a week. During dry spells, water is mandatory. If not properly watered during dry spells, flowers may be mitigated. Keep at least 4 feet around the shrub clear of grass and weeds, for less competition for water.
Once your tree reaches maturity, it will be naturally drought-resistant.

When do Black Diamond Crape Myrtles Bloom?

Black Diamond Crape Myrtle trees have a very long bloom period. They flower from summer to fall, generally from July through October.

When should you prune Crape Myrtles?

Crepe myrtles need minimal pruning. Some gardeners top them annually, but this ruins their natural shape and beauty. Remove the sucker growth that sometimes appears around the base. Only prune to shape trees or to take out any cross branching. In the winter, you can remove old seed pods by clipping the tips of branches.

We have a video to help you perfectly prune your crape myrtle!
3 Tips for Pruning Crape Myrtles in Gainesville, Florida

If you’re looking to add this Gainesville Landscape Plant into your yard, please fill out the form above or contact us at (352) 378-5296.

By Rusty, Tue, 08/17/2021 - 19:16

Dwarf Ruellia' is an improved variety and able to bloom beautiful pink or purple flowers almost all year long. We like this dwarf variety because they feature low, spreading mounds of narrow, dark green foliage. The combination of the flowers, grass-like texture, and green foliage make it a perfect filler to add color and interest to barren, dry areas in the yard. We also like to plant them in borders or on a sunny slope. Thanks to their compact form, these Ruellias are an excellent choice for use as a groundcover in tighter, narrower spaces and they also look great when planted in pots or planters!

Dwarf Ruellia is a low water use plant and is drought tolerant with little to moderate watering needs once established. This Ruellia variety thrives in full sun or partial shade exposures and is durable and easy to care for plants. These are a favorite for anyone that does not have a green thumb and still wants to have a thriving, colorful plant in their yard! They have a moderate growth rate, and with regular watering and care, they will have the best development.

This tough, heat-loving perennial is insect, and deer-resistant. It is perfect for dry, neglected spots in your landscape. Their long bloom season and showy flowers make Dwarf Ruellia a welcome addition to any landscape.

If you’re looking to add this Gainesville Landscape Plant into your yard, please fill out the form above or contact us at (352) 378-5296.

By Rusty, Thu, 07/08/2021 - 18:45

Well-branched and very free-flowering, 'Mystic Spires' produces masses of sturdy, colorful flower stalks that are of great aesthetic appeal in beds, borders or containers and attract scores of butterflies, hummingbirds, and beneficial insects

This plant produces masses of colorful flowers that mix nicely with other annuals and perennials, is tolerant of heat and humidity (low and high), and is not bothered by pests or diseases or deer!

Exposure: full sun

Planting Time: spring to summer from containers

Soil type: adapts to most soils, but needs good drainage

This low-maintenance plant is perfect for Florida’s hot summers and keeps on blooming when other flowering plants have begun to decline.

How to Care for your Salvia:
Be sure to water every day during the establishment period after planting in the garden from a container, then, once plants have established into the landscape, you can begin to taper watering back to semi-weekly watering if local rainfall levels are low.

Leave foliage and roots in place for next year's growth. Trim off any winter damage from colder months for the fastest regrowth in the spring.

Trim back both foliage and blooms in spring regardless of whether your planting has kept its leaves or died back. This will allow the plant to regrow new lush foliage for the new season.

Fertilize each spring, and again when trimming in late summer

If you’re looking to add this Gainesville Landscape Plant into your yard, please fill out the form above or contact us at (352) 378-5296.

By Rusty, Mon, 05/31/2021 - 07:59

When installing plants in a new construction home, one of the important things to consider (and something we talk about often) is the soil quality. Typically in the north central Florida area, new homes are constructed in "archer fill dirt" or builder's sand. It provides almost no nutrients, has a very high pH, and also has no water retention capacity.

This leaves the new landscape plants and sod starving for nutrients and water, and completely reliant on extra irrigation and added fertilization to maintain it's curb appeal. Also, due to the high pH and poor water retention, it leaves the landscape more susceptible to pests and disease.

This is where the "ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" comes in.

The best way to avoid this is to have the landscaping installed with an organic soil (compost, potting soil, or garden soil) surrounding the new plant's hole to allow it's roots to spread into healthy soil. We do recommend to mix together some of the builder's sand with the organic soil (Comand Soil in this video) to help the plant's roots adjust slowly to the conditions of your specific property.

Although this is not addressed in this video, before sod is installed we would also recommend spreading organic compost or soil over the entire lawn before the sod is installed to give it some healthy soil to root into.

This soil amendment around the roots of the plants or turfgrass will help reduce your watering needs, reduce the needs of fertilization, and reduce the need for pesticide inputs as well. We hope the video is helpful and appreciate any comments or questions!

To learn more about our Gainesville, Fl landscaping service, visit our website at or call (352) 378-LAWN

Landscaping in Builder's Sand - Using Quality Soil for Plants' Rooting
By Rusty, Fri, 06/14/2019 - 14:29

Sunpatiens are a hybrid breed of the ever-famous shade-tolerant Impatiens, that are so popular in Gainesville landscaping. The blend is a careful combination of wild “traditional” impatiens with the larger, sun-loving Impatiens hawkeri, native to New Guinea. The result is a variety of impatiens that thrives in full sun and hot, humid weather and blooms that last from spring to autumn. It’s an excellent container and bedding flower for long lasting color to brighten your Gainesville, Florida yard.

Growing sunpatiens is very easy and low maintenance in florida lawns. The plants prefer well-draining soil that’s rich in organic material. They grow very well in both containers and garden beds, and they like sun or partial shade. I have found our Florida summers' heat may be too much without a little afternoon shade though, so avoid 12-14 hours of sunlight. For the first week or two after planting, they should be watered every day to get them established. After that, they need only moderate watering and can usually be revived from wilting with a good dose of water. Sunpatiens companion plants are any colorful flowering plants that also enjoy full sun. When growing sunpatiens plants, especially if grouping with other plant varieties, it’s important to know how much space you are looking to fill in.

Sunpatiens plants come in two size categories: compact and vigorous. Compact plants are perfect for containers. Compact plants stay small while the vigorous ones fill out a hanging basket or pot spectacularly. Vigorous plants are best for garden beds, as they grow fast and fill out a space with bright color quickly and effectively.

If we can be of help your Gainesville lawn or landscape, please give us a call or text at (352) 378-5296. Also email is great at

By Rusty, Thu, 05/09/2019 - 10:22

You need three things for a healthy lawn. Sun, water, and food (fertilizer.) If your lawn has all of that in the correct amount, gyour Gainesville lawn will grow and eventually thrive in 98% of scenarios. If you don’t have the three components in the proper amount, it doesn’t matter how much time, effort, or money you throw at the problem, you’re not going to be able to grow dense grass.

That’s a hard pill to swallow for many of our customers who have a lot of shade in their Gainesville yard. But if you consider how much sun you need in Gainesville, Florida lawns for our most common grasses you can see why shady lawns are challenging.

St. Augustine. Requires about 4-6 hours of sunlight to establish. Once established, St. Augustine can do ok with less sunlight and will actually acclimate over time if a tree has been planted that casts a fair amount of shadows. This is crucial to understand if you have a neighbor who has a healthy St. Augustine lawn that has a fair amount of shade. The St. Augustine was established long before the trees matured and cast more shade. If you already have a lot of shade, you’re not going to have any success sodding with St. Augustine unless you give it at least 6 hours of sunlight.

Zoysia. Can survive in 5-6 hours of sunlight, and is regularly advertised as more shade-tolerant than St.Augustine due to early studies. However, most St. Augustine grass vareties have proven over time to be a bit more shade-tolerant than Zoysia. 

As you can see, most lawns require a lot of sun which can be a challenge if you have mature trees on your property and a ot of shade.

So, if grass isn't the answer for these areas, what is?

Acceptance! Embrace your shady lawn and quit fighting a losing battle against nature. Don’t invest in sod that ultimately won’t take. Don’t waste your time or money on thinning your trees. The best way to fix the problem is to invest in a workable solution for a shady lawn in Gainesville.

You can have a beautiful landscape in the shade. There are many ground covers and shrubs that do well in little to no light in Alachua County and TMLC has designed and installed hundreds (if not thousands) of landscapes for shady lawns over the past 2 decades. In fact, the majority of our landscape projects are for customers who have accepted they’ll never be able to grow grass in their shady lawn and want a shady lawn solution.

If you need help with a lawn or landscape problem we would love to earn your business. We install landscapes ranging from $2,500 up to $50,000 +, and have been helping our Gainesville, Florida neighbors create beautiful outdoor spaces since since 2004. Give call us at. Give call us at (352) 378-5296 or