Few things are more appealing than a broad expanse of manicured green lawn. Turfgrass serves, not only as a carpet of green that carries the eye to different layers of the landscape design and as a buffer between streets, parking areas and hardscape, but also as an element of a more artistic garden. For a commercial landscape, turfgrass offers a welcoming sense of arrival, and it serves as a distinctive transition for visitors. It adds color, form and personality, drama, and beauty to any development. Green grass and blooming flowers soften the form of hard-edge architecture and help create welcoming spaces.
Benefits of Greening the Landscape
Turf is beneficial in other ways as well. It thrives in moist, tropical climates, helps aerate the soil, improves drainage, helps control water runoff, minimizes flooding, and can even reduce the ambient temperature. Even though it may not be the focal point of the landscape, turfgrass is a “grounding” element in most landscapes. In general, when used as part of a lush, living landscape, turfgrass helps nurture other plants and trees, birds, bees and small critters. In addition, it’s just plain nice to look at!
Many varieties of turf are available, and each has some unique characteristics and care requirements. Not all turfgrass is equally suited for every type of installation. The type of grass that’s best for your Orlando hotel or office building may be very different from the turf that’s ideal for a golf course development in Tampa. Grass for a children’s play area almost certainly requires a degree of hardiness that’s very different from the type of natural-looking grass you want to install adjacent to a small pond on your property.
Popular Varieties of Turfgrass in Florida
The landscape design professionals at ASI Landscape Management have both the knowledge and experience to help you make the best turfgrass selection for your unique installation. To some extent, Florida weather conditions limit the types of grass that thrive in the varied microclimates of this diverse state. In addition, Florida’s conditions affect which grasses grow where with the least amount of care and coddling. There are, however, several types of turfgrass that have earned a reputation as solid choices for most applications.
In some ways, St. Augustine turf is synonymous with Florida landscapes. A hardy, coarse, medium-green grass, St. Augustine sends out runners that contribute to its thick, textured appearance. St. Augustine sod is robust and fast-growing, and it adapts quickly to a new environment. It typically requires little maintenance to become established, and it thrives in heat and full sun, making it a favorite for commercial landscapes.
St. Augustine does, however, require a fair amount of water, and it prefers deep watering to establish a healthy root system. A resilient turf, it can withstand moderate drought conditions, and it’s resistant to disease, weeds and pests with only moderate care and fertilizer. This is a turf that looks full and healthy, and it should be maintained at a height of 3 to 4 inches for a dramatic appearance.
At the other end of the spectrum, Zoysia has a fine-to-medium texture that withstands heavy use and forms a dense, low-maintenance carpet of lawn with little care required. It tolerates heat exceptionally well, and its water requirements are low to medium. Most weeds have difficulty growing through the dense lawn. This grass should be maintained at a height between 1 to 3 inches.
Zoysia is ideal for golf courses, is attractive from a distance as well as up-close, and it’s not only drought-tolerant, but it also likes full sun or partial shade equally as well. It requires little maintenance, and it will simply go dormant if hit by the rare cold front. Zoysia will recover and resume its normal growth cycle when the temperature returns to normal.
Another “go-to” turfgrass for Floridians, especially for commercial use, Bermuda is prized not only for its deep green color and lush appearance but also for its deep root system and dense growth. It’s used on golf courses and for children’s playgrounds and even for dog parks. It’s nice to walk on, beautiful to look at, and extremely heat-tolerant, although it doesn’t like cold and typically goes dormant during the winter at temperatures around 55 degrees.
Bermuda withstands heavy foot traffic and recovers quickly from wear. It does not tolerate shade, however, and requires full sun for most of the day to grow properly and look its best. It also requires regular watering; an automatic irrigation system is ideal.
A variety known as Pensacola Bahiagrass is almost too good to be true for many Florida locations. Not only is it a beautiful color and texture, but it also’s naturally stress-resistant, requires minimal irrigation, thrives in heat, tolerates drought, and even enjoys the cooler seasons that occur in some parts of the state.
One thing that may make Bahia less than the perfect choice is that it’s a relatively high-maintenance grass, requiring weekly mowing and a watchful eye on the weeds that tend to crop up uninvited. It often prefers dryer conditions than exist in some parts of the state.
Consider the Total Landscape Plan When Considering Turfgrass Selection
As mentioned previously, the grass selection for your commercial landscape should harmonize with the other features of the plan. Designing an impressive landscape is a task best left to a professional team who will integrate grass with other plantings, weave form and color into an impressive and artistic presentation, and create a mature landscape that will complement the architecture, the activities, and the aesthetics of the site.
Our award-winning designers and horticulture team have the requisite knowledge and expertise to assist you no matter what your specific requirements might be. We are confident in our ability to create outdoor landscapes that bring your vision to life. We have offices in both Tampa and Orlando, and we work with clients throughout Florida. How can ASI Landscape Management help you? We’ll not only assist with your turfgrass selections, but we’ll handle the installation and ongoing maintenance as well. Contact us now to schedule a consultation.