Grass vs. Groundcover—Which Does Your Landscape Need?

Does Your Commercial Landscape Need Grass or Groundcover?

From the elusive fairway at your favorite golf course to the stretch of perfectly manicured lawns in every suburb, the beautiful green allure of well-kempt grass is not hard to find in Florida. The year-round greenery is one of the state’s most endearing features, after all!

When developing the landscape for your commercial property, you may be tempted to embrace the emerald hues of lush Florida grass. However, there are more factors to consider.

For example, microclimates, or the climate specific to your property or even a portion of it, can drastically affect the way grass grows. In some microclimates, it will thrive, while in others, it may struggle to ever flourish.

Rather than pouring time, money, and effort into your commercial property only to have the landscape fall short of your expectations, take a close look at what will perform best in your specific location. It may be grass, but it may be another type of groundcover entirely!

Where the Sun Shines…

…the grass grows! That’s right, choosing the right option for sunny areas should be pretty easy! Most Florida grasses thrive in direct sunlight, and as you know, there is ample sunshine in Florida!

In fact, for most grasses, the more sunlight exposure, the better. Bermudagrass is a perfect example of this. It actually needs full sun for the majority of the day to flourish. Other grasses are a bit less temperamental, but it’s always a good idea to use grass in areas that are exposed as possible.

There are other factors that affect the health of your grass, so be sure to consult with an expert and choose the right variety for your particular property!

Made in the Shade

As sunny as Florida is, your commercial property is bound to have areas that are shaded. Whether it’s by buildings, trees, or other features, these shaded spots are not as conducive to grass growth as those that experience full sun.

In cases such as these, groundcover is typically the better option. Check out our more specific recommendations below!

Between Buildings

One of the primary sources of shade in Florida is man-made. Buildings, no matter how tall or how small, can disrupt the sun’s natural path and negatively influence the growth of your grass. This is due to two main factors—the slower growth of the grass itself and the speedy invasion of weeds.

Once weeds fill in the patches abandoned by your shaded grass, they will be nearly impossible to control, let alone eradicate. As such, it’s better to avoid the issue altogether by opting for groundcover. In other words, work with nature, not against it!

For areas that experience shade for large portions of the day, we recommend groundcover that excels in the shade, such as ferns!

Beneath Tree Cover

The unsung heroes of many Florida landscapes are the trees. From ancient oaks dripping with Spanish moss to lanky palm trees wooing you into vacation mode, the variety present in the sunshine state is astounding. It also creates a landscaping challenge, as the shaded areas created by the different trees require different solutions.

Sometimes, the area beneath a tree might be better off being mulched than being planted. Enough sunlight to grow grass simply cannot penetrate the canopy created by some trees with dense foliage. Additionally, opting to plant groundcover beneath these trees could lead to a competition for nutrients, causing both to suffer.

Mulch is also an inexpensive and easy-to-maintain landscaping solution that looks great. If you’re searching for a stylish landscape feature that also solves a difficult problem, we strongly recommend considering it!

The Geography Game

Tall objects aren’t the only contributors to shaded areas on your property. Even in sun-soaked states like Florida, the orientation of your property can have a tremendous impact on the amount of shade it experiences.

If your property faces north, you may experience less sunshine saturation than if it faces south, for example. Consulting with an area expert is the best way to evaluate how your property’s directional orientation will affect its access to sunshine, and thus, how you should plan its landscape!


If you have a commercial property that needs landscaping, turn to Landcrafters. As a premier industry expert for over 20 years, Landcrafters excels at making landscaping dreams come true, no matter how specific or challenging they may be.

From helping your property pop to ensuring your lawn looks pristine, we’re ready to put our experience, expertise, and professionalism to work for you. Contact us today via phone at (727)-201-3547 or our website. We’re excited to discuss your unique vision with you and help your commercial property shine.

In the meantime, help yourself to our wealth of landscaping knowledge that we share for free each week on our blog!