How to Utilize a Planting Zone Map for an Optimal Backyard Garden


Planning your garden is an exciting project, but it can also be difficult to choose between the many flora and fauna available, not to mention the various land and waterscaping features you can include.

A great way to start is using a planting zone map to get to know your climate and what plants do best in your area. Consult this guide for instructions on how to use the map to design the perfect backyard garden.

What Is a Planting Zone Map?

A planting zone map, also known as a hardiness zone map, divides regions into different zones based on the average minimum winter temperatures. Each zone is categorized by a number that corresponds to a range of temperatures (e.g., Zone 3: -40°F to -30°F), making it easier to select plants that can withstand the local weather.

By using a planting zone map, gardeners can make informed decisions about what to plant, reducing the risk of dying plants and increasing the chances of a flourishing garden.

How Do I Use a Planting Zone Map?

By analyzing the latest zone map and choosing plants that do well in your area, you’ll be able to design your dream backyard garden for your family and friends to enjoy all year. Start by visiting the hardiness zone map site and enter your zip code in the search bar at the top of the map. A box will pop up notifying you of your planting zone.

Now comes the fun part! Research and choose plants that thrive in your zone and can withstand the average low temperature associated with your zone. Keep in mind that these temperatures are historical averages, as opposed to all-time lows, so if you select plants that barely survive the winter temps, they could still struggle if you have an unusually cold winter.

Choose specific plants for specific seasons, and be sure to note the best time of year for planting each species.

Remember that zones are most applicable for perennial plants, rather than annuals. Perennials complete their life cycle over multiple seasons and must be chosen according to the hardiness zones to ensure they survive the winter. Annual plants live for only one growing season, so zone information is less necessary since they don’t need to endure the colder months.

What Plants Thrive the Most in Georgia?

Georgia falls into Zone 8 (with lows of 10°F to 20°F) due to its warm climate and longer growing season. Here are some of our favorite plants that will look beautiful in your yard and withstand all of Georgia’s seasons:

  • Hibiscus: Featuring large, vibrant flowers in shades of red, pink, yellow, and white, hibiscus adds a tropical flair to any garden. Thrives in zones 4–9.
  • Strawberry Tree: This evergreen shrub showcases dark green foliage and soft white blossoms that turn into tasty red strawberry fruit. Thrives in zones 8–11.
  • Mexican Orange Shrub: With glossy, aromatic leaves and clusters of fragrant white flowers, the Mexican orange shrub loves Georgia’s warm temperatures. Thrives in zones 7–10.
  • Japanese Pittosporum: Often used for hedging, this bush is also known for its dense, glossy leaves and sweet-smelling white blossoms. Thrives in zones 8–11.
  • Baby’s Breath: The tiny white or pinkish flowers on this plant create a cloud-like appearance, bringing a whimsical atmosphere to your yard. Thrives in zones 3–9.
  • Phlox: Phlox plants produce clusters of star-shaped flowers in a variety of colors, including pink, purple, and white, adding a blanket of colorful blooms to your garden. Thrives in zones 4–8.

Create Your Oasis with Stoeckig

Once you’ve used the planting zone map to choose the plants you’d like to incorporate in your garden, enlist a professional to help you complete the look. At Stoeckig Landscape Group, we love the balmy climate of Georgia. We want to help you build the perfect spot to enjoy it.

We offer patio, landscape, hardscape, and water garden services, and each one of our designs is as unique as you and your yard. Shoot us a message—let’s get started on your outdoor sanctuary soon.