Garden Planning Guide with Printables

This post was originally published on 2/7/18. It has been updated 2/2/24.

In most of the country, winter is a “downtime” in the garden. During those months, you have time to consider what you want to add or change in your garden. I always start with a piece of paper and a rough drawing of my yard.  It’s never to scale but it helps me plan what projects I’m doing this year.  Are you adding new flowers? Growing vegetables or making a raised bed?  Removing a bush that was a mistake? Adding to the shrubs or trees that form your basic landscape? Winter is the time to dream and plan.

I made a basic grid that you can use to draw and plan.  You can figure each grid to be a certain size and draw circles where you are adding plants or putting in a new bed.  Number your additions and fill in the name of plants on the second page of the Plan or Project Sheet. All printables sized for 8.5″ x 11″.

Garden Plan Worksheet Page 1

Garden Plan Worksheet Page 2

For seasonal planning, here is planting by season.

Seasonal Planting Planner

Here is a printable for listing garden chores by month.

Monthly Garden Chore List

With these tools, planning will be easier.  Below find your region and local area. Click and find a list of tasks for your garden to make a monthly schedule for your garden.

USDA Plant Hardiness Zones

Here in Florida, I’ve already made my plans and have begun to implement them.  It’s best to do big projects during our mild winter rather than in the heat of the Florida summer.  Each of us lives in certain growing zones. The amount of light, food, and water an organic garden receives is only part of what determines whether the plants in the garden will thrive. Climate also plays a big role. The United States is a large country with many different regions and different climates. The 2023 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones. You can even download a map for your area.

Click on the image above to go to the interactive map.

Users may also simply type in a ZIP Code and find the hardiness zone for that area.  You can also click on your state and are immediately take to the state map showing the growing zones.

For example,  I clicked on Florida and got the map zeroed in on the state showing zones from 11 b in the Florida Keys up to zone 8 a next to the Georgia border.  There is a wide range of growing environments in this one state, but there are other states with even more drastic changes.  It’s crucial to know your growing zones and what plants are adapted to your area’s climate.

Better Homes & Garden has interesting information on growing zones and you can even download a larger climate zone map by state that shows more detail of the gardening zones in your state.

In many areas, you can begin with seeds inside before the end of frost.  Check out the links for your area and then begin planning.

Outside The U.S.

Gardenia has information on the growing zones in Canada, Australia, and Europe with specific information for France and the United Kingdom .


Gardening by Region, USA


Resources for all states and regions include:

The National Gardening Association is a great free resource. You can join for free and look up your hardiness zone and planting calendar . Seed swaps are held several times a year also.

Urban Organic Gardener has a calendar by zone and month for growing your own food.

University Extensions: Gardening calendars provide you with a list of all the important tasks, maintenance and projects that should be done in your garden during each given month. Gardening tasks are the same, no matter where you live.  These are reminders and may not always be appropriate for your climate. Adjust the months and plan your seasonal gardening activities well in advance to keep your plants and flowers looking their very best.

Now let’s consider your needs in gardening by the region of the country.  Within each region are climate variations due to microclimates. If the information isn’t pertinent to your specific area, click links and explore your specific climate.  If you live in the western U.S., many factors beside winter lows, such as elevation and precipitation, determine western growing climates. Weather comes in from the Pacific Ocean and gradually becomes less marine (humid) and more continental (drier) as it moves over and around mountain range after mountain range. While cities in similar zones in the East can have similar climates and grow similar plants, in the West it varies greatly. Therefore, the west is broken down into smaller regions.

I. Northeastern Region

We’ll start with the Northeastern Region which includes New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont) and New York. Hardiness zones for the region range from zone 8a, with a minimum temperature of 10 degrees Fahrenheit to zone 3b, with a minimum temperature of -35 degrees Fahrenheit. Typically, the gardening season kicks off in late March and early April in the Northeast. Gardeners can start to plant tender annuals, which can’t withstand frost, around the end of May. The area can experience unexpected cold snaps at the beginning of the gardening season. Some gardeners will use a cold frame to get a head start on gardening and to protect plants from a random frost late in the season.


II. Mid-Atlantic Region

Early springs and late winters mean a long Mid-Atlantic gardening season. The Mid-Atlantic gardening region includes Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and District of Columbia.  Mother Earth News articles include a calendar for the area. Gardenia has a great post on perennials for the region. Houzz has a forum for Mid-Atlantic gardeners.


III. Southeastern Region

The diverse Southeast geography gives gardeners a mixed palette of plants. The Southeast gardening region includes Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. From the semi-tropics of the Florida Keys and south Florida, up into the Appalachian Mountains, the Southeast covers a diverse range of zones and plant needs. Southern Living has a great vegetable garden monthly growing guide for the Southeast. Garden Design has great information for the southeast landscape. articles for the Southeast.

A separate source of information for the Gulf Coast Gardening    The Gulf coast includes all of Florida, and coastal areas of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Check it out if you live near the southern coast.


III. Midwest Region

From spring through fall, Midwest gardens are flower and foliage packed. The Midwest gardening region includes Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. This fertile area contains some of the best soil in the country and is known for its great farming. Region goes from cold and snow in the winter, a short spring, a hot, humid summer, and a cool fall. See Gardenia’s seasonal plant ideas for the area to develop your own beautiful garden. Midwest Gardening has articles on growing in the region by season.  Midwest Living magazine has great information for gardening in the region with a calendar.


IV. South Central

Mild winters encourage perennials and shrubs to flourish in the South Central region. The South Central gardening region includes Oklahoma and much of Texas. Gardening Know How  has top plants for South Central gardens.


V. The Mountain Region

The challenges are many: Short growing seasons. Drought. Cool nights. Hail. Deer. Voles. Gophers and ground squirrels. Poor soil. Wind. With the right information, you can grow a diverse, colorful and gorgeous garden in the Mountain region. The Mountain gardening region includes Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah. It is also pertinent to Alaska and elevated portions of Nevada and New Mexico.  Mother Earth News has an informative article, High-Altitude Gardening in the Rocky Mountains.  Better Homes & Garden has fascinating articles in the section: Gardening in the Mountain West.


VI. Southwest

The Southwest gardener has challenges but the rewards are great. Structural and textural plants define the beauty of Desert gardens. The Desert gardening region of the Southwest includes portions of Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas. See Better Homes and Gardens articles on developing an easy to maintain Southwest garden. Gardening in the Desert has articles on seasonal desert gardening.


VII. Northwest Region

Welcome to the fertile, often rainy northwest. This region is one of the most fruitful places to garden. The Northwest gardening region includes Washington, Oregon and Northern California.  Deep Harvest Farm has a Pacific NW Planting Guide . Mother Earth News has information on organic gardening in the area. See Northwest Edible Life for help growing food in the area.


Fernleaf, Fern Leaved Milfoil, High Yarrow, High Sheaf

VIII. Southern California

Mild climate makes gardening in Southern California is a dream. The Southern California gardening region includes all of Southern California.


IX. Alaska

I was amazed to read about “warming the soil” to plant seeds. Blows my mind. Gardening in Alaska can be a challenge for those new to planting and harvesting during a really short growing season. Alaska is really like no other state in the union:


North Pole, Alaska, Village, Log Cabin, Rustic

X. Hawaii

Hawaii is paradise with gorgeous tropical weather and problems that don’t fit the average U.S. garden. Learn all about it:


Using the above regional information, you can finish your garden plan.  With all 3 printables at the top, you can imagine and plan the work in your garden from winter through the fall.  Pin this post for later reference.

I hope you’re inspired. Thanks for visiting.

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I was raised in Tennessee but have lived in Florida for many years. Love my small home in the Tampa Bay area and its developing garden. My decorating style is eclectic - some vintage, some cottage, all with a modern flair. Pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Spent many years in social services but am happily retired.

10 thoughts to “Garden Planning Guide with Printables”

  1. Great tools. Most of our flowers are perennials. Our asparagus comes faithfully back every spring along with a few herbs. The last few summers have been crazy with family commitments so we haven’t done as much gardening as we might otherwise have done.

  2. I have a love for gardening and can hardly wait to get out there and dig in that dirt! 🙂 Thanks for sharing this great info and planning guides with SYC.

  3. Wow – so much information – and yes, the downtime is good – we’ve some more enforced downtime here in the UK at the moment with snow. Some more planning will be done! Thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo

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