Southern California Landscaping Zones: Expert Tips and Services

Whether you’ve lived in the Southland your whole life or are a recent transplant, Farmscape is here to help you learn about the semi-arid climate we call home. Despite the endless sunny days, Southern California is actually a tapestry of different ecosystems consisting of various microclimates, with different annual rainfalls, soil types and elevations. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for effective landscaping in our region. At Farmscape, we specialize in deciphering these zones to ensure your landscape design is not just beautiful but also harmoniously integrated with its natural surroundings.

Given Southern California’s semi-arid climate, embracing water-wise landscaping is more than a choice — it’s a necessity. Farmscape is committed to providing sustainable landscaping solutions, focusing on drought-resistant plant choices and innovative water conservation strategies. We begin all our backyard design projects by assessing irrigation zones and determining what we’ll be able to reuse and what we can adapt to drip irrigation. We also determine your project rainfall and see if capturing it is a possibility.

Raised bed planters
A woman picking fruit

As a next step, our sustainable landscape design helps you select native plants that will thrive in your location. California natives are largely summer-dry, requiring no warm-season rainfall. Despite irrigation constraints, our native plants are unique and beautiful. Take Dudleya, a genus of succulent plants, known for its rosette shapes and striking appearance. Dudleya species vary in size, color and shape, making them a versatile choice for sustainable landscaping projects in Southern California. Another beloved genus is manzanita, an adaptable plant group admired for its beautiful red bark and delicate flowers. These plants are drought-tolerant and offer habitat for wildlife, intersecting with our garden design ethos. In order to choose the right plants for your backyard landscaping, our design team will work with you to incorporate your aesthetic choices. Our approach combines practicality with aesthetic appeal, embodying the essence of eco-friendly landscaping.

SoCal landscaping demands an understanding of our seasonal variations.At Farmscape, we specialize in sustainable landscape management tailored specifically to this region, ensuring your garden stays vibrant and flourishing throughout the year. In spring, our landscaping service team transitions raised beds from cool- to warm-season crops, fertilizes citrus and avocado trees, and tends to perennials following the light winter rains. Summer in Southern California is a time for bountiful vegetable and fruit harvests, including tomatoes and stone fruits, along with perennial pruning to manage growth.

As fall approaches, we replace summer crops with varieties that thrive in milder temperatures, like leafy greens and root vegetables. This season is also ideal for harvesting late-summer produce, such as pumpkins and persimmons, and for pruning shrubs and flowers. Winter in Southern California is mild and rainy, offering a chance to enjoy cool-season crops like salad greens and oranges. It’s also the perfect time for pruning deciduous fruit trees and preparing the garden for the upcoming spring.

Effectively managing the diverse gifts of the Southern California climate requires the expertise of a professional landscaping company like Farmscape, as we’re equipped to handle all these different aspects of your landscape throughout the year.

A blanket beneath a fruit tree
Raised beds in a shed

When reviewing Southern California landscaping companies, it’s important to work with one that understands your unique microclimate and zone — part of a climate classification system developed by Sunset magazine to help navigate our various regions. Here are some key Sunset zones found in Southern California:

  • Sunset zone 18 (Southern California’s interior valleys): This zone includes parts of the inland valleys like San Bernardino, Riverside and the San Fernando Valley. It’s characterized by hot summers and mild but cooler winters compared to the coastal areas.
  • Sunset zone 19 (Thermal belts of Southern California’s coastal climate): This zone covers the narrow thermal belts along Southern California’s ocean-side foothills. It’s characterized by cooler summers and mild winters, with ocean influence reducing both the heat and cold extremes.
  • Sunset zone 20 (Mountain foothills): This zone includes areas such as the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and experiences greater temperature variations than the coastal zones, with hot summers and cold winters.
  • Sunset zone 21 (Coastal areas): This zone encompasses parts of coastal Southern California, like coastal San Diego and parts of Los Angeles — where the ocean moderates the climate, leading to mild temperatures year-round.
  • Sunset zone 23 (Thermal belts of coastal Southern California): This is a  zone of thermal belts where the ocean’s influence is more pronounced, leading to moderate temperatures most of the year. It covers some coastal areas that are slightly inland and protected from the ocean.
  • Sunset zone 24 (Marine influence along the Southern Coast): This zone includes areas close to the beaches in Southern California. It experiences the most maritime influence, with mild temperatures and high humidity. 

It’s important to note that these zones can be quite localized and specific, and there might be microclimate variations even within a single zone. Understanding your specific Sunset zone can greatly assist in choosing plants that are well-suited to your garden’s climatic conditions.

Navigating the local regulations and permits for green landscaping in Southern California can be complex. Farmscape’s landscape design team provides expert guidance on these regulatory requirements, ensuring your garden project complies with local standards. We simplify the process, allowing you to focus on the beauty of your landscape.

We invite you to explore our portfolio of successful garden landscaping projects across various Southern California landscaping zones. These sites highlight how Farmscape skillfully addresses unique regional challenges, integrating modern landscape design with environmental sustainability. In the “location details” section for each project, you’ll find insights into the distinct landscape zones where we work.  These showcases highlight Farmscape’s innovative approach to Southern California landscaping: blending sustainable landscape design with urban farming. Each project reflects our deep understanding of the region’s varied climates, from coastal breezes to inland heat, and our commitment to creating harmonious, sustainable outdoor spaces:

When considering Southern California landscaping services, we hope you’ll reach out to Farmscape for a personalized landscape consultation. Whether you have a question about front yard landscaping, or how to tailor your landscape to a specific zone, we’re here to help! You can trust Farmscape, a local favorite, to transform your outdoor spaces into stunning, sustainable and regionally harmonious landscapes.