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Consider your climate. Make sure the plants you choose suit your climate. This map below helps determine your growing zone.

Creating an attractive garden involves more than coordinating colors and selecting a mix of eye-pleasing varieties. Aesthetics won't mean much if your climate's extremes wilt, freeze, or decay your tender perennials.

Climate maps, such as the one to the right, show low temperature extremes by Zone, and plant them at the right time for optimum success.

Use climate maps only as general guides, however dozens of microclimates exist within a 1-mile radius of your home. Even within your yard, variations in expose and topography will affect your plants.

Examples of conditions to consider include:

Exposure - Southern and western exposures are the sunniest and warmest spots in your yard. Match each plant's needs to its proper exposure.

Wind - Gusting winds can dry out and soil endanger delicate plants.

Elevation - Cold air sweeps down hills and forms frost pockets. Put plants that prefer warmth on the tops or sides of hills.

Structures - Place plants near architectural structures suc