Here’s a Quick Way to Find Your California Climate Zone

Sunset Magazine has the best and most useful climate classification system for gardeners and landscape architects. For years, landscape architects have used the Sunset Western Garden Book climate maps to help decode California’s complicated patchwork of climate zones and find plants that will thrive.

You can use Sunset’s climate maps to identify the climate characteristics of a site during the site inventory process.

Northern California

Sunset identified 14 distinct climate zones in Northern California.

Sunset Northern California Climate Map

Sunset Northern California Climate Map

San Francisco Bay Area and Inland Areas

Sunset identified seven climate zones in and around the San Francisco bay area.

Sunset San Francisco California Climate Map

San Francisco bay area and inland area climate map from Sunset.

Central California

There are many climates represented on the Central California map with both maritime and frigid mountains included in the area.

Sunset Central Valley Climate Map

Sunset Central Valley Climate Map

Southern California

Southern California has many different climate zones caused by the land’s proximity to the ocean and elevation changes.

Los Angeles Region

Western Los Angeles and Ventura County maps show many climate zones ranging from subtropical beach zones to less moderate inland climate zones.

Sunset Los Angeles Area West

Western Los Angeles climate map from Sunset.

Eastern Los Angeles and Orange County contain a wide range of climate zones. The mountain peaks are classified in the same climate zone as the Rocky Mountains while the coastal areas are generally frost-free.

Sunset Los Angeles Area East

Eastern Los Angeles and Orange County climate map from Sunset.

San Diego

Coastal San Diego

Sunset San Diego Coastal Climate Map

Sunset San Diego Coastal Climate Map

Inland San Diego is warmer and drier than more moderate coastal areas.

Inland San Diego County Climate Map

Inland San Diego County Climate Map

The Salton Sea & Low Desert are some of the hottest areas in Southern California.

Sunset Salton Sea Climate Map

Sunset Salton Sea Climate Map

The Desert

California is blessed with rugged interior deserts. Both high and low deserts are lands of extreme temperatures. Elevation and topography shape climate in the desert.

Sunset Southern California Western Desert Climate Map

Sunset Southern California Western Desert Climate Map

 For More Information

For more information on Sunset Magazine’s climate zone map system, visit Sunset’s website or buy the The New Western Garden Book: The Ultimate Gardening Guide (Sunset Western Garden Book).

The Sunset Western Garden Book has been the western landscape architect’s constant companion since the early 1900’s. Almost every landscape architect in California owns at least one copy. If you are from outside California and preparing to take the California Supplemental Exam, I highly recommend purchasing a copy. You will not be disappointed.

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About

John is a landscape architect who is currently preparing to take the California Supplemental Exam to become licensed in California. He is currently a licensed professional landscape architect in Georgia and Florida. John graduated from California State University, Pomona with a BSLA degree in landscape architecture in 1997 and has extensive practice experience in residential and commercial landscape design.

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