USDA Zone Map for Los Angeles Gardeners

Designing and planning your landscape can be challenging. You want your yard to stand out from your neighbors. You want heads to turn when people pass by your house. But if you’re not familiar with plant hardiness zones or the heat zone map for Los Angeles gardners, you might be wasting your money.

Plant Hardiness

The USDA hardiness zone map is a reference for gardeners who want to know which plants will thrive in their area. This applies to perennials, trees, and shrubs as well as the grass that covers your lawn. Los Angeles County, as large as it is, has zones ranging from 7a to 11. The hardiness zone map is calculated using the average extreme winter temperatures. Plants that can survive those temperatures are labeled accordingly.

Heat Zones

A more relevant map to Los Angeles gardeners is the heat zone map developed by the American Horticultural Society. This map is based on how many “heat days” a particular area experiences each year. A “heat day” is one that reaches temperatures of 86 degrees Fahrenheit or more.

Los Angeles Heat Zones

Los Angeles isn’t just culturally diverse. Due to its geography, L.A. has numerous heat zones and some are only a few miles wide. For example, if you traveled from Santa Monica to Covina, you would pass through eight different heat zones! That’s a range from one heat day to 120 heat days.  When gardening in Los Angeles be aware of your heat zone. Lean toward drought tolerant plants to make it easier on the plant and your water bill.

Heat Damage

Heat damage can affect any plant that’s exposed to extreme temperatures for too long. The effects of heat damage may look like the plant needs water, but by then the damage is done. The plant may take a long time to die or may even be stunted for the rest of its life.

What’s The Best Grass Type For Los Angeles Lawns?

Here in L.A., we are no strangers to drought or water restrictions. Many people tend to forgo a traditional yard for a more climate-friendly yard of desert plants and rocks. However, there are some grasses out there that do well in our hot, dry climate.




Loved for its hardiness and traffic tolerance, Bermudagrass is the grass of choice for golf courses, parks, and lawns. This tough grass can withstand heat, drought, and grows well in any soil type. Bermudagrass is relatively low maintenance but it does not do well in the shade.

Native California Bent Grass

Native California Bentgrass

This long, lush grass can give any yard a natural appeal. When left long it doesn’t look unkempt but instead creates a wave-like appearance with varying shades of green. It can also be cut short and serve as turf grass.

Sanddune Sedge

Sand Dune Sedge

This grass grows in clumps and works great as a decorative grass but it can also be used for your yard if you don’t mind the uneven appearance. It can be kept short or long and is a very low maintenance grass.

For a lush, verdant lawn that doesn’t need much watering, refer to the heat zone map and hardiness zone map before designing your landscape.

Need help choosing the right plants and grass types for your yard? Visit our Los Angeles lawn care page for more information.

Brenda Ryan

Brenda Ryan

Brenda Ryan is content director for LawnStarter. She is a former radio newscaster and journalist. In her free time she enjoys traveling, gardening, visiting wineries, reading, and playing trivia games in her home state of Colorado.