When beginning a gardening project, it is important to consider the climate zone in which your home resides. The United States National Arboretum is a great resource for garden planning according to climate; visit www.usna.gov for more information.
Included are helpful hints for plants that will thrive in your specific climate as well as how to read those tricky nursery labels. Keep in mind that no matter where your garden is located, you can control the atmosphere if necessary by adding artificial heat or light.
In colder climates it is important to start your plants off indoors a few weeks prior to the final frost of the season. Then transplant them outdoors into your garden after the weather has warmed. Certain plants thrive in colder climates, so check with a nursery specialist or read the tag on the plant; often this is the easiest way to gather information about a particular species.
For atmospheres that receive a consistent amount of sunlight year-round, focus on planting greenery that thrives in heat and sun, unless you are able to alter your environment through the use of a greenhouse or indoor planting.