Gilmer uses charts, tables, diagrams, a map of eight climate zones, and 200 color photographs to explain the fundamentals of lawn care, planting, design, and microclimates in this guide to gardening in Southern California. Hundreds of plant profiles offer facts on size, growth habits, color, sun/shade preference, blooming seasons, frost and drought tolerance, and rooting characteristics of trees, shrubs, vines, ground covers, grasses, bulbs, roses, ferns, and many other annuals and perennials. There is advice on pest control, watering systems, slope planting and erosion control, coastline gardening, and wildfire protection. There's also a month-by-month gardening guide, a list of poisonous plants, and a source list. Although the book covers only a small region of the country, it is all-inclusive for that locality.