To design for your region, you must understand the proper landscaping techniques necessary given the availability of water, sunlight, and temperature. The most essential element of landscaping is choosing the plants that will survive year after year. If you don't know what will thrive, you will end up with dead plants and the feeling that you've wasted time and money.
Your climate includes factors such as precipitation, sun, wind, and temperature. Consider how your plants will fare throughout the changing seasons. A hibiscus that thrives year-round in the Southeast will only thrive in spring and summer in, say, the Midwest.
To understand the differences between hardiness zones, refer to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map. Zone differences will determine whether your plants will just get by or really bloom.