Welcome to the Garden Planner Help Center

At Suttons we care about providing you with the best support possible. Below you will find our most frequently asked questions as well as advice to help you quickly get started with the Garden Planner.

You are very welcome to send us an email via our contact form if you can't find an answer to your question below. We aim to respond within 24 hours.

(Click on a question below to view the answer)

Before I Subscribe

Will the Garden Planner work for my location?

We currently have weather station data for the following countries:

  • USA
  • Canada
  • UK
  • Ireland
  • Australia *
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa *
  • France
  • Germany
  • Spain
  • Portugal
  • Netherlands
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Switzerland

* Australia and South Africa use a bespoke postcode-based system due to the huge variety of climates.

Other locations may be added in the future.

If your country is not in the above list, you will need to manually set your expected last and first frost dates. Setting your frost dates is necessary in order for the system to calculate recommended planting times and planting reminders for your area which are used on the Plant List and planting reminder emails.

If you do not experience frost in your area, you can select the My area does not experience frost box.

If your climate is too hot to grow certain plants during the summer, select the Split growing season into two box. This splits the season into separate spring and fall plantings for 'cool-season' plants that need it because they do not grow well through hot summers (lettuce for example). This option will be automatically checked if you have a long growing season, although you can override the setting.

planting times Weather data and frost dates

Will the Garden Planner work on my computer?

To be able to run the Garden Planner you will need:

  • PC running Windows XP or above, Mac OS X 10.4 or above or Linux (e.g. Ubuntu 7.10 or later)
  • One of the following browsers: Google Chrome, Internet Explorer 6 or above, Firefox 2 or above, Safari 3 or above, Opera 7.11 or above, Microsoft Edge
  • Adobe Flash Player version 9.0.124 or above
  • At least 512 MB of RAM (more will be required for larger plans)

Will the Garden Planner work on my tablet/phone?

At present, the Garden Planner runs on Adobe Flash Player and therefore must be used on a desktop or laptop computer, as Flash Player is not supported on mobile devices.

We have a planner specifically for iPad and iPhone, called Garden Plan Pro. It is based on and can be synced with the Garden Planner. For more information, please visit www.GardenPlanPro.com.

We don't currently have an Android version, but it is something we hope to develop in the near future.

For now, you can use the online Garden Planner on a PC and then use the Publish Plan to Web feature which creates a copy of your plan and Plant List on our servers. This can be viewed from any internet-connected mobile device, although it can't be changed from there. The second half of the video 'Printing and Sharing Your Plan' on the login page of the Garden Planner demonstrates this.

How much does the Garden Planner cost?

A one year subscription costs $29 / £19 / €27 / AU$39
A two year subscription costs $45 / £29 / €39 / AU$59

Can I buy a subscription as a gift?

Garden Planner gift certificates are the perfect gift for any gardener with a kitchen garden. Each gift certificate gives a one or two year subscription to our online Garden Planner. A gift certificate is a year-round benefit to any gardener. Not only does it make planning a garden simple and enjoyable but it reminds you what to plant and sow throughout the year.

What's more, we guarantee that the Garden Planner will work for the recipient of the gift certificate, offering full email support and excellent customer service. Order a Garden Planner gift certificate here.

Activating & Accessing My Account

I can't log in

To login, please visit http://gardenplanner.suttons.co.uk and click on Start Garden Planner.
Enter your email address and password in the Log In boxes.
Check Remember if you want the Garden Planner to store your email and password as a cookie on your computer. Never store your password on a publicly accessible computer, such as in a school or library.

Login to the Garden Planner

If your free trial or subscription has expired, you will be prompted to visit our secure subscription page to add a subscription to your account.

If you still can't login you might need to clear your temporary Internet files in the following way, depending on which browser you're using:

  • Google Chrome: Click the Chrome Menu button > Click Clear Browsing Data, then make sure that 'Browsing history' is selected and click the 'Clear browsing data' button.
  • Edge: Click Hub > History, then click 'Clear all history'. Select which types of data or files you want to remove from your PC, then click Clear.
  • Internet Explorer 9 and above: Click the Gear icon at the top right, select Internet Options > click the Delete button (under Browsing History), then make sure that 'Temporary Internet Files' are selected and click Delete. It's also worth checking that Active X filtering is off - click the Gear icon at the top right, select the Safety menu and check that Active X filtering is not selected.
  • Internet Explorer 8 and earlier: Click Tools > Internet Options > click the Delete button (under Browsing History), then ensure that 'Temporary Internet Files' are selected and click Delete.
  • Firefox: Click History > Clear Recent History, select 'Everything' for the time range to clear, then make sure that 'Cache' is checked in the details section and click Clear Now.
  • Safari: Use the keyboard shortcut Command-Option-E (Mac) or Ctrl-Alt-E (PC), then click the Empty button.

Then restart your browser and try logging in to the Garden Planner again.

If you're still unable to login, please send us an email via our contact form for further assistance.

I can't remember my password

If you forget your password, click on Forgotten Password? below the Log In boxes to have a temporary password sent to you by email. You should only use this option if you are happy that your email account is secure and private.

If you no longer have access to the email you used to set up your Garden Planner account, please send us an email via our contact form for further assistance.

Forgotten password reminder

I haven't received an activation code

If you did not receive your activation code, you can enter your email address and password in the Log In box and click the Resend Activation Email option.

Occasionally internet providers will incorrectly block the activation email. You can use the Resend Activation Email option to provide a different email address. Please contact us if these options are unsuccessful, including both the email address you created your account with and an alternative email address if you have one.

Activation code reminder

Changing My Account Settings

How do I change my e-mail address?

Click on Account Settings under the Your Account heading on the Garden Planner start page. To change your email address, enter and retype it in the boxes provided. Click Save when you are finished making your changes.

When you click Save you will be sent a new activation code, which you will be prompted for the next time you login to verify that the email address is a valid one.

Account settings - email

How do I change my location?

You can change your location by clicking on Set Location & Frost Dates under the Your Account heading on the Garden Planner start page.

Click on Back to Set Location, then enter your postal/zip code or address and click Find My Garden. The Garden Planner will locate your garden on the map. You can repeat this with additional address details if it does not find an accurate enough location the first time.

If necessary, drag the map pin to make your location more accurate.
Click on Set Location below the map, then click Save and Close to save your changes.
The Garden Planner will look up your nearest weather station from our database of over 5,000 weather stations. The system will set your frost dates to match averages for your nearest weather station, and these dates will be used to calculate the recommended planting and harvesting times for all the plants in our database so that they are correct for your location.

You must have the correct country set for your account for this to work. You can change your country by clicking on Account Settings under the Your Account heading on the Garden Planner start page. Click the arrow next to the Country dropdown list, and select your country. Click Save when you are finished making your changes.

Set Location

How do I change my password?

Click on Account Settings under the Your Account heading on the Garden Planner start page.
To change your password, enter and retype it in the boxes provided.
Click Save when you are finished making your changes.

How to change your password

Using the Garden Planner

How do I use the Garden Planner?

These short tutorial videos will help you to quickly learn to use the Garden Planner.
(Click on the video's title to view it)

  • Using the Garden Planner - An overview of the Garden Planner and its features
  • Drawing Your Garden Plan - How to create your plan layout, including shapes, lines, text, and color
  • Adding Plants and Varieties - How to add plants singly or in rows and blocks to your plan, and create customized varieties
  • Planting Reminders and Frost Dates - How to set your location and frost dates so that your Plant List and email planting reminders will recommend the correct sowing, planting, and harvesting times for your area
  • Next Year's Plan and Crop Rotation - How to create a follow-on plan based on last year's garden layout and how to use the crop rotation warnings
  • Succession Planting - How to set up your plan so that you can grow more than one plant in the same area at different times during the growing season
  • Square Foot Gardening - How to use SFG mode if you are growing in raised beds following the Square Foot Gardening method
  • Printing and Sharing Your Plan - The best ways to print out plans of different sizes, and how you can share your plan via email or on social media by uploading your plan to its very own webpage
  • New Features and Garden Objects - How to add Garden Objects such as sheds, paths and drip irrigation to your plan, explains how to use Layers to help create and edit your plan, and shows how to use season extending structures such as greenhouses and cold frames

NOTE: Tutorial videos may not play smoothly on dial-up and other slow internet connections.

Our comprehensive User Guide will help you get the most out of the Garden Planner. Read the Garden Planner User Guide

How to use the Garden Planner

How do I change the size of my plan?

You can change the size of an existing plan by clicking on the Plan Size & Grid button (the ruler icon) in your plan's toolbar and typing your new dimensions in the boxes provided.

The extra space will be added to/removed from the right hand side and bottom of your plan, so if you need to move all plants and objects to the correct location in your resized plan you can move them all at once by selecting "Move All Objects on Plan". Type in the distance you wish to move all items on your plan horizontally left or right, or vertically up or down.

Change the size of your plan

How do I add a plant or variety not shown on your list?

You can add your own variety in the following way:

  1. Add the plant to your plan where you want it to be and double-click on it
  2. Click on the + button next to the variety list
  3. Click New Variety and name the plant. You can also specify particular sowing, planting and harvesting dates or spacing in this box
  4. Click Save, then click Done, and Done. Your plant icon will now be named and will be listed separately on the Plant List.

You can also customize any plant icon to represent an unlisted plant using the directions below:

  1. Choose a plant icon which is close to the one you want to add, or use one of the generic plant icons (eg Herb, Tree, Flower, Other) and add it to your plan
  2. Double-click it and then click the + button next to the variety list
  3. Click New Variety and name the plant. You can also specify particular sowing, planting and harvesting dates or spacing in this box
  4. Click Save, then click Done, and Done. Your plant icon will now be named and will be listed separately on the Plant List

This is demonstrated in the second half of the Adding Plants and Varieties video on Garden Planner's login screen.

Add a new plant variety

Can I change the sow/plant/harvest dates the Garden Planner has suggested?

You can edit the sowing/planting/harvest times suggested by the Garden Planner in the following way:

  • Add the plant to your plan and double-click on it
  • Click on the + button and then choose your variety (or click New Variety if not listed, and then give your plant a name and proceed to step 4)
  • Click Edit
  • Check the 'Use Custom Sow/Plant/Harvest Times' box and click on the months that are appropriate for you growing this plant
  • Click Save, then click Done, and Done

Change the planting and harvesting dates for a plant

Can I change the plant spacings that the Garden Planner has suggested?

You can edit the spacing between plants on your plan in the following way:

  • Add a row of plants to your plan and double-click on it
  • Click on the + button and then select your variety or add a new variety (or click New Variety if not listed, and then give your plant a name and proceed to step 4)
  • Click Edit
  • Check the 'Use Custom Plant Spacings' box and edit the values for the 'Spacing between plants in rows' and 'Spacing between rows' fields, or 'Spacing between plants' if you're planting in blocks (or, if you're using the SFG method, edit the number of plants per square foot)
  • Click Save, then click Done, and Done.

Change the spacing between plants and rows of plants

How do I copy my plan for next year's garden?

The Garden Planner can copy your garden layout and link the plans for crop rotation. The new plan will have the same name, but a new year listed.

Please follow the steps below to create a follow-on plan based on your previous year's plan:

  • First open the previous year's plan and then click on New Plan in your plan's toolbar
  • Select the Follow-on Plan option and choose which elements you want to copy across (layout, text, irrigation, structures, and either perennial or all plants)
  • Click on OK and your next year's plan will be created, and you will benefit from crop rotation warnings when you add plants to your plan.

This is demonstrated in the Next Year's Plan & Crop Rotation video at the bottom left of the Garden Planner start page, and on page 58 of the user guide.

Please note that you will need to have a current subscription in order to create a follow-on plan, since the free trial is limited to one plan.

Copy plan to next year

How do I make a plan for my fall garden?

You can create a fall plan based on your spring plan in the following way:

  • First open your current plan and then click on the New Plan icon in your plan's toolbar
  • Select the Follow-on Plan option and choose which elements you want to copy across (layout, text, irrigation, structures, and either perennial or all plants)
  • Add 'Fall' to the end of the plan name for your reference
  • Change the year in the drop-down box (it will have automatically moved on to the next year)
  • Click OK and your new plan will be created.

Now when you add a plant, a red warning area will show wherever plants from the same crop family were grown previously.

If you do not wish to see crop rotation warnings for your fall plan, click on the Settings cog in your fall plan's toolbar, de-select the 'Show crop rotation warnings when adding plants' option, and click OK.

Create a fall garden plan

How do I plan succession planting with the Garden Planner?

To set up succession planting for a selected plant, double-click on the plant on your plan to pull up its Label and Variety box.

Choose the Only in the Ground option under the Dates Actually in the Ground heading. Select the months during which the plant will be grown by selecting from the dropdown lists. Click Done when you are finished.

If you enter dates for succession planting that are over winter (for example, September to May for a garden in the Northern Hemisphere), they will be copied across to next year's plan when you use the follow-on plan option.

When copied to the new plan, they will be marked as being in the ground from the start of the new year (for example, from January through May).

When you set in-ground dates for a plant, your Plant List will show darker lines for the months when your plant is actually growing in the ground.

How to plan succession crops

Why are some parts of the planting time lines dimmed?

When you set in-ground dates for a plant, your Plant List will show darker lines for the months when your plant is actually growing in the ground. The dimmed parts of the lines indicate the general recommended sowing, planting and harvesting times if they extend beyond the in-ground dates.

Why aren't there any planting or harvesting dates for some of my plants?

If there are no planting dates for a certain plant, it means that the Garden Planner has calculated that your growing season is not long enough to grow that plant. However you may still be able to grow it successfully using protection such as a greenhouse or cold frame. You can add a season-extending structure over the plants on your plan to see if this helps.

To locate the season extender icons, click on the selection bar drop-down menu just above the plant selection bar (set to All Plants by default) and click on Garden Objects. The plants in the selection bar will then be replaced by garden structures, paving and other non-plant items. Use the right hand arrow to move through these objects to find the season extending structure you need. Add it to your plan, placing it on top of your plants and making sure that all four corner 'handles' of each plant sits within the structure. Your growing season will then be automatically extended for these plants, and they will be listed separately in the Plant List.

All dates are recommendations based on weather station data for your area. You should also consult seed packets or local gardening advice to ensure that you are aware of the best times to plant for your local conditions.

My crop rotation warnings aren't showing

For crop rotation warnings to be displayed, you need to create a follow-on plan based on your previous year's plans:

  • First open the previous year's plan and then click on New Plan in your plan's toolbar (not the New Plan button on the Garden Planner main dashboard)
  • Select the Follow-on Plan option and choose which elements you want to copy across (layout, text, irrigation, structures, and either perennial or all plants)
  • Click on OK and your next year's plan will be created, and you will benefit from crop rotation warnings when you add plants to your plan.

If you have created a follow-on plan and crop rotations are not showing as you expect, Please contact us with the name and year of the plans concerned.

How to create a plan with crop rotation warnings

When I move an object on my plan it leaves a 'shadow' behind on the colored background

The 'shadow' problem is related to having used the Background Fill tool. The Fill adds color to the background around objects, so if you add a Background Fill, then move a shape or object, you'll see the color of the background before that object was added. In general it's best to use the Background Fill tool very sparingly, and preferably only after everything else is in place.

To remove Background Fills, click on the Settings cog in your plan's toolbar and then click on Clear Background under 'Actions for this plan'.

How to clear background fills

I've deleted a plan by mistake

We save all plans on our servers, so please contact us with the name of your missing plan and the approximate time and date it was deleted if possible.

I'm visually impaired. How can I make it easier to view the Garden Planner?

You can zoom in on your plan using the Zoom In magnifying glass tool in your plan's toolbar. (Unfortunately it's not possible to zoom in to the Garden Planner page as the software is based on Flash Player and doesn't open in a normal webpage.)

You can also increase the size of plant labels to make them easier to view. You can do this on your plan by clicking on Settings (the cog icon) and, under Settings For All Plans, click on the drop-down box and choose a larger size for the labels.

Once your plan is finished you can use the Publish Plan to Web button to publish your plan on a normal webpage which will be zoomable like any other webpage.

Please see the Printing & Sharing Your Plan video on the Garden Planner start page for a demonstration of how this works.

Visually impaired settings

How can I email my plan?

There are two ways to email your plan. You can either publish your plan to the web and then share the link to the webpage in an email, or you can save your plan as a PDF file and attach it to an email.

Publish Plan to a Web Page:

  • Click on Publish Plan To Web (next to the Print button) in your plan's toolbar
  • Enter any description or notes you want to add (make sure you check the 'Include Plant List' box if you wish to publish your Plant List too)
  • Click Publish Plan
  • You will see a website address where your plan can be viewed. Click on the link to visit your plan's webpage
  • Copy and paste the link into your email to share it.

Save Plan as a PDF:

PC: you may need to install PDF conversion software such as Cute PDF, which is free from www.cutepdf.com (make sure to de-select the options to change your search engine, homepage and browser). Once installed, you can print your plan to PDF. Click Print Plan, click OK and select the PDF writer as the printer. (If you're using Internet Explorer in Windows 10, also make sure to select the 'Print to file' check box.) When you click OK, you will be prompted to save the PDF to your computer.

Mac: Click Print Plan, click OK, click OK again, then click on the drop-down arrow next to PDF and save the file to a location on your computer.

Technical Issues

The Garden Planner crashes/freezes on my computer

You shouldn't experience crashes or 'freezing' with the Garden Planner, so it's likely that this is a problem with Adobe Flash Player on your computer. In particular, Flash Player likes to have plenty of memory (RAM) available. Please restart your computer (this resets Flash and frees up memory) and then login to the Garden Planner again with no other programs running and no other browser windows or tabs open.

If this doesn't resolve the problem then please try clearing your browser's temporary internet files / cache in the following way, depending on which browser you're using:

  • Google Chrome: Click the Chrome Menu button > Click Clear Browsing Data, then make sure that 'Browsing history' is selected and click the 'Clear browsing data' button
  • Edge: Click Hub > History, then click 'Clear all history'. Select which types of data or files you want to remove from your PC, then click Clear
  • Internet Explorer 9 and above: Click the Gear icon at the top right, select Internet Options > click the Delete button (under Browsing History), then make sure that 'Temporary Internet Files' are selected and click Delete. It's also worth checking that Active X filtering is off - click the Gear icon at the top right, select the Safety menu and check that Active X filtering is not selected
  • Internet Explorer 8 and earlier: Click Tools > Internet Options > click the Delete button (under Browsing History), then ensure that 'Temporary Internet Files' are selected and click Delete
  • Firefox: Click History > Clear Recent History, select 'Everything' for the time range to clear, then make sure that 'Cache' is checked in the details section and click Clear Now
  • Safari: Use the keyboard shortcut Command-Option-E (Mac) or Ctrl-Alt-E (PC), then click the Empty button.

Then restart your browser and login to the Garden Planner with no other programs running and no other browser windows or tabs open.

It would also be worth updating Adobe Flash Player here: http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/

If this does not resolve the issue, please contact us.

The Garden Planner only works very slowly on my computer

If your plans are quite large it's likely that Flash Player (which the Garden Planner runs on) is struggling to draw your plans with the amount of memory available on your computer.

Please restart your computer - this will reset Flash Player and also help to free up any spare memory on your machine, and should help. Then login to the Garden Planner again with no other programs running and no other browser windows or tabs open, and see if that helps.

We would also advise choosing the 'Show only end plants ' option to reduce the amount of memory that Flash needs to draw your plan. To do this, please open your plan and click on the Settings cog in the toolbar, then select 'Show only end plants in rows and corner plants in blocks' and click OK.

If this does not resolve the issue, please contact us.

Working slowly

Items were missing from my plan when I opened the Garden Planner

When a plan is loaded, each type of object (shapes, text, plants, garden objects, notes) is loaded separately, one after the other. If there is some interruption to the connection between your computer and our server, it could result in some parts not loading (you should see that shown as a red cross in the Web Communication box that comes up at the bottom right).

If this happens, it's important to just close the Garden Planner straight away without making changes to the plan. Making changes would cause the Garden Planner to then save that incomplete version of the plan. If you close the Garden Planner and then reopen it, you should find that everything loads correctly the next time.

We store copies of each save point in your plans on our servers. If your plan has saved with some elements missing, please contact us, including in your email the name and year of the affected plan.

I can't find my plan

Plans don't always show in the Recently Viewed plans list, especially if you have been working on or referring to several plans. Please click on Open Plan on the left hand side of the Garden Planner's start screen and check whether it is on the list of plans. If not, please contact us with the name and year of the missing plan.

Open Garden Plan