The Coastkeeper Garden

The 2.5 acre Coastkeeper Garden is located at Santiago Canyon College in the City of Orange. This unique, sustainable garden hosts plants from six southern California native habitats as well as drought-tolerant plants. The Master Plan incorporates six California Friendly ® vignettes (garden rooms) into “backyard” landscapes that harmonize with the native plant habitat throughout the Garden.

We are open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Tuesday through Saturday.

(The entrance is on East Santiago Canyon Road between Newport Ave and Jamboree)

Garden location:

Map and directions

Parking map

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Part of the Natural Play Garden Italian/Tuscan vignette Grand entrance to the Coastkeeper Garden


See more photos of the Coastkeeper Garden


Workshop Series

First Saturday Workshops @10:00 am

Join us on the first Saturday of each month for a fun and informative workshop. The Coastkeeper Garden workshops highlight gardening practices and current topics relevant to Southern California.  Regional experts provide hands-on experience and knowledge for all skill levels.  Come spend an hour at our beautiful Garden and go home with inspiration and new skills!


Family Workshops @ 10:00 am 

Families are invited to visit the Coastkeeper Garden on the third Saturday of each month.  Families will explore the Garden together while discovering the diversity and importance of plants and nature.   Workshops are designed to spark creativity and learning and offer families a hands-on opportunity to experience the natural world.  Each Family Workshop focuses on a creative theme and features activities, songs, stories and a whole lot of fun! 


RSVP for our workshops by emailing or by visiting the Coastkeeper Calendar page.
*Workshops are subject to cancellation due to poor weather.

Volunteer at the Garden

Work out your green thumb at our Garden! There is always something to do, regardless of the season, so we need as much help as we can get! Individual volunteers are welcome to help out on weekdays, and group volunteer events are by request only. Participants for group events must be 18 and over. Weekday and weekend opportunities are available.

Please download and fill out this volunteer waiver


Become a Docent
We need volunteer docents to greet guests and be available to answer questions, and perform general maintenance. Docents will only be required to work one shift a week for a few hours at a time.

For more information, please contact us at or call 714-850-1965.

Sign up to volunteer

Natural Play Garden

The Coastkeeper Natural Play Garden is an area within the Coastkeeper Garden where children can enjoy nature in a controlled setting through fun and exploration. The Natural Play Garden includes:

  • Tree stump paths to navigate
  • A deer grass maze for hiding
  • Willow tree tunnels and paths
  • Rocky hill for climbing and navigating
  • Large tunnel built into a hillside
  • Sitting areas for parents 

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The Purpose of the Coastkeeper Garden

Urban landscapes contribute significantly to coastal pollution mainly through inappropriate gardening practices such as over-watering, poor run-off management, and over-use of pesticides and fertilizers. The California Friendly ® and native plants featured at the Coastkeeper Garden will require less water, fertilizers, and herbicides than our typical landscaping choices. The Coastkeeper Garden highlights new and improved technologies such as ET controllers, drip irrigation, alternative turf, and reservoir style patio containers that decrease water use. Other Garden features include:

  • Extensive signage
  • Children’s interactive trail
  • Amphitheater
  • Organic garden
  • Take-home literature
  • Greenhouse
  • Gardening classes
  • Composting display
  • Guided tours






Coastkeeper Garden teaches community members about the importance of individual stewardship in protecting our natural resources. Activities range from field trips for school children to college research projects, drought tolerant landscape demonstrations and classes on local natural history.


According to the California Urban Water Conservation Council (2005), demonstration gardens “increase the public’s awareness of the importance of landscape water use efficiency and inspire them to action.” Our vision is that Garden visitors will adopt a new gardening culture. Our sustainable Garden: promotes self-sufficiency with regard to materials and maintenance, increases public access to open space and gathering places; increases urban canopy cover and ecological habitats; reconnects residents to our native habitats; and create new standards for aesthetic and landscape management in parks and urban landscapes.

Our Objectives:

  • Preserve our Natural Heritage- As Orange County moves closer to build-out, native species of plants, birds, butterflies, and wildlife will be negatively impacted. Local residents will become more disconnected from the natural environment. The Coastkeeper Garden increases public awareness of the importance of preserving our native habitats by representing them in a public garden. It is our hope that garden visitors will encourage their public leaders to utilize public space in order to preserve our natural heritage.
  • Promote Drought Tolerant Landscaping- Over fifty percent of Orange County’s water is used for landscaping, including parks, urban lawns and golf courses. As options for increasing imported water supplies dwindle, residents will need to adopt a conservation lifestyle to meet future water needs. Experts agree that outdoor use can be reduced by up to forty percent with proper irrigation technology and drought tolerant plants. The Coastkeeper Garden offers practical landscaping advice on how residents and public agencies can significantly reduce their water use.
  • Reduce Urban Runoff- Inefficient landscape water use generates urban runoff that pollutes our waterways and coastal areas. Beach postings and closures due to bacterial laden urban runoff have plagued Orange County for years. Volunteers and visitors to the Coastkeeper Garden learn how their current behaviors could be negatively impacting our coast and corrective actions that can be taken to improve the environment.

View the Coastkeeper Garden Master Plan

Sustainable Water Usage Tools

Explore this web based water usage tool for landscaping that can be used for Orange, Los Angeles and San Diego Counties.

Water Usage Geospatial Tool and Maintenance Plan for a Southern California Demonstration Garden


Thank you to the companies and organizations that have made the Garden possible:

Allergan Foundation

Beckman Coulter Foundation

Brent Harris & Lisa Meulbroek


Employees Community Fund of Boeing CA

ET Water

Hunter Industries, Inc.

Hydropoint Data Industries, Inc.

Irvine Ranch Water District

The Irvine Company

James Cox Foundation

Kenneth Lester Foundation

Lowes Foundation

Neal Trucking Company

Orange County Community Foundation

Orco Block

Ralphs Foundation

Rhino Concrete Pumping Corp

Robertson Ready Mix

SA Recycling Company

Sams Club

Southern California Edison

Steve Bone

Walmart Foundation

Wells Fargo Foundation

Western Digital Foundation














Donate Beach Cleanup Info Coastkeeper Garden

Upcoming Events

Strawberry Workshop

April 04, 2015 at 10:00 AM

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Coastkeeper Beach Cleanup

April 11, 2015 at 09:00 AM

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Cholame Wine Tasting Event

April 11, 2015 at 01:00 PM

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Strawberry Storytime

April 18, 2015 at 10:00 AM

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