Garden Photo Journal


October 2013

A few images from our Pumpkin Play Day sponsored by Homes by Kathy Wren and Alpine Mortgage Planning.


Families picking out pumpkins and starting to decorate!


These little ladies were getting very creative.


It was also social time for Coastkeeper Garden neighbors.


Showing off their masterpieces!


Minnie Mouse is quite the artist.


Enjoying some nature play while the pumpkins dried.


July 2013

Entering the garden

Visitors head into the garden.


Our welcome sign at the main garden entrance.


Our desert habitat and info panel provide unique landscaping ideas.


Apache plume in the desert habitat.


California Fuchsia in the chaparral habitat.


Blue Palo Verde in bloom at the entrance of the ranch vignette.


View from the edge of the ranch vignette looking to the bungalow.


Friends enjoy a shady picnic area at the craftsman bungalow.

Log paths

Log pathway feature in the Natural Play Garden.


A mother and child explore willow tunnels in the Natural Play Garden.

Vegetable Garden2

Our raised vegetable bed is doing well. We’re looking forward to harvest time!


This succulent garden at the entrance mimics an underwater landscape!


Grand Opening Celebration


We finally did it! The ribbon cutting ceremony represented that the Coastkeeper Garden is now complete and open to the public.


City of Orange Mayor Tita Smith welcomes the Coastkeeper Garden as a new community asset for her city.


Thank you to our event sponsors!

Ranch Vignette

Guests strolled throughout the garden while making new friends.


Coastkeeper’s Associate Director of Programs, Ray Hiemstra, pours wine at the Ranch vignette, and he had the perfect outfit to match the theme!


Coastkeeper’s water monitoring specialist Danny, and intern Tuan, offer guests sliders with a side of mac and cheese at the amphitheater.


Interpretive panels placed throughout the garden offers a self-guided tour for visitors.


Guests step off of an Anteater Express shuttle into the garden and view our silent auction items.

Coastal Preservation Award

Pete Gartner received the Coastal Preservation Award for his many years of volunteering at the Coastkeeper Garden.


George Adams of SA Recycling received a Coastal Preservation Award for his leadership in improving water quality for the metal recycling industry.

View more photos from our grand opening event here.

April 2013

This custom made bench is great spot to relax and reflect.

A gorgeous view looking over the dry creek bed towards the Italian vignette.

Our interpretive panels have finally been installed!

There will be a panel at each vignette, as well as throughout the garden.

View of the bungalow vignette from the desert habitat

Our grassland habitat is looking very lush.

Fluor and Chapman Greek Day of Service, February 23, 2013

Chapman Greek Life students digging a hole for our last round of planting

These Chapman University students are enjoying getting their hands dirty

Fluor employees came out to show their support for clean water

Coastkeeper Garden’s super volunteer, Pete, oversees some planting

Thank you for all your help Chapman Greek Life!

Volunteers replenishing gravel in our dry creek bed.

February 2013

Our staff has been working with the City of Irvine’s Youth Action Team to implement many of the finishing touches to our Natural Play Garden. Check out these unique and fun features that children will get to play on and explore in this section of the Coastkeeper Garden.

Once the leaves return to these trees in the Spring, this will become a magical tree tunnel.

Some evening sunlight on the winding pathway that runs along the upper portion of the play area.

A nice area to sit and relax while the children are at play.

A natural staircase.

View of the buried tunnel from behind the giant climbing trunk.

A buried tunnel ready to be explored!


January 2013

Some plants are beginning to look wonderfully lush again.

A view of the open space across the street.

Demonstration area featuring turf alternatives

Adding a nice touch to the traditional vignette.

The first fruits from our Dwarf Valencia Orange trees

This bridge leads from the Italian vignette to a secluded reading area.

Stepping stumps for children leading to the Natural Play Garden.

Another fun stump pathway that leads through a branch tunnel

A climbing log in the Natural Play Garden

Another bridge that provides a pathway over the dry creek bed.

November 2012Can you believe that this is how the garden looks in fall? If we didn’t know any better, we’d think it was spring!


September 2012

Fall is in the air, and the garden is as vibrant and colorful as ever! We have also made a lot of progress on some features for the children’s Natural Play Garden.

Colorful potted plants decorate the Spanish vignette

The tunnel for the natural play garden; still some cleaning up to do

July & August 2012

The focus for this entry in our photo journal is the damage from our Aug. 6 robbery and of two habitats that were looking great in July.

Robbers cut a hole in the fence to enter the garden

One of the many smashed latches and locks

Tore into this storage containers with pick axes

Another damaged lock

Apache plume in the desert habitat

The grassland is thriving; finally got the weeds under control.


June 2012

The garden is as bright and vibrant as ever entering into the summer months. Our garden crew is battling the heat and working extremely hard to try and complete this project. Check out the massive entrance trellis they built!

The bungalow vignette is practically hidden by all these blooms!

A planter feature on the edge of the bungalow vignette

Entrance to the bungalow vignette

In the distance you can see our grassland is full of California poppies.

A view of the Italian/Tuscan vignette and part of the traditional vignette

The grand entrance to the Coastkeeper Garden is complete!


April 2012

Springtime is the highlight of the year for any garden, and our garden more colorful than ever. We have completed some large projects and looking forward to more.

Building the trellis for the Italian Vignette

In time, wild grape will wind itself over the completed trellis

Contech Volunteers

The rest of the Contech group with our garden staff showing off their strength!

Digging a storm drain donated by Contech

A lush view down a boulder path into the Nature Play Garden


March 2012

Italian vignette looking through the oak woodland

Main pathway from the entry way

Bungalow looking back towards coastal sage scrub

Dudleya and noble aloe in front of ranch vignette

The Italian vignette will soon be complete

The hydroseed is growing

Another view down the creek through the oak woodland

Riparian habitat that will become the Natural Play Area


January 2012

Coastkeeper kicked off the new year in a typical flurry at the Garden. The dry creek bed that was overrun with weeds has been restored, and we’ve started work on our latest Garden project, the “Natural Playground.”  In this playground, kids will use their imagination while exploring special features of the Garden designed for play. Coastkeeper also hydroseeded the grassland habitat in January, and we are looking forward to see our grasses spring up as we approach the spring season!

Conservation Corps applied a weed-block cloth to the creek bottom

Completed dry creek bed with boulders and gravel

This deer grass will become a maze as it grows taller!

Kids will also play among the boulders

Hydroseeding the grassland

In a couple months this will be covered in native grasses!

December 2011

In December, the Garden team started working on some of the decorative features of our backyard vignettes. Coastkeeper installed large pots in the Italian vignette, which will hold orange trees.  We also installed large decorative planting pots in the Spanish and Bungalow vignettes. We’re having as much fun as ever with our  common animal guests- Nala, the Garden’s resident dog, and a White Egret that’s been visiting us for over a year!

Drip Irrigation for orange tree pots in Italian Vignette

Italian vignette- now we just need the orange trees!

California Fan Palms in the Spanish vignette

Traditional vignette- the open square will be filled with a native grass blend

Nala- the Garden’s canine mascot

This Great Egret is a frequent visitor to the Garden


November 2011

We had several milestones at the Garden this month. Coastkeeper completed two of our cedar tree-round vignette signs, and installed a permanent chain-link fence around the Garden perimeter.   We also won’t have to worry about cars getting stuck in the mud anymore, now that we’ve laid a path of road base from the Garden entrance to the parking area! Thousands of plants went into the ground in November, with help from regular volunteers and groups such as the La Quinta High School Recycling Club.  Across the Garden, grasses and shrubs are thriving- it looks different every week!

Completed Amphitheater Sign

Bungalow Sign

La Quinta High School’s Recycling Club planting ferns in the Oak Woodland

Thanks to the fabulous La Quinta team for your help!

The ever growing deer grass

No more getting stuck in the mud- thanks to our new road base path!

What a view from the Garden entry gate!

The Bungalow vignette from a distance


October 2011

This month, Coastkeeper dove head first into the Fall planting season.  We met 2 huge plant deliveries with our new tractor and a small army of interns, volunteers and staff.  After clearing out weeds and mulch and placing the plants, Coastkeeper was ready to host 3 Saturday volunteer events during October.  Thanks especially to REI and Ralphs, who gave generous donations to support the Garden AND volunteered their time!

REI Volunteers invade the Garden, 10-15-2011

Thanks to Ralphs for providing lunch!

Three cheers for UCI Volunteers!

Planting these delicate grass plugs takes finesse.

48 volunteers + 2000 plants = a grassy Garden!

Planting makes people happy!

July/August 2011

It’s been a flurry of activity at the Garden all summer long. Coastkeeper hired two new people to work with Austin, and the team has been working at light speed ever since.  The main pathway is complete, and we’re now starting on the small pathways throughout the Garden. We’ve also laid the foundation for the signs that will welcome visitors to each backyard vignette, and expect to hang the signs in September. Meanwhile, all across the Garden, plants are thriving and in bloom!

Cleveland Sage shows its true colors

Desert Willow in bloom

It’s all coming up California Roses!

Our shiny, brand new John Deere!

Volunteers applying a sealant to our tree round signs

Star volunteer Pete and a group of boys prep the dry creek

Completed dry creek bed in the Sage Scrub habitat

June 2011

Summer is here, and the Garden is growing like never before!  With drip irrigation installed in almost all of our planted areas, it is amazing to see how our coast sunflower, sage brush and grasses get bigger each day.  Of course, the weeds are also enjoying the drip irrigation, so we’ll need lots of help from volunteers to clear weeds and cover our planted areas with mulch.  Enjoy a couple before and after shots of our Garden’s transformation, and come out to volunteer this summer!

Entry and Spanish Vignette Before…

…and after!

Drip irrigation before…

…and after!


April/May 2011

As many of our flowers begin to bloom, we’ve been busy planting and installing drip irrigation. Coastkeeper was fortunate to have an Eagle Scout and Troop 110 plant the coastal sage scrub habitat.  With our recent $596K grant award, construction at the Garden will kick into high gear over the next several months to complete the Garden!

Blue-eyed Grass with drip irrigation installed

Our state flower, the CA poppy, is in bloom!

Our volunteer shows off how much he planted!

UCI Interns planting in the dry creek


March 2011

We’ve had another month of constant activity at the Garden.  We are in the process of lining all of our decomposed granite (DG) pathways with wood borders, and so far it looks fantastic! And in addition to our ongoing volunteer days, Coastkeeper also hosted a stellar group of Sam’s Club employees for a March 15 volunteer event.  The hard-working and crew from Sam’s Club got 400 plants into the ground in the chaparral and oak woodland habitats.  Coastkeeper  Thanks to all of our volunteers, and to Sam’s Club for your continued support!

Thanks for getting 400 plants in the ground!

Wood borders installed along pathways

Sam’s Club employees planting in the chaparral habitat

New Interns moving grasses across the Garden

Interns planted over 600 grasses!


January/February 2011

It’s been a busy 2011 so far at the Garden.  With over 6,000 plants delivered by Native Grow Nursery in mid-January, we’ve had endless work to be done.  Our interns and volunteers have tirelessly cleared out mulch, dug holes, staged plants, planted and watered the Garden.  We’ve been planting the Chapparal and Oak Woodland Habitats, along with the Ranch and Bungalow vignettes.  We also scraped pathways in the Coastal Sage Scrub Habitat in preparation for installing decomposed granite trails with borders of landscape timber.  Stay tuned for more updates!

A New Year…and thousands of plants delivered!

Luckily we have volunteers planting by the hundreds

More volunteer action from January 15

Douglas Irises planted along entryway


November 2010

Interns Randy and Alyssa paint the Garden shed. Thanks, guys!

A Great White Egret stops by to say hello!


October 2010

Austin and volunteers completed the trellis in the Bungalow vignette!

Coastkeeper’s Austin Brown works on the top of the trellis

Interns work on the Bungalow trellis


September 2010

Harvest & Coastkeeper volunteers started planting around the Ampitheatre.

Planting at Ampitheatre: sponsored by Harvest Landscaping

Coastkeeper volunteers help Harvest Landscaping unload plants


August 2010

  • Santiago Canyon College Students installed a wind turbine as an alternative power source for lighting in the Garden. View photos
  • A local Eagle Scout and friends completed the decorative fence at the Garden. Thanks for all your hard work!

Eagle Scout Project: Fence at Garden Entry

Wind Turbines to power lights around Garden


July 2010

  • Volunteers install solar-powered and wind-powered lights at Spanish vignette
  • “Scouts”- Intern blog, July 24, 2010: “Today a group of local scouts came out to help set posts for a fence being built by one of their members. Under Austin’s guidance, scouts repeatedly mixed and poured concrete, filling almost a dozen holes and centering the posts. Good job scouts, the fence is really starting to take shape!”
  • “Holes, Holes, Holes”- Intern blog, July 13, 2010: “Today Austin and some volunteers dug out some pretty large holes for adolescent Oak Trees. Austin had the jack hammer out, to loosen up the hard ground, and the volunteers shoveled. It took some sweat but we did it. We had two holes, 2’x2’, and were able to put in the Oak trees. That is where the real struggle started. With no tractor, it was an adventure getting those big Oak Trees from storage to the holes. Two and a half hours later, with some ingenuity and brute force, we had two beautiful Oak trees in the ground with irrigation.”

Eagle Scout works on fence at Garden Entry

Holes, Holes, Holes!

Solar/Wind Powered Lights


June 2010

  • Deer Grass and Poppies (our state flower!) spread along the creek bed
  • “Weeds weeds weeds”- Intern Blog, June 29, 2010: “Spent the entire day pulling weeds.”

Weeds, Weeds, Weeds!

Deer Grass and California Poppy along dry creek bed


May 2010

Robertson’s Cement and Rhino Concrete Pumping came to the Garden to help lay the concrete for the Italian and Spanish vignettes. Thanks to the help of Robertson’s and Rhino, the pour was a success!

Finished Hardscape for Spanish Vignette

Pouring cement in the Spanish Vignette


April 2010:

Partnering with Harvest Landscaping, we completed the masonry on the Bungalow and Ranch vignettes.

April shower brings weeds to the Garden!

Completed masonry at the Ranch Vignette

December 2009-March 2010

In December 2009, Coastkeeper started construction on the amphitheater and three vignettes.  Using permeable paving stones that allow water to soak into the ground, we completed the masonry at the ampitheatre and traditional vignettes. Thanks to ORCO for donating environmentally friendly pavers!

Masonry work at the Ampitheatre

Italian Vignette in progress

ORCO Aqua-Bric pavers let water soak into the ground.

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