Eco-Friendly Gardening

Important message from the Coastkeeper team:

The garden is currently CLOSED to the public for now. Stay tuned for further updates.

SmartScape Program

Through the SmartScape Program, Coastkeeper is assisting property owners and landscaping contractors in transitioning away from reliance on traditional high water use landscaping. We offer assistance at every step of the transformation process from identifying financial incentives, design and installation and long-term maintenance.

Want to learn how to create your own drought-tolerant paradise?

Click here to learn more about our SmartScape program and landscaping resources.


FireScape Program

Through the FireScape Program, Coastkeeper is assisting property owners in helping to prevent their homes against fire damage.

Click here to learn more about our FireScape program and landscaping resources.


Workshops in the Garden

Workshops begin promptly at 10:00 am in the Garden’s amphitheater. Please wear comfortable clothing and closed toe shoes. Hats, sunscreen, and drinking water are recommended.

Visit our calendar page for upcoming workshops.

In the event of poor weather, workshops will be canceled. Please email [email protected] for up-to-date information.

Saturday Workshops

Join us on Saturday mornings 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

Families are invited to visit the Coastkeeper Garden for a morning of fun. 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!

Monthly Plant Share

On the second Saturday of every month, the Coastkeeper Garden hosts a plant share event for the local gardening community. This is a great way to avoid paying high prices at garden stores and try new types of plants in your yard. Items for sharing include plants, seeds, pots, planters, fruits, vegetables and anything that another plant lover can use, eat or enjoy. In addition to trading and sharing plants, this group is a wonderful way to get free advice on gardening issues.

Check out our calendar for upcoming plant share events.

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
  • Rocky hill for climbing and navigating
  • Large tunnel built into a hillside
  • Sitting areas for parents

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The Coastkeeper Garden is located at 8520 East Santiago Canyon Road, Orange 92869

Volunteer at the Garden

Work out your green thumb at the Coastkeeper Garden. You can volunteer as an individual or request a group volunteer event.


The Coastkeeper Garden is always in need of volunteers! Tasks include mulching, weeding, raking and general maintenance.

Check our calendar for the next scheduled Service Saturday.

Be sure to print and fill out this volunteer form.  Bring your completed form with you on the day you volunteer.

What is the Purpose of the Coastkeeper Garden?

Urban landscapes contribute significantly to coastal pollution mainly through inappropriate gardening practices such as overwatering, poor run-off management, and overuse of pesticides and fertilizers. The California Friendly® and native plants featured at the Coastkeeper Garden will require less water, fertilizers, and herbicides than typical landscaping choices.

The Coastkeeper Garden highlights new and improved technologies such as ET controllers, drip irrigation, and alternative turf.


According to the California Urban Water Conservation Council 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.

Other Garden features include:

  • Plant identification signage
  • Children’s natural playground
  • Amphitheater
  • Snackable garden
  • Take-home literature
  • Workshops
  • Self 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 topical workshops.

Our 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
  • creates 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 sixty 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. 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.

Coastkeeper Garden Master Plan

The Coastkeeper Garden embodies the spirit of resource protection in its selection of native and California Friendly® plants and in its value as an educational venue.

The Plants

The overall plant palette includes a California Friendly® mix of native plants and Mediterranean drought tolerant vegetation. The Master Plan features:

  • Six vignettes, or garden rooms, modeled after traditional garden architectural styles popular in southern California: Spanish Revival, California Bungalow/Craftsman, Italian/Tuscan, Ranch, Traditional (English, French, Colonial) and California Native Garden. These vignettes are intended to showcase California Friendly® vegetation in a way that complements the adjacent native plant habitat’s colors and textures.
  • Six native southern California habitats: Chaparral, Coastal Sage Scrub, Desert Scrub, Grassland, Riparian and Southern Oak Woodland. The local plant community, Coastal Sage Scrub, will be the springboard for interpretive areas illustrating the “best of the best,” plants that are particularly well-suited for use in home landscapes, streetscapes, and parks in this climate.

The Educational Stations

Ten educational stations are placed within the native habitats that make up Coastkeeper Garden. Each station displays California Friendly® concepts in a way that emphasizes a specific learning objective. Extensive interpretive signing provides visitors with details on how they can utilize the displayed technologies to protect our water resources and our coastal environment. The educational topics incorporated into the stations are:

  • Drought Tolerant Landscaping
    • How to use native plants in home landscaping
    • The concept of practical turf
    • Patio container gardens
    • Water efficient irrigation
  • Watershed Education
    • Understanding Orange County’s watersheds
    • Protecting our future water supply
    • Reducing urban runoff
    • Energy resources-connecting water and electricity
  • Our Natural History
    • Learning about our native habitats
    • A historical look at Orange County land use
    • Attracting native birds and butterflies to your backyard
    • Re-creating our native habitats in public space
  • The Amphitheater: A small natural amphitheater is included in the Garden grounds. The site is sized to accommodate the average class size, making this an inviting facility for local primary and secondary schools. Public speaking events, such as product knowledge demonstrations and nature programs, are held on weekends for Garden visitors. 

Coastkeeper Garden Sponsors

  • Brent Harris & Lisa Meulbroek
  • California State Parks
  • Contech Engineered Solutions
  • US Bank Foundation
  • Santiago Canyon College
  • Boeing Employee Community Fund
  • The Irvine Company
  • Kellogg Garden Products
  • Harvest Landscape
  • Steve & Patricia Bone
  • SA Recycling
  • James Cox Foundation
  • Kenneth Lester Foundation
  • Lowes Foundation
  • Mountain States Wholesale Nursery
  • Weathermatic
  • Law Offices of Jennifer Novak
  • Southern California Edison
  • Walmart Foundation
  • Wells Fargo Foundation
  • Native Sons Nursery
  • Darden Restaurants