Orange County Coastkeeper

The Garden

The 2.5 acre Coastkeeper Garden is adjacent to the Santiago Canyon College campus in the City of Orange. This unique, sustainable garden hosts plants from six southern California native habitats as well as drought-tolerant plants.

The Garden incorporates six California Friendly® vignettes (garden rooms) into “backyard” landscapes that harmonize with the native plant habitat throughout the Garden.

What Will I See at The Coastkeeper Garden?

Coastkeeper Garden Hours

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday: 9am – 4pm

On rainy/windy/hot days the Garden is closed.

Directions to Coastkeeper Garden

The Coastkeeper garden can not be accessed from the Santiago Canyon College campus. Coastkeeper Garden’s vehicle entrance is located on East Santiago Canyon Road between Newport Avenue and Jamboree Avenue.

The vehicle entrance address is 8520 East Santiago Canyon Road, Orange, 92869. Many mapping programs do not correctly locate the Garden so please look at the map below:

For detailed parking and driving directions, click here:
Map and directions
Parking map

What Can I Do at the Coastkeeper Garden?

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 Smartscapes program.
Download the Smartscape Manual

See Coastkeeper’s smartscapes collaboration with Southern California Edison at a local substation.

Workshops in the Garden

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

Check our Coastkeeper 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!

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

Read this review by funorangecountyparks.com

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.

We Want You!

Coastkeeper seeks volunteers to help out with activities at our garden:

  • Planting and maintenance
  • Weed Removal
  • Watering plants
  • Moving mulch and compost

There are opportunities for Scout projects, community service, group volunteer events and more!

Sign up to Volunteer

Please download and fill out this volunteer waiver.

For more information, contact us at [email protected]

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, alternative turf, and reservoir style patio containers that decrease water use.

Vision

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.

Other Garden features include:

  • Plant identification signage
  • Children’s natural playground
  • Amphitheater
  • Snackable garden
  • Take-home literature
  • Workshops
  • Composting display
  • Self Guided tours
  • Education

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.

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

Coastkeeper Garden Master Plan

The Coastkeeper Garden Master Plan 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 will include 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 to twelve small, educational stations will be placed within the native habitats that make up Coastkeeper Garden. Each station will display California Friendly® concepts in a way that emphasizes a specific learning objective. Extensive interpretive signing will provide visitors with details on how they can utilize the displayed technologies to protect our water resources and our coastal environment. The educational topics that will be 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 will be included in the Garden grounds. Simple benches and shade cover will provide a venue for educational activities of all types. The site will be sized to accommodate the average class size, making this an inviting facility to local primary and secondary schools. Public speaking events, such as product knowledge demonstrations and nature programs will be held on weekends for Garden visitors.
  • The Greenhouse: A demonstration greenhouse will provide community volunteers a place to share ideas and contribute their knowledge to the Garden project. Designed as a non-permanent structure, the greenhouse will house plant stock, seedlings, and individual volunteer projects. This ambient greenhouse will provide a location for growing Garden replacement plants that mimic their natural conditions.

Coastkeeper Garden Sponsors

  • Allergan Foundation
  • Beckman Coulter Foundation
  • Brent Harris & Lisa Meulbroek
  • California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection
  • California State Parks
  • Contech Engineered Solutions
  • Employees Community Fund of Boeing CA
  • Harvest Landscape
  • Hunter Industries, Inc.
  • Hydropoint Data Industries, Inc.
  • Irvine Ranch Water District
  • The Irvine Company
  • James Cox Foundation
  • Kenneth Lester Foundation
  • Lowes Foundation
  • Mountain States Wholesale Nursery
  • MWD of So. CA
  • Orange County Community Foundation
  • Orco Block
  • Pacific Life Foundation
  • Rancho Santiago Canyon
  • So CA Edison
  • Toro Company
  • Walmart Foundation
  • Wells Fargo Foundation
  • Western Digital