The Coastkeeper Garden

Summer 2017 Schedule: The Coastkeeper Garden is closed on excessively hot days.


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.

Want to learn how to create your own drought-tolerant paradise? Check out our SmartScape program.

Coastkeeper Garden Hours

The Garden welcomes visitors Wednesday - Saturday.

The Garden is open:

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

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

How Do I Get to the 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 address of the vehicle entrance 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 Will I See at The Coastkeeper Garden? 


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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

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.




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.

In the event of poor weather, workshops will be canceled. Please email 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! 

Check our Coastkeeper Calendar Page for upcoming workshops.

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 and groups are welcome at the Garden! Weekday and Saturday opportunities are available.

For more information, please contact us at

Please download and fill out this volunteer waiver


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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What is 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 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:

  • Plant identification signage
  • Children’s natural playground
  • Amphitheater
  • Snackable garden
  • Take-home literature
  • Greenhouse
  • Workshops
  • Composting display
  • 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.


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 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.

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 by becoming a sponsor:

Allergan Foundation

Beckman Coulter Foundation

Brent Harris & Lisa Meulbroek

California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection

California State Parks

Cox Communication

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

Mountain States Wholesale Nusery

Orange County Community Foundation

Orco Block

Pacific Life Foundation

Rhino Concrete Pumping Corp

SA Recycling Company

Sams Club

Southern California Edison

Steve Bone

Toro Company

Walmart Foundation

Wells Fargo Foundation

Western Digital Foundation