South Laguna Community Garden Park

Welcome to South Laguna’s Garden Miracle

In a little over two years we completed the installation of the entire South Laguna Community garden.  It has become a garden park, enjoyed informally by Laguna residents and visitors.  Classes and community events are also opportunities to enjoy the ambiance and lessons of the garden.


The entire garden project was completed by volunteers, with many donations.  It is truly amazing how a weedy vacant lot was transformed into a thriving garden, through the committed involvement of local families.

First Work Day, Aug. 15th, 2009

Grand Opening, December 6, 2009                  Tony Bisson Photo

A little background--

The first garden was begun in 2002 by Ali Taghavi at the corner of Eagle Rock and Virginia.  Ali and friends Jodi Levine, Deanna Moore and others invited the community to participate and had open garden days, with music, demonstrations and exposure to the joys and benefits of local gardening.

This continued until 2004 when the property was sold and the garden dismantled. The garden idea, however, did not vanish with the garden.  The South Laguna Civic Association set up a committee to look for a site to establish another garden. It was this committee, particularly its chairman Morrie Granger, who kept the idea of the garden alive. After several years of searching for a good location and a willing property owner, the site of the original garden was purchased by a new owner, Mr. Paul Tran.  Morrie asked and Mr. Tran graciously agreed to allow the South Laguna Civic Association to use this property as a community garden without charge.

The South Laguna Civic Association Garden Committee obtained the Temporary Use Permit (July, 2009) and Building Permits with the fees waived by the City Council.

We held our first garden organizing meeting August 8, 2009 at the home of

Morrie and Barbara Granger. The Grangers have been enthusiastic leaders and generous donors toward making the garden a success.

Ann Christoph, landscape architect, drew the plans and coordinated construction. The South Coast Water District donated the water meter. Ruben Flores of Laguna Nursery contributed the plumbing, gates, shrubs, vines, the vertical garden, and his ideas and encouragement.  Tri-State Materials, Stewarts Landscaping and Briseño Landscape donated rocks and labor for the rock revetments. 

Geoff and Julie Beckham of north Laguna donated a wonderful shed.  It seems this shed originally served as an orchard caretaker's bunk house in Anaheim where Disneyland is now.  It came to Laguna around 1917 via a team of horses.  This last move to our garden was accomplished by Laguna Beach Towing, and volunteers--John Keith, Morrie Granger, Phil Barbour, and Tony Smith.

For a complete list of donors click on Donors, above.  

We had many Saturday work days at the garden beginning with the weeding on August 15, 2009, and finishing with the completion of thirty garden boxes on the upper terrace on October 31, 2009.  Enthusiastic volunteers did an amazing job of carpentry, fence installation, terracing and rock placement. 

South Laguna Civic Association 

P.O. Box 9668

South Laguna, CA 92652

Questions: contact Morrie Granger, Bill Rihn or Ann Christoph

Gardens grew and our Grand Opening on December 6, 2009 was a success!

In the summer of 2010 Mr. Tran said we could expand to the lower area.  Since then we have been weeding, planting, watering, and installing fencing, stairs and water system.

The steps connecting the upper and lower gardens were the biggest challenge—met by builders Steve O’Connor, Tom Joliet, Morrie Granger, Sean Chavarria, Victor Reyes, and others.  Design by James Henry and Ann Christoph, painting by Peter Grohmann, Vera Wilmot, and Cynthia Fleming.

With the steps complete we went on to welcome gardeners to the lower level.  See Updates, September 10  for the details of that effort.  These last 23 garden beds are now completed.


The garden has received awards from the City of Laguna Beach, the American Society of Landscape Architects, Southern California Chapter, the California Landscape Contractors Association and from the Laguna Beach Beautification Council.

Neighbors appreciate it too:

What a wonderful project this has turned out to be!  What a great positive, productive way to bring people in the neighborhood together, as well as beautifying a pretty ugly vacant lot.       Anita Dobbs

I can not find the words to tell you how impressed I am with your efforts.  This entire project has involved so little hype and talk and produced such incredible results.  The gardeners have significantly increased the quality of South Laguna.  Laura Sauers

You have done a remarkable thing for South Laguna!  Michelle Reinglass

This is such a wonderful project and I am so pleased to see you will soon be on the lower level. I have been watching it daily. I look forward to driving by and seeing a double-decker flourishing community garden.  What a gift you have organized for South Laguna. Charlotte Masarik

Join and participate!

Want to have your own garden plot at the South Laguna Community Garden?  We welcome you to share in the uplifting experience this garden has been for both the gardeners and the local community.

For questions, interested gardeners should contact the South Laguna Civic Association, Bill Rihn

president, 949-415-1312

Bill has been instrumental in managing the technical and bookkeeping aspects of the garden including memberships and finances, as well as being a leader in promoting the value of the garden. 

As Bill says, “We’re not just growing vegetables, we’re growing friendships.”

Left: Bill Rihn with artist Shary Seltzer who painted the sign for the shed. 

You don’t have to have a plot to participate.  As a Member, or Friend of the Garden, you can be involved in the communal garden plots, the vertical garden, and the drought-tolerant garden borders.  You are also welcome to participate in garden programs and improvement days.

Another opportunity is the children’s garden--Carly Day Andrews is coordinating the three children’s garden beds that are shared by ten families.

You may also help Juli Essen who manages the produce contributions that gardeners make to the Friendship Shelter.

Left:  Juli with Merta, Barbara Granger and Taylor Matheison of Friendship Shelter

As a Member or Friend you may also place your name on the waiting list for an individual plot.

Friends generously donate to the Garden and we greatly appreciate your support! 

Applications and other information are available on this website at the links above.

Please also join the South Laguna Civic Association to support the garden and many other community efforts.

Send applications and contributions to:

South Laguna Civic Association 

P.O. Box 9668

South Laguna, CA 92652

Questions: contact Morrie Granger, Bill Rihn or Ann Christoph

Many thanks to Greg O’Loughlin, photographer and website manager

The Opportunity to Make the Garden Park Permanent.

If you prefer to donate by check, please make it

payable to “CVOC/SL Garden Park” and mail it to:

South Laguna Civic Association,

PO Box 9668, South Laguna, CA 92652

Upcoming Events:      

Dec. 12th 9am  - Group Gardening and Decorating followed by  -3pm - Holiday Sing-Along      

Since 2009 the use of the Garden Park property has been graciously donated by the property owner.

A fund has been established to make it possible to purchase a permanent Garden Park and we hope that you will be a part of it.  

Tax deductible contributions can be made through 

Charitable Ventures of Orange County (CVOC), fiscal sponsor for the Garden Park project. 

Your contributions are the next community-spirited steps needed to keep the Garden Park growing and giving forever!