With our temperate, Mediterranean-like climate in Laguna Beach, we are lucky to have the perfect environment for creating a lush landscape at home.  If you’re thinking about adding a personal touch to your home garden but are looking for some inspiration, a visit to the Hortense Miller Garden is the perfect solution.  This demonstration garden offers a detailed palette of the types of plants and flowers that thrive in our Southern California climate and is a great place to spark ideas that you can implement at home.

About the Hortense Miller Garden

The Hortense Miller Garden is situated on two and a half acres on the upper slopes of Boat Canyon in Laguna Beach.  The garden was established in 1959 and boasts a stunning display of plants and flowers that can be grown in Southern California coastal zones.  Caretakers of this treasure have limited the amount of pesticides and fertilizers used on the grounds in order to encourage a diversity of plants and wildlife.

In addition to the beautiful garden, the site features a classic 1950s modern house that was completed in 1959.  Spring is one of the best times to visit the house, as the entrance is flanked with the gorgeous lavender-colored blooms of Japanese Wisteria, a real treat for the senses.  On the sunny side of the house is a fantastic perennial garden that is home to a vast of array of flowers that are in bloom at different times of year, always providing a good show.  Near the lower entrance to the garden is a succulent garden that features rare Puyas from Chile.  Native coastal sage, so prominent in the area, is the showpiece of the northwest portion of the garden.

Enjoy a Guided Tour of the Garden

Garden tours are available and can be arranged through the City of Laguna Beach Recreation Department.  The reservation desk is open from Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm.  Tours are scheduled Tuesday through Saturday from 9:45am to noon (holidays excluded).  The Hortense Miller Garden is located in a gated community and guests are met by a docent at Riddle Field on Hillcrest Drive.  Appropriate shoes are recommended, as the terrain can be steep and rugged in places.  Tours last approximately two hours and are free, although donations are appreciated.  To make reservations, please call 949-497-0716.

Hortense Miller, Author and Environmentalist

Hortense Miller was an environmentalist and author who was responsible for cultivating what is considered one of the best private gardens in the United States.  Miller gave the land to the city in 1976 so that the public could enjoy the native mix of coastal scrub, tropical succulents, blooming perennials and exotic plants.  Her garden has been described as intensely personal by “House & Garden” magazine and has been featured in many garden books.  Miller began work on her garden when she was 51 years old and kept at it until the age of 93 when the steep terrain became too much.  She died in 2008 at the age of 99.

More Information

To learn more about the Hortense Miller Garden, please visit their website at