IRWD Demonstration Gardens

Irvine Ranch Water District has demonstration gardens that you can visit for free from dawn until dusk any day of the year. Come on over and get inspired! 

These gardens are located at the IRWD Headquarters, 15600 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine.

The first three gardens – labeled A, B and C – are in front of the building's entrance. The fourth and newest garden, labeled D, is just past the north end of the main parking lot. Follow the walkway path from the building that cuts through the parking lot (in the center of the map shown) and head to the left.

Feel free to take lots of pictures for inspiration, and if you share anything on social media, make sure to mention @irwdnews.



Take a self-guided demonstration garden tour 


IRWD Demo garden


Start here, at our original demonstration garden. Planted in 2014 and fully mature, it’s a vivid example of how you can convert your ordinary lawn into a stunning water-efficient garden using drought-tolerant, California-native, and fire-resistant plants. Signs explain how to pick the right plants, install the right irrigation equipment, and set the right watering schedule.

To view printable, full-color plant guide to RightScape varieties found in our IRWD Sand Canyon Demo Garden click here.

View plant guide: DESKTOP • MOBILE

Resources: Guided plant search • Calscape Garden Planner • CA Native Plant Society's Helpful Tools • The Shed Show • Planting tips and inspiration • Tree of Life Nursery • UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County

IRWD Demo garden


Succulents are diverse, beautiful, and nearly indestructible. Their geometric shapes, effortless propagation and drought tolerance make them resilient choices for saving water – and reduce your water bill.

This garden, planted in 2019, demonstrates design strategies such as focal points and varied plant heights.

To view printable, full-color plant guide to varieties found in our IRWD Sand Canyon Succulent Demo Garden click here.

View plant guide: DESKTOP • MOBILE

Resources: Full list of California native succulents • Succulent careWholesale succulents

IRWD Demo garden


Kurapia is a highly versatile, low-water, and walkable alternative to turf. It can be mowed and manicured to resemble a traditional lawn – or left as a billowy groundcover with delicate flowers. Fast-growing and easy to maintain, it can be grown under many harsh conditions including extreme weather, slopes, and areas of heavy foot traffic.

Our kurapia was planted in June 2021.

For more information, visit

Resources: Kurapia explained • CA lawn alternatives • Irvine resident's kurapia experience  

IRWD Demo garden


This is our new baby — planted in late July 2022. California native plants are beautiful, low-maintenance, and adapted to our local rain cycle. There are thousands of varieties to choose from – everything from trees and shrubs, to grasses and succulents. Butterflies, bees, birds and other important pollinators will want to call your garden home. No plant is better adapted to our climate than those that are found here, naturally.

Come back each season and to see how this garden grows in!

Find your favorites at

View plant guide: DESKTOP • MOBILE

Resources: Guided plant search • Calscape Garden Planner • CA Native Plant Society's Helpful Tools • "A Sage in Every Garden" campaign • Tree of Life Nursery • UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County


Location: San Joaquin Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary (5 Riparian View, Irvine)


IRWD Demo garden

San Joaquin Marsh

Take a trip to the San Joaquin Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary – a hidden gem in Irvine. The RightScape demonstration garden surrounding the Visitors Center has more than three dozen plant varieties, each identified with a plant marker and QR code for mobile access to plant-care details. California-native and non-native drought-tolerant plants are featured in two distinct sections of the landscape.

Interpretive signs show how they differ in their growing characteristics and water needs. Additional signs illustrate how efficient irrigation technology and scheduling keep the garden looking healthy.

A stormwater bioswale, consisting of river rocks and stones, runs prominently through the demo garden to collect rain or irrigation water, helping it seep into the ground instead of running off-site. 

The San Joaquin Marsh Visitors Center is at 5 Riparian View in Irvine.