What is Arlington Garden?

Arlington Garden is a three acre garden on Caltrans-owned land. It is leased to the City of Pasadena and entrusted by the city to Arlington Garden in Pasadena, a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation. This garden is not only friendly to people and pets but also serves as a refuge for Pasadena’s native fauna. Birds, bees and butterflies are particularly abundant and can be seen throughout the year.

Arlington Garden was developed in collaboration between Arlington Garden in Pasadena, City of Pasadena, Pasadena Department of Public Works, and Pasadena Water & Power, with help from Pasadena Beautiful Foundation and the Mediterranean Garden Society. Continued support comes from garden clubs, local businesses, nurseries, neighbors and friends.

Our History

Arlington Garden is located on the site of a former staging ground for the 710 freeway. The freeway was halted due to community opposition, but the denuded, compacted lot remained empty until the birth of the garden in 2005.

Pasadena City Councilmember Steve Madison first approached a group of local community members, including the garden’s founders Betty and Charles “Kicker” McKenney, in 2002. His goal was to solicit advice on what to do with the empty lot. After discussion with the community, and some key inspiration from Betty, it was decided that the site would be turned into a garden.

With the help of former City Manager Cynthia Kurtz, Betty and Charles worked with designer Mayita Dinos to break ground on the garden in 2005. They were inspired by Jan Smithen’s book Sun-Drenched Gardens: The Mediterranean Style, and, in the summer of 2005, the first of many plantings began. Their goal was to create a public, water-wise garden that celebrates Southern California’s mediterranean climate. The garden they founded demonstrates how beautiful and practical a well-planned, water-conserving and climate-appropriate garden can be.

Over the years, the mission of the garden has evolved to include promoting urban wildlife habitat and demonstrating the use of regenerative gardening techniques, which include refraining from the use of herbicides, pesticides, or chemical fertilizers.


Explore, Enjoy

Pasadena has only one dedicated public garden, Arlington Garden. We are open to everyone seven days a week during daylight hours. The garden is free to the public through the generous support of our partners and people like you.

To keep the garden at its best for everyone, we ask that you remember:

• Candid and unplanned photography is allowed and free. However, if you wish to hold a planned photography session in the garden (including weddings, groups, portraits, proms, etc.) you must pay a fee and obtain a permit. The process is quick, and will allow you to shoot without interruption from garden management.

• Pets are welcome, but please clean up after your pets and keep them on a leash at all times.

• It is tempting to pick flowers and pods and fruit, but please refrain.

Thank you for visiting, and thank you for helping care for this growing public space!


Arlington Garden Etiquette Guidelines

Welcome to Arlington Garden!

Arlington Garden was created and is maintained by Arlington Garden in Pasadena, a non-profit 501 (c)3 corporation operated in collaboration with the City of Pasadena and Pasadena Water and Power, and  through the generous donations and work of people like you.

We ask that while you are enjoying your time in the garden to please keep in mind the following guidelines :

  • Refrain from climbing on trees, furniture, and other garden features.
  • Stay on the clearly marked paths. Please do not step into planting beds.
  • Respect the privacy and enjoyment of other users. Low voices are appreciated by other people, birds, and other wildlife in the garden.
  • Keep water elements clean and free of debris for wildlife and birds.
  • Please help keep the garden beautiful. Be sure to use trash receptacles or take out what you bring to the Garden.
  • Children should be accompanied at all times. Arlington Garden is nestled in a vibrant neighborhood with lots of traffic on the east and south sides of the garden. For their safety, please make sure your children are within view.
  • We are open to the public every day from dawn to dusk. After dark we are closed and patrolled by San Marino Security.
  • We are a public garden, SMOKING is illegal.
  • We welcome pets, but they must be leashed and kept out of planting beds. Please pick up after your pet.
  • Please refrain from riding bikes through the garden. Walk your bike or park it.
  • We are supported through community donations and usage fees. Planned photography is by permit only. Please see our permits and tours page linked in the top menu for more information.
  • The Navel Oranges from our orange grove are used to make our sweet orange marmalade which is sold to support the Garden. Please do not to take or pick any fruit or other plant material.
  • Please do not move the furniture.
  • No glitter allowed in the garden.
  • We hope you enjoy your visit!

Thank you,
Arlington Garden in Pasadena



  • Celebrate our Community’s Cultural Diversity
  • Community Enrichment
  • Conservation
  • Environmental Stewardship & Advocacy
  • Ecological Diversity
  • Education 
  • Building a legacy of sustainability



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