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 exists as a refuge for Pasadena’s native fauna. Birds, bees and butterflies are particularly abundant and can be seen throughout the year.

Arlington Garden has been developed by a 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.


plannedsincludingExplore, 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 :

  • Remember that the beauty of the garden space is the work of our dedicated volunteers and that Arlington Garden is a garden and not a park or playground
      • Refrain from climbing on trees, furniture and other features of the garden
      • There are no public restrooms.
      • Picnics are allowed in the meadow area.
        Please clean up after yourself.
  • Please be careful of the plants and furniture
      • This means staying on the clearly marked paths and not stepping into planting bed
  • Respect the privacy of other users and take care not to disturb their quiet moments
      • Low voices are appreciated by other people, birds and wildlife in the garden, particularly by the labyrinth area.
  • Keep water elements clean and free of debris for wildlife and birds.
  • Use trash receptacles or take out what you bring to the Garden
      • All trash left on the site has to be cleaned up by the volunteers. Please clean up after yourself to help keep the garden beautiful
      • Trash and decorations that are left in the garden are dangerous for our bird and wildlife
  • Children should be accompanied at all times
      • Since Arlington Garden is nestled in a vibrant neighborhood there is a lot of traffic on the east and south sides of the garden for their safety please make sure your children are within view
  • We are free and open to the public seven days a week from dawn to dusk
      • After dark it is closed and under security surveillance by San Marino Security
  • We are a public garden and SMOKING is illegal and not allowed
  • We welcome dogs but they must be leashed and kept out of planting beds
    • Please pick up after your dog since children play here and volunteers work here
  • We are not a park please refrain from riding bikes through the garden
    • Walk your bike or park it
  • We are supported through community donations and usage fees. Professional Portrait Photography is by permit only. 
    • Please contact us to make a request and support the garden
  • All the flowers and fruit are here for everyone to enjoy please do not to take or pick any plant material
    • The Navel Oranges from our Orange Grove are used to make our sweet orange marmalade, the sales help to support the Garden. Please do not pick more than one!
    • Please do not move any furniture
    • No glitter or confetti 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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