Laguna Hills is an upscale suburban city located in southern Orange County, California, United States. Its name refers to its proximity to Laguna Canyon and the much older Laguna Beach. Other cities nearby—Laguna Niguel and Laguna Woods—are similarly named. Laguna Hills is built on one of the major land grants developed during the rancho era. Following Mexico’s independence from Spain in 1821, those who had served in the government or who had friends in authority, were given vast lands for cattle grazing. Rancho Lomas de Santiago, Rancho San Joaquin, and Rancho Niguel covered much of the western portion of the Saddleback Valley. Don Juan Avila was granted the 13,000 Rancho Niguel on which Laguna Hills is located. Laguna Hills features a variety of housing from modest condos to large custom estates. Nellie Gail Ranch is a large development of both tract and custom homes, including large equestrian estates and homes with commanding views of the Saddleback Mountains, Aliso Viejo and Laguna Niguel. An impressive remodeling project is planned for the regional Laguna Hills Mall.