As much as I love lizards, I haven't taken the time to learn much about them. The common ones I've usually assumed to be fence lizards, and left it at that.
On a recent interview for a forthcoming radio story, I carelessly threw that label at this little reptile below. And was quickly corrected by biologist Mickey Long from the LA County Parks Department. It is, in fact, the California subspecies of slide-blotched lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans).
Long also pointed out this lovely coastal whiptail lizard (Aspidoscelis tigris stejnergeri). This species moves fast.
If you've got lizards in you garden, they're likely the San Diego Alligator Lizard (Elgaria multicarinata webbii).
Finally, if you like your lizards big, head out to the desert. I saw this Chuckwalla in Joshua Tree this spring. (Definitely not a fence lizard!)