This home owner is protecting ocean health by starting in their own backyard!
This homeowner spotlight is a Kāneʻohe Bay Drive resident with a house that sits up on the side of the hill above the Kāneʻohe Bay Yacht Club with the most picturesque view of Kāneʻohe Bay from the front yard. It is hard to imagine a more beautiful view out the dining room window. However, once you walk though the side gate into the back of the property, the serene landscaping in the back yard rivals the view from the front yard.
This homeowner tends to her garden and dedicates her time to various landscaping projects that make her worthy of being a "Featured Homeowner" as part of HOK’s Mauka to Makai (M2M) Home Care and Landscaping Program
This Kāneʻohe Bay Drive family has lived in this house in Kaneohe for over 20 years and have worked hard to transform the property to include beautiful and functional landscaping features throughout this almost half acre property.
For a number of years, the family has been dealing storm water flooding along the foundation/base of their home, and even into their outdoor laundry room, but found a creative and beautiful solution to flooding problems by placing sandbags along one side of the property.
For a number of years, the family has been dealing storm water flooding along the foundation/base of their home, and even into their outdoor laundry room, but found a creative and beautiful solution to flooding problems by placing sandbags along one side of the property. Where they were once receiving the most water, a beautiful, 60 foot planter was installed along the fence. The planter not only covers up the sandbags (which would be somewhat of an eye sore if left uncovered) but it also created the perfect area for a beautiful vegetable garden. There is egg plant, green beans, cucumbers, kale and peppers in the garden. There are also two other raised beds in the yard, one with a thriving tomato plant that just sprouted on its own. Near by the garden, she has two composting units that help her create nice compost from her food and green waste to use in her garden.
In addition to the vegetable gardens, there are also various trees planted around the property, including lime, pomegranate and fig. The homeowner picked up these trees for free at the Hawaii Electronic Company’s sponsored Arbor Day tree sale. (http://www.arbordayhawaii.org/events/oahu.htm)
Additionally, the homeowner installed a rain barrel that is connected to two of the down spouts in the backyard. The homeowner attended the Honolulu Board of Water Supply Rain Barrel Workshop (http://www.hbws.org/cssweb/display.cfm?sid=2091) and learned how to properly install the rain barrel herself. She also utilized the free rain barrel and fixtures that were provided during the workshop. The top of the rain barrel is covered with mesh to keep out the bugs and mosquitoes, but the mesh still allows the water from the downspout to enter into the rain barrel. There is nozzle at the bottom of the rain barrel which can be connected to a hose or used to water the vegetables and flowers. The addition of a rain barrel in the back yard allows the homeowner to utilize the rain water for watering purposes rather than paying for city water from the hose or faucet.
Another new feature in this homeowner’s outdoor landscape is the recent addition of a lilikoi vine, which sprouted on its own in one of the planters along the side of the house. The homeowner created a trellis with eyehooks and small twine along the side of the house and the lilikoi has grown up along the trellis. The area where this lilikoi is planted is watered by a small drip of water condensation from the air conditioning unit, which is piped into the outside planter.
Additional features of the house include a beautiful outdoor shower that is filled with smooth river rocks, stepping stones and various hanging air plants, which create a tranquil grotto experience along the side of the house. Furthermore, the there is a lovely lanai area with outdoor seating next to an enticing hot tub underneath a beautiful pergola. The best part of the hot tub is that solar panels cover the top of the pergola and are used to power the hot tub as well as other electric needs, including two refrigerators and air conditioning. There is also a solar hot water heater as well for the tub and showers. The homeowners previously spent around $900 on electricity every month and now they spend as little as $17 (usually no more than $130) on their electric bill each month.
The homeowners do most of their own gardening and landscaping, which is highly commendable considering the extent of their property which they keep neatly maintained. For additional landscaping help, they hire Carbon Zero Aina (http://carbonzeroaina.com/), a landscaping company providing zero emissions and zero noise pollution landscaping services and natural, non-chemical yard care solutions.
With the beauty of our Kāneʻohe Bay’s turquoise waters viewed right out the front yard, it seems that this view would be a daily reminder of the importance of protecting this incredible natural landscape. Thankfully when the homeowner’s backs are turned to the view out their front door, they are still considering Hawaii’s fragile ecosystem and doing their part to protect ocean health by restoring the āina in their own back yard.
Featured This Homeowner is Protecting Ocean Health By Starting in Her Own Backyard!
Among the hustle and bustle usually occurring along Kaiolena Drive in Lanikai, most people don’t even realize that behind a tall mock orange tree hedge is the lush and peaceful property of 25 year Lanikai resident. Located directly across from Lanikai Park, this property is an excellent example of beautiful landscaping that also includes best management practices for addressing stormwater runoff on a residential property. Susan has installed pervious pavers, rain chains and lush vegetation throughout her property, which allows all the stormwater that is generated on her property to stay on her property. For the homeowner, these home improvements added to the aesthetic of her property and unbeknownst to her, she is actually helping to protect the beautiful turquoise waters and important coral reef ecosystem off of Lanikai Beach, just a block away from her residence.
The homeowner originally contacted HOK because she was interested in installing a rain garden on her property. When HOK staff arrived at her house to do an initial site assessment, they were extremely impressed by the exemplary stormwater best management practices that had already been implemented on the property.
In 2000, the homeowner decided to rip out the unsightly black asphalt in her driveway and install more aesthetically appealing pavers from Futura Stone (www.fturastonehawaii.com). She chose AQUAPave, which are pervious pavers that allow stormwater to be absorbed into the ground beneath the pavement. Pervious pavers are an attractive and innovative solution for dealing with stormwater. AQUAPave boasts lower construction and life-cycle costs; elimination of surface runoff; and removal of 99% of oil and hydrocarbons and 97% of heavy metals, which are common pollutants from cars parked on driveways and roads.
The homeowner also disconnected her downspouts and installed rain chains (http://www.rainchainsstore.com) as a beautiful addition to her outdoor landscape. In addition to aesthetic appeal, rain chains also help to slow down the water flowing from a roof and gutter system and allow the water to slowly enter the soil beneath the rain chain, so that it has a better chance of replenishing the aquifer.
Lastly, this property has beautiful landscaping, with lush vegetation covering almost every square foot of her property. Some of the native plants on her property include akia, kalo and kupuku fern. There is also a nice assortment of tropical plants including mango, ginger, plumaria and lauaʻe ferns.
Since Susan’s property is so densely vegetated, the plants act as a sponge during storms and soak up all of the rain water so that no water even has a change to leave her property and enter a storm drain, stream or go into the nearby ocean.
Susan is an exemplary homeowner in that she is concerned with taking care of her home. By installing a few key items on her property, she is doing her part in helping to protect ocean health by restoring the āina: mauka to makai.
The mission of Hui o Ko`olaupoko is to protect ocean health by restoring the `aina: mauka to makai. This is done in partnership with stakeholders including interested citizens, non-governmental organizations, government, educational institutions and businesses while using and focusing on sound ecological principles, community input, and cultural heritage.