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.
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.