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Project Portfolio: Friendly, and eco-friendly, too

August 15, 2012 -  By

The Mission
Maintain, in an environmentally sustainable way, a traditionally cultural open space for this restaurant’s customers—and the public.

The Beach House Restaurant on Kauai, Hawaii, has faced many challenges over the past three decades, including restoring the entire property after two separate hurricanes (Iwa, in 1982, and Iniki 10 years later) wiped out the restaurant and covered the remaining ground in ocean sand. During both reconstructions, the owners chose to keep the space open and environmentally friendly.

Lawn maintenance in a high-traffic area has expected challenges, but the addition of regularly occurring Pacific Ocean saltwater spray, and the proximity to the ocean edge, create special conditions. The lawn area is planted with seashore paspalum grass, and the public has direct contact with the lawn.

With that in mind, No Ka Oi Landscape Services (NKO), Hannapepe, Hawaii, has implemented this environmentally sustainable lawn maintenance plan:

1. Seashore paspalum is the “right plant in the right place,” as it is a saltwater-tolerant species.

2. Weekly mowing with a reel mower keeps the lawn cropped and carpet-like.

3. Lawn clippings are left behind, providing natural nitrogen and acting as “sunscreen” for the lawn.

4. The irrigation system is closely monitored to minimize overwatering. Keeping the irrigation at optimal settings inhibits weed growth and fungus problems.

5. Slow-release fertilizers, dispensed with accurate calibration, minimize leeching nitrogen into the ocean.

6. Verticutting twice a year controls thatch, thus naturally reducing diseases.

7. Annual aeration and the application of 20 tons of sand create a healthy environment for grass.

The Work
1 | Ocean view. The early morning salt mist settles on the property.

2 | Pretty as a picture. Tourists and locals alike take advantage of the carpet-like texture of the lawn and the Pacific Ocean view.
The constant traffic means regular lawn maintenance is crucial.

3 | Vertical integration. The NKO crew vericuts the lawn twice a year.

4 | Two-step process. Although weekly cuttings are left behind for mulch, the verticutting must be raked and cleaned up.

5 | Smart accessorizing. The lawn is the star here, but planting beds are natural and full, adding to the beauty. It’s worth noting that when small weeds are found in the lawn during regular inspections, they are immediately treated with salt.

“We’re big. We’re beautiful. And we’re nice.” That’s the motto behind the family-owned No Ka Oi Landscaping Services, founded by Frank and Abby Santos in 1977. Focusing on commercial, resort and high-end residential development properties in Kauai, Hawaii, the company boasts three divisions, approximately 25 employees, and a full 13-acre private nursery, where it grows plants exclusively for clients.

This project garnered a 41st Annual Environmental Improvement Grand Award from the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET). For more information, visit

Photos: No Ka Oi Landscape Services

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LM Staff

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