Growing a Vision at Kauai’s Keoki’s Paradise

For No Ka Oi, caring for the landscape at Keoki’s Paradise on Kauai is a lot like nurturing a child and watching him grow and change over the years. The restaurant and shopping district on Kauai’s south side has partnered with No Ka Oi since the late 1970s, and over the years managers there have become friends.

Over time, No Ka Oi has seen Keoki’s Paradise through renovations of its interior plant displays in the restaurant, extensive exterior landscaping overhauls to shrink a pond, and now an exciting outdoor lighting project that will change the way the Kauai property looks after dark.

“We have a beautiful restaurant, and we like to keep it beautiful, so No Ka Oi helps us do that,” says Manette Decota, a manager at Keoki’s Paradise, who has been on site for more than 20 years. “During that time, we have always been with No Ka Oi,” she says.

What’s different about this property’s paradise is that it is not situated on the ocean like others, points out Abby Santos, co-owner with Frank Santos of No Ka Oi Landscape Services. “They have invested a lot in making it into a paradise with a landscape and pond,” she says, noting that the property’s lush plants and tropical appeal attract visitors and regulars to the restaurant and retail area.

All told, there is 2,500 square feet of exterior landscaping at Keoki’s Paradise that No Ka Oi maintains and helps reinvent over time so its design stays current and accommodates its business needs. “Frank and Abby Santos really have a vision for what Keoki’s Paradise and its restaurant is looking for as far as landscaping,” Decosta says.

Sharing a Vision

Keoki's Paradise pond and landscapeWork at Keoki’s Paradise began with its interior plants decades ago. At the time, the style was to fill indoor spaces with an abundance of tropical plants to create a rainforest feel.

Keoki’s was at the cutting edge of interior landscaping trends and enlisted in No Ka Oi to maintain and help design its interiorscape.

“In those days, interior plants were huge and they had plants all over the place,” Santos relates, noting that Keoki’s has since curbed its indoor plant selection to create a more sleek, clean look.

Because Keoki’s Paradise trusted No Ka Oi with its plants inside, the property managers felt comfortable turning over the entire landscape maintenance package over to Abby and Frank Santos, and their team.

Meanwhile, responsiveness and professionalism are key priorities for the Keoki’s Paradise managers, who place a priority on providing an exceptional guest experience.

The vendors they hire to assist with maintenance must have work cultures that align with their own. “The No Ka Oi team is awesome—they are friendly, their staff is friendly, they are professional and they do great work,” Decosta says of the partnership.

Partnership is a key word, because that level of trust and understanding is critical when maintaining and helping realize a vision for the Kauai tourist attraction. “We went through two hurricanes with them,” Santos says of seeing Keoki’s Paradise through rough patches—and celebrating its success at annual anniversary parties there.

Keoki’s Paradise involves No Ka Oi in its property planning so it can evolve and stay relevant. “When you are working with a client for many years, you really get to know their property’s needs and can provide that consultative, professional insight they need to take their landscape to the next level,” Santos says.

Landscape Updates: Staying Relevant, Adding Ambiance

Keoki's Paradise pond and landscapingPart of updating the landscape at Keoki’s Paradise so it would continue to be a highly attractive property on Kauai included shrinking a pond to create more space for restaurant seating.

“The redoing of our pond area was major, and we had to construct the landscaping to work around it,” Decosta says. “No Ka Oi’s teams came in on a daily basis and worked during business hours—and were very professional. They had their people doing everything we needed.”

Indeed, the pond project was significant, Santos says. Parts of the pond had to be removed completely in order to reduce the landscape’s size and increase restaurant capacity.

The smaller pond feels more intimate, and surrounding landscape complements the natural rocks and waterfall while blending with the rest of the Kauai property.

Meanwhile, for years No Ka Oi has suggested landscape lighting to illuminate the property and highlight its many layers. Now, Keoki’s Paradise is taking on that outdoor lighting project. “When you look outside at night, with the lighting you’ll see depth and that will extend the dynamic of the landscape,” Santos says.

Lighting up branching and bamboo will create focal points and texture against a dark-sky backdrop.

To be sure the lighting is just right, No Ka Oi installs a portion of the lights at night. “That way we can make adjustments as necessary,” Santos relates, adding that the lighting will create even more usable outdoor space for the popular restaurant. “Here in Hawaii, we all want to be outside at night enjoying our surroundings,” she says.

Growing Together

Pond and landscaping at Keoki's ParadiseNo Ka Oi has grown up caring for Keoki’s Paradise—and the team has truly taken ownership over the health and beauty of its grounds, as well as its landscape’s quality and safety.

With any commercial landscape, safety of the guests and of those who work on the site is critical, Santos points out, noting that No Ka Oi has received numerous awards recognizing its robust safety efforts over the years.   

Meanwhile, No Ka Oi’s Frank and Abby Santos have passed the responsibility of overseeing landscape maintenance at Keoki’s Paradise to their son, Kanani. He has been visiting and working on the property since he was a young boy, Abby Santos says.

“I remember when he was young and would ask, ‘Mom, will you take me to Keoki’s please? Let me help!” Santos says fondly.

These valuable, longtime relationships result in memorable landscapes that guests experience, too, Santos adds.

There’s no replacement for trust and understanding a client’s vision—and the knowledge and experience to execute resort-level landscape design and installation. “We are so happy we have chosen No Ka Oi to do our landscape here at Keoki’s Paradise,” Decosta says. “They saw the vision and helped us to put in landscaping areas that look beautiful.”

    

Highlights

  • Keoki's Paradise has partnered with No Ka Oi Landscape Services since the late 1970s
  • Extensive enhancements to the property have included interior plant displays, renovation of their pond and surrounding landscape as well as outdoor lighting.
  • There is 2,500 square feet of exterior landscaping at Keoki’s Paradise that No Ka Oi maintains.
  • No Ka Oi led the significant pond renovation project on the property, shrinking the pond to create more space for restaurant seating.
  • Outdoor lighting is being added to the landscape to create even more usable outdoor space for the popular restaurant.

Testimonial

Manette Decosta, Manager, Keoki's Paradise

We are so happy we have chosen No Ka Oi to do our landscape here at Keoki’s Paradise. They saw the vision and helped us to put in landscaping areas that look beautiful.

Manette Decosta, Manager, Keoki's Paradise