Sustainability is all about creating a long-lasting landscape that thrives with less maintenance and fewer inputs such as irrigation, fertilizer and herbicides. Sustainability means creating a healthy growing environment on your Kauai commercial property so plants will stay healthy. But you might be wondering, how much will it cost to have a landscape that’s “green?”
There’s no easy answer to the cost question because sustainability is not a package deal. It’s a tailored approach that begins with analyzing soil, understanding your property’s microclimate (and respecting that during plant selection), and investing in materials that will stand the test of time.
There’s an initial investment when installing a sustainable landscape, especially if you’re improving land that needs extra TLC. Pinpointing a dollar amount is difficult because one property might need more attention to soil quality, while another might require an upgraded smart irrigation system.
The good news is, you can establish a plan for installing a sustainable landscape on Kauai and accomplish the tasks in phases. Here are five key areas of the landscape to address as you work toward creating a more sustainable environment.
Sustainable Landscaping On Kauai Starts With Soil
A soil test will reveal whether your property has a rich foundation for growing healthy plants and turf, and if not you’re probably spending extra time and resources on supplemental “nourishment” like water and fertilizer. Even sustainable Kauai landscapes require care, but when the soil is well-balanced and in good condition, your landscape will naturally grow healthy and strong.
So, first address soil quality and expect to add amendments such as mulch and compost to improve its profile and pH level. You can plan on adding 2 to 4 inches of soil amendment material to existing soil, which is an initial expense you will not have to repeat to this extent once the condition has improved.
Mind The Microclimates: Right Plant, Right Place
Our favorite sayings here at No Ka Oi is, “Right plant, right place.” We set a landscape up for success when we select plants that will thrive given the property’s soil content, sun exposure, rainfall and general infrastructure.
First, there are Kauai’s microclimates to consider. Your weather, from precipitation to wind exposure, will vary depending on where you live. Also, there are site-specific issues to consider. For example, you want to avoid planting close to power lines or buildings, and understand a plant’s growth patterns so you can opt for slower growing varieties near walkways. (Otherwise, aggressive root systems can disrupt pavement and damage the plant, as well.)
Introduce Smart Irrigation
In Hawaii, and specifically on Kauai, your commercial property will need some type of irrigation system to help deliver moisture to plants’ root systems. It’s nearly impossible to go without watering, otherwise you’ll sacrifice the health of your plants and end up spending money to replace them.
That said, today’s irrigation technology helps systems run efficiently and effectively. For one, you’ll want to invest in a weather-based smart controller that shuts off the system during rainfall and when the ground does not need additional watering. This saves water, and your budget. Drip irrigation is also an option for landscape beds.
Invest In Long-Lasting Landscape Materials
You get what you pay for. You can spend very little on a landscape lighting system — box stores sell kits — but the materials are cheap and won’t last, especially on a commercial property. On the other hand, some landscape lighting companies offer warranties covering the entire life of the product. The same is true for irrigation systems, and even plant material.
Cutting corners by choosing low-budget options for your property can end up costing you more because of the expenses you’ll incur when you must replace faulty products or weak plants.
Select Sustainable Plants and Turf
Understand the maintenance requirements of the plants and turf you select for your Kauai commercial property. Opt for a hardy turfgrass that requires little care, in terms of irrigation, fertilization and weed control. One such variety is El Toro Zoysiagrass, which is disease-resistant and handles heavy foot traffic.
Smart, Sustainable Landscaping Saves On Maintenance
The goal of installing a sustainable landscape is to reduce the “inputs” your commercial Kauai property will require. Initial investments in installing a sustainable landscape — improving soil quality, selecting appropriate plants, choosing a water-smart irrigation system — pay off in reduced maintenance expenses over time.
Let’s talk more about the cost of installing a sustainable landscape and where to start. Call us any time at 808-335-5887, or fill out this simple contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.