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Ocean Friendly Gardens

Ocean Friendly Gardens are designed so that water slows down, spreads out, and sinks in. The goal is to develop healthy living soil to filter pollutants and to hold onto water. This program recognizes yards and gardens that use these practices with a sign to display. We have a list of criteria which can be thought of as techniques to follow. If your garden is Ocean Friendly, please contact us to get a sign for your yard.


Gardening in Hawaii can be a joy and a challenge. While our perpetual growing season allows us to cultivate plants year-round, it allows pests to thrive and soil to become compacted. It takes care and time to grow here without excessive chemicals. Even for those who don’t live near the ocean, how people manage their yards and gardens impact the health of Hawaii’s marine environment.

Our lands affect the ocean through the quality and the quantity of water that runs off into streams and storm drains. In times of heavy rain or over-irrigation, fertilizers, pesticides, oils, cleaning solutions, and debris wash into the street, into the drains, and ultimately, into the sea. Harmful run-off can be prevented by watering appropriately, landscaping with climate-appropriate plants, and using natural products to fertilize and augment soil.

What you can do

• Mulch, mulch, mulch to retain water, keep down weeds, amend soil, and deter disease.
• Avoid over-watering in order to reduce run-off and pest infestations such as mold and mealy bugs. Watering properly, using correctly adjusted sprinklers, and using drip irrigation will help the soil soak up and retain water.
• Use compost and natural fertilizers to build the soil, rather than degrade it.
• Avoid using harmful pesticides and chemicals around your home.
• Introduce landscaping that is drought and pest-resistant.
• Consider replacing lawns with an attractive alternative. Manicured lawns can require a lot of water and excess water (run-off) carries any fertilizers and herbicides.
• Increase permeability by reducing pavement or adding permeable areas in driveways, paths, and patios directing runoff into landscapes

Spread your knowledge and build your own Ocean Friendly Garden! Contact