This Oceanfront Property Gets a Landscaping Makeover

A North Shore home sits pretty by the water.
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Photos: Aaron K. Yoshino

This awe-inspiring home along sunset beach on Oahu’s North Shore is a surfer’s dream house and a wholesome place for the homeowners and their children to enjoy inside and out. 

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Navigating from the side of the house to the backyard is easier with the addition of LED Beachside Lighting and existing tiki torches. Steve’s Gardening Service implemented puka lava pavers on the lawn to help keep the mud down and to prevent falls.

The oceanfront property wasn’t always this picture perfect. The overgrown vegetation, loose gravel and massive boulders of the original landscape weren’t suitable to the current homeowners’ lifestyle. They needed a place that would be ideal for their active family and able to withstand the coastal climate. 

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On either side of the house, low-maintenance plants that can handle the coastal climate hug the perimeter, including tall areca palm trees for added privacy.

To remedy this, Steve Dewald of Steve’s Gardening Service was tasked with bringing the landscape design by Steve Mechler to life — allowing the family to fully enjoy their outdoor spaces. 

“It was just loose river-rock pebbles,” shares Dewald of what the space was like. “It was like walking on marbles. It was dangerous and slippery.” 

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Right outside the kitchen are cedar planter boxes with fresh herbs and lettuce that the homeowners planted.

At the front of the home, concrete was put in to create a courtyard, which the homeowners had decided on to make it easier for the kids and to cut down on maintenance. Drainage for the home included drain chains — as part of the original house design — and Dewald and his team installed a new drainage system with multiple flow wells that allow water to percolate back into the ground.  

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The lawn was expanded and features El Toro Zoysia grass for ease of maintenance. Now, the homeowners’ ocean view can be taken in from all areas of the yard.

Plant selection included low-maintenance and salt-tolerant options, such as colorful heliconia, song of India, and a variety of monstera. On both sides of the house, tall areca palm trees provide shade and a natural privacy screen from the neighboring home. LED lights from Beachside Lighting were installed along the concrete pathway to help guide family and friends to the main attraction: the expanded backyard. 

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Puka lava pavers line a path to the beach, which is mere steps away from their backyard.

Once filled with massive boulders and overgrown vegetation, the backyard was remade by Steve’s Gardening Service into a large clean lawn with space to relax and play. Many of the boulders were repurposed into the new design. Now, it all looks intentional, mentions Dewald, with some boulders used as seating and one becoming a natural rock fire pit. 

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This little community space serves as a seating area with lawn chairs and repurposed boulders to sit on. It’s centered around a natural rock fire pit made from one of the boulders. 

Puka lava pavers were used in the back corners of the yard to keep mud down, adds Dewald, and some line a path to the beach. An outdoor shower attaches to a coconut tree, making it easy to rinse off after a day of surfing and swimming. 

For Dewald and his team, the biggest reward was working one-on-one with the owners and tweaking plans all along the way to help personalize the project.  

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The family can rinse off in this outdoor shower after a dip in the ocean. The shower hugs a coconut tree and blends into the surroundings.

“It’s a clean simple layout where they can come out and enjoy the beach,” says Dewald, adding that nothing can compete with the picture-perfect view from the lanai. 

The family can now embrace all that the home has to offer. They can run and play along the wide-open lawn, head out to the beach in seconds or relax and lounge about with multiple seating areas and a hammock strung up between two trees. In the evenings, family and friends can gather around the natural fire pit to talk story, look up at the stars and enjoy the cool ocean breeze. 

Categories: Landscape Design