As the Island of Kauai’s largest retail center and only regional mall, Kukui Grove Center never takes a day off. It can’t.
From island residents to vacationing tourists, this 50-acre regional mall has to look its best from sun up to sundown, every day. And it relies on its landscaping to help make that excellent first impression.
“Landscaping is such an integral part of creating a productive retail environment,” says Wade Lord, Asset Manager, Kukui Grove Center.
“If consumers are going to spend money, they need to feel good about where they are shopping.”
It wasn’t many years ago that Kukui Grove Center was a property that presented a number of landscaping and maintenance challenges:
- The entryway had been neglected and needed a makeover to reflect the shopping center’s status in the community.
- The sloped land required special plant material consideration and erosion-control measures.
- Age-old Norfolk pine trees on the land had been severely damaged by a hurricane that swept through the island nearly 20 years ago. The trees never recovered.
- The concrete areas within the shopping confines were monotonous and lacked functional seating for visitors.
In working closely with Kukui Grove’s management team, this property symbolized a place where No Ka Oi could make a difference.
We challenged our design and landscaping team to restore and re-energize the landscape of this important Kauai commercial property, focusing on proper techniques for commercial landscaping on a slope and creating powerful curb appeal for this retail landmark.
Before No Ka Oi’s commercial landscaping renovation, Kukui Grove Center lacked a great “first impression” entryway that shoppers expect from a prominent retail property.
According to No Ka Oi’s Abby Santos, Kukui Grove’s curb appeal was not conducive to attracting retail stores or creating a memorable impression with shoppers, whether locals or tourists. Therefore it was imperative to create an entryway that reflected its prominence in the community, which became our top priority.
“We made it our personal mission to design a landscape entryway that shows people all this property has to offer,” Abby says. This was especially important as the property increased occupancy rates which enabled them to attract national retail stores such as Pier One, Sports Authority, and Macy’s.
Whenever an element in your landscaping can serve more than a single purpose, the more valuable the feature becomes to you and your guests. The raised planters throughout the shopping confines of Kukui Grove Center are a perfect example of that.
Short walls with smooth tops set at a sitting-appropriate height encompass the planters. This amenity gives Kukui Grove visitors another opportunity to sit down, rest, and spend more time on site.
These seasonal and colorfully functional planters also excel at breaking up the monotony of hardscape and concrete areas — common on many commercial properties.
“One thing I really like about No Ka Oi is they spend a great deal of time coming up with ideas and suggestions,” he says. “It’s a partnership in that regard. Where it’s not a top-down kind of relationship where we have to come up with the ideas and they execute them. It’s a collaboration where ideas are shared and encouraged.”
From Kukui Grove’s entryway renovation to seasonal planters that double as guest seating, the client is very happy with the quality and overall look of the retail center’s landscaping.
Commercial landscaping is an investment that requires upgrades and continued maintenance.