It's all Green to Me: Bioscape Brings Conscious Landscaping to the Forefront

Lauren Finney Harden | April 21, 2021 | Home & Real Estate

Micah Barker of Bioscape Hawaii (bioscapehawaii.com) brings the best—and most sustainable—landscapes to island homes.


Kawaihae Cultural Surf Park. PHOTO BY ELEMENTS AND DESIGNS LLC/COURTESY OF BIOSCAPE HAWAII LLC
Kawaihae Cultural Surf Park. PHOTO BY ELEMENTS AND DESIGNS LLC/COURTESY OF BIOSCAPE HAWAII LLC

What’s unique about landscaping in Hawai‘i? It includes a responsibility to stewardship of the land. This place is special not only for its incredible beauty and biodiversity but also for the fragility of its native ecosystems. Our coastal lava fields are home to over 50% of the world’s 700 anchialine ponds. These brackish pools, made of freshwater and saltwater, house some of the rarest crustaceans, eels and fish species known to man. Unfortunately, Hawai‘i also has some of the highest rates of species extinction on the planet.

Given this, all our landscaping projects prioritize water conservation, planting native plants and creating chemical-free landscapes that provide a safe habitat and rich forage for our pollinator species, which supports Hawai‘i’s greater ecosystems.

What does being a conscious landscape company mean? Luxury homes on Hawai‘i’s West Coast are built on an extremely porous lava substrate. This means any substance that touches this ground has a high propensity for leaching into our water supply and coastal marine habitat. Conventional luxury landscaping is usually unaware of these factors, resulting in exorbitant water application and toxic runoff polluting our groundwater and coastlines. With irrigation easily accounting for 75% to 90% of the water being used at residential resort properties, we as landscapers have a tremendous opportunity to conserve and protect our islands’ precious water resources for generations to come.


A state-of-the-art conservation landscape with an ocean view PHOTO: BY CLUB SULLIVAN INC.
A state-of-the-art conservation landscape with an ocean view PHOTO BY CLUB SULLIVAN INC.

As a conscious landscaping company, we’re drawing attention to these issues and correcting these mistakes. We’re committed to protecting and rehabilitating our home, our natural resources and our wildlife through the work that we do.


Micah Barker, founder of Bioscape Hawaii PHOTO: BY HENRY HOUGHTON
Micah Barker, founder of Bioscape Hawaii PHOTO BY HENRY HOUGHTON

You offer landscape design and construction? There is a tremendous advantage to working with designers who can think like builders and builders who can think like designers. Furthermore, as a company that has years of experience installing landscaping and evaluating the results, we know the plants, materials and construction techniques that perform best, and this wisdom is incorporated into all of our designs.


An organically managed landscape. PHOTO: COURTESY OF BIOSCAPE HAWAII LLC
An organically managed landscape. PHOTO COURTESY OF BIOSCAPE HAWAII LLC

Name one of your favorite projects? The most unique landscaping project we’ve installed was at the world-class Kuki‘o Resort community in North Kona on the Big Island. It is a state-of-the-art conservation luxury landscape, which uses zero chemicals and 75% less irrigation water, compared to the best-performing conventionally designed landscapes in this community.


A tropical conservation landscape entrance PHOTO: BY ELEMENTS AND DESIGNS LLC
A tropical conservation landscape entrance PHOTO BY ELEMENTS AND DESIGNS LLC

To achieve this, we employed rainwater harvesting gardens, native and drought-adapted plants, a custom organic soil blend engineered to retain moisture and nutrients, and a remotely monitored, high-precision irrigation system. We hope this landscape will not only serve as a model for sustainable resort development but also inspire other landscape professionals to take a role in the restoration of Hawai‘i’s precious ecosystems.



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