Hawaiʻi Region

Ocean Friendly Gardens

Improving water quality through thoughtful landscaping

The Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) Program is Surfrider Foundation’s volunteer-run landscape education, hands-on training and advocacy program. In addition to providing valuable information to property owners on how landscapes and hardscapes can prevent water pollution, Surfrider chapters are using this program to encourage landscape professionals to incorporate the program’s principles into their business practices. Chapters also use the program to motivate local governments to support OFG-oriented policy changes for existing and new development.

Water runoff is the #1 source of ocean pollution in urban areas, contributing to flooding and wasting water that can irrigate landscapes and replenish groundwater.

What is an Ocean Friendly Garden?

OFGs apply CPR – Conservation, Permeability and Retention – to landscapes, hardscapes and streets. They allow soil to act like a sponge to help restore the helpful functions of watersheds like protecting local water supplies and preventing pollution from reaching the ocean. They also reduce flooding during storm events, pull carbon from the air and into plants and soil, and create wildlife habitat (above is a typical OFG and below is a curb cut flowing into a bio-swale).

OFGs apply what is coming to be known around the country as the watershed approach. The principles are the same: healthy, living soil; retain rainwater; climate-appropriate plants; efficient supplemental irrigation as needed.

You can stay in touch with OFG through our national OFG Facebook page. Please connect or volunteer with one of the Surfrider chapters or student clubs.

Oahu’s Kaka’ako OFG

The Oahu Chapter maintains the community Kaka’ako Ocean Friendly Garden, an 11,000 square foot garden located across from the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). The lot for the Kaka’ako Garden was provided to the Chapter from Kamehameha Schools. The Garden currently serves as a community gathering space and supports native plants and fruit trees. As a partnership between Surfrider Oahu and Permablitz Hawaiʻi, this garden has transformed from a  trash-filled lot into a beautiful thriving garden and a model for ocean protection and local food security.

Check out the Oahu Chapter’s events calendar for future garden workdays and workshops.  Please contact the Oahu Chapter Volunteer Coordinator at volunteer@oahu.surfrider.org with questions on how to get more involved!