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If you are considering the sale of your home in the near future, do not ignore the most important welcome sign: “Curb Appeal”. Yes, overlook this important element and you will struggle to convince prospective buyers to even get out of their car! A beautifully landscaped property with outdoor structures will elevate your home to the enviable status of “the must have” property on their list. Let’s start this discussion with a few terms used in the islands. Maybe you

had a porch, veranda or patio on the mainland, although the pu’trpose is the same in Hawaii, we call these structures a lanai or a deck. A “covered” lanai is connected to the home with shared walls and usually, but not always, under the original roof. The foundation is poured concrete. There is always a wide open space to the yard. This is similar to a porch. If the lanai has no covering, it might still be called a lanai (not a covered lanai) in Hawaii, but would be a patio in other areas of the country. A deck is elevated above the ground and has a railing. Even if the deck wraps the house on more than one side, it is not called a veranda in Hawaii. Other desirable lawn structures include: a gazebo, usually elevated with a railing; a pergola, which is a structure often covered with vines near the entryway or above a lanai; and a trellis, to support flowering vines in a garden setting. With these terms in mind, let’s explore four ways to increase the curb appeal of your home.

Let’s first consider landscaping. Consumers value a landscaped home 11.3% higher than the same home without good landscaping! Clearly landscaping is worth the effort! Patchy and discolored lawns are an eyesore, especially when they are the final resting place for unwanted items. We have terrific resources in Hawaii, which are free, to dispose of trash and green waste. There is no excuse to have any space in a yard used (however small) as a dump site! Instead,

make sure your yard is alive with tropical and colorful plants, which are thriving, not gasping for a final breath.

The use of a lawn varies with personal preference. If your yard is covered with gravel and a few isolated plantings, be advised this may be too taste specific for most buyers, especially if they have children. On the other hand, a small scale Asian-inspired theme can be lovely. In general, a lawn over 5,000 square feet in size with nothing but gravel is significantly less appealing than a lush tropical garden.

Even more challenging than gravel is a yard filled with a significant amount of concrete. If this expansive concrete slab is off the driveway and you have a boat to store, great! If it takes up most of the back yard, it is a deal killer. Any element of a home which would be hard to change by the homeowner without a major expense, such as jack hammering a concrete slab or removing tile, is enough to turn off a potential buyer.

For those with a green thumb, fruit trees are popular and easy to grow in Hawaii. Keep in mind the size of your lot when planting a large fruit tree, especially mango and avocado. These trees will eventually take up the lawn and can create structural problems with your slab or an unwelcome intrusion into your sewer lines. Do not plant trees on the property line where they can compromise your neighbor’s fence and add unwanted debris in their yard.

Unless you have significant acreage, consider dwarf varieties for your citrus trees, since the fruit is just as delicious and so much easier to pick.

Even though banana plants are treated as a backdrop in tropical gardens, keep in mind they multiply every year. Other plants, which will spread, are Areca palms, although they do create privacy. It is always a good idea to consult a garden center for suggestions before you consider the layout of your gardens.

Plants which will be less ornery are Ti plants, Croton, Hibiscus, Bird of Paradise, Heliconia, Gingers, etc. These tropic flowers, once established, thrive well in the islands and add color to your gardens. There are many flowers to compliment your beds, local plants often are the best fit. With regard to grasses, the newsletter from March (“Surf or Turf”) detailed information about selections. You can always find back issues of the newsletter on my website:

The second way to increase curb appeal is with a lanai. Fifty one percent of buyers surveyed by said that outdoor living was the most attractive quality in a home, even over open floor plans and curb appeal! And there’s more: Outdoor living spaces defined as kitchens and lanais were the second most popular trend in outdoor design following landscaping and gardening. Lanais and decks are high on the wish list for homeowners and buyers, a whopping 98% want them! Whether you choose a raised deck or a lanai with flagstone or tile, you will likely make an 87% return on this investment. Not too bad!

Pergolas and or a trellis also add value. Pergolas are open structures typically used to support vines, much as a trellis, but on a bigger scale. Woody vines, such as Stephanotis (the wedding flower), are a perfect choice for a pergola . Installing a pergola, instead of a roof, over an existing lanai, will provide natural shade and a beautiful garden feature. Trellises are also used to support the growth of popular vines, such as Pikake, Pakalana, Liliko’i, etc. and add charm and fragrance in any landscaped lawn.

The fourth way to make your outdoor space more appealing is with a kitchen. Most experts estimate homeowners with outdoor kitchens will increase the value of the home. If the house is grand and has a level lawn overlooking the ocean or with a majestic mountain view, imagine the

thrilling parties you will enjoy. After all, in Hawaii the outdoor living spaces can be enjoyed year round. Lucky you live in Hawaii. Yay!


A few weeks ago I went to have dinner at Akira Japanese Restaurant. Now I am waiting to have a chance to go back and savor even more delicious Japanese dishes since I heard it was a combination of kaiseki with izakaya food so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Kaiseki is the supreme form of Japanese food- an array of artistic appearing dishes with a progression of seasonal and local dishes. It begins with raw to steamed, simmered and sweet. Izakaya

food is Japanese pub food often local grilled, fried and fresh paired with your favorite drink.

Akira offers $48 kaiseki and $85 omakase (Chef’s choice) tasting menus along with a full izakaya spread. The 8 course $48 kaiseki is a real bargain and only offered from 5-5:30 pm. I particularly enjoyed the second course a fresh tomato poke with wakame seaweed, light soy sauce bright plum, shiso leaf, onion and togarashi (7 ingredients) spice. The Kauai shrimp was grilled and butterflied. It had creamy meat-delish. Other tasty dishes were a chawanmushi egg custare with chickien, shiitake mushroom and seafood in its smooth depth. This was followed by a fresh sashimi course and then my favorite butterfish (fried black cod) coated in a light potato starch. Need I continue, fried soft shell crab, beef lightly grilled, sushi and a miso soup with prawn. Uni (sea urchin) is presented in different ways including on the beef filet. Many people do not care for it but I encourage you to try and be both surprised and pleased. I paired several dishes with sake from his extensive stock.

Would I be ambitious enough to try the omakase menu? That needs to be ordered the day before. Only ten of the $48 kaiseki menu are available. Please make a reservation since the restaurant is very popular. They do have there own parking lot. Bring a friend or two and enjoy.

Akira Japanese Restaurant 1150 S. King St, #101-B Makiki Parking entrance on Young Street between Pensacola and Piikoi 376-0928 Mon-Sat 5:30 – 10 p.m



The Ninth Annual Food and Wine Festival is scheduled from October 5th to the 27th. The events on Oahu begin on the 23rd at different venues. For reservations and more information, check out their website:

October 5th and 6th at Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu there will be an Intertribal Powwow with members representing North American and Alaskan tribes. This event will feature dancing, singing, performances, native drumming, crafts and much more. The hours are from 10 AM to 5 PM on both days.

October 6th the Aloha Home Market will be open from 9 AM until 2 PM at 340 Uluniu Street in Kailua. There you will find local crafts, furniture and tasty food.

If you love celebrating Halloween, Aloun Farms invites you to join them for their Great Kapolei Pumpkin Picking Festival. There will be hayrides, pony rides, plus games and food for the entire family. Don’t forget to pick your pumpkin. The festival will be

Saturday and Sunday of the second, third and fourth weekend of October. For more information visit their website:

October 12th. The free movie this month at the Sunset on the Beach series is “Ralph Breaks the Internet”. This is the ultimate outdoor movie venue at Queen’s Surf Beach and it’s free.

October 13th the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K run/walk will be held at Kapiolani Park.

To sign up as a volunteer or register for the event go to their website:

Hallowbaloo Street Festival on October 26th is a festive event happening between Chinatown and Aloha Tower Marketplace from 5PM until 2AM. Come dressed in your favorite costume and enjoy the food, entertainment and spirited environment for a fun evening to remember. Learn more at:

October 26th is the Making Strides of Hawaii walk sponsored by Avon and the American Cancer Society at Keehi Lagoon Park in Honolulu. This is a second event to support the fight against breast cancer this month. For more information, email, or call 808-432-9141.

If you enjoy surfing, make it out to Sunset Beach on for HIC Pro surf contest on October 28th to November 10th. This is the qualifying event for the Triple Crown events later this year on the North Shore.


The Hawaii Craftsmen Statewide Exhibition of unique art work will close on Friday October 4th. There is still time to see the beautiful handcrafted treasures on display at the Honolulu Museum of Art School on 1111 Victoria Street, across from Thomas Square.

October 6th the Wiki Wiki Vintage Collectible and Hawaiiana Show will be held at Blaisdell Hawaii Suites. There you will find aloha shirts, jewelry, coins, furniture, kimonos, hats and many more great buys. There is an admission fee of $4.50. The hours are from 10:30 AM to 4:40 PM.

On Thursday, October 10th the Honolulu Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Chopsticks and Wine dinner at the Hawaii Convention Center. The cost for this gathering is $150. Learn more at their website:

October 11th, 12th and 13th the Food and New Products Show will be in full swing at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. There will be plenty food, crafts demos and entertainment. For more information check out their website:

October 11th-15th. The Hawaii Symphony orchestra will present Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca at the Blaisdell Concert Hall. It is not too late to purchase tickets for this beloved, romantic opera.

October 12th-13th the Hawaii Geek Craft Expo will be held at the Convention Center. The offerings include geek themed crafts, clothing, furniture and art. The hours are 10AM-5 PM on Saturday and 10AM-4PM on Sunday.

October 18th-20th the Hawaii Holiday Craft and Gift Fair will be happening at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. There will be crafts, unique gifts and plenty of food vendors.

The hours will be the following: 5 PM-9 PM on Friday; 10 AM until 7 PM on Saturday and 10 AM

until 5 PM on Sunday. The admission fee is $4.

October 18th and 19th the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra will perform the music of Queen at the Blaisdell concert hall. Brody Dolyniuk’s vocals will have you rocking to Queen’s biggest hits. Contact Ticketmaster online for tickets today.

October 23rd to the 27th the Blaisdell Concert Hall will present “The Illusionist:Live from Broadway”, a thrilling magic show, which is not recommended for children less than eight years old. Contact Ticketmaster for reservations.

Kind regards,

Cathy, Mary and Jeff

©2019 Company | 46-143 Nahiku Place, Kaneohe, Hawaii

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