Planting beds filled with lush greenery and colorful flowers can improve curb appeal and make outdoor areas more enjoyable. Since the winter months in Hawaii are typically rainy, you may wonder how to prevent excess moisture from pooling in your gardens and over-watering the foliage. Here are a few ways to promote drainage and what a professional landscaping service can do to help.

How Can You Promote Drainage in Your Landscapes?

1. Adjust the Soil

If you notice puddles in your planting beds following irrigation or rainfall, the soil might not be permeable enough to absorb excess moisture. You can improve the soil by mixing in organic matter such as compost, which can break up earth particles to allow moisture to sink beneath the surface, soaking up any residual water. If you have sticky or clay-like soil, adding sand to the earth may increase permeability and absorb any extra fluids. 

2. Include Mulch

In addition to adding color to your garden and making beds look more clearly defined, mulching products retain water, allowing them to promote drainage. Finely shredded mulches made from bark, pine, or wood chips tend to absorb moisture more effectively than other mulching types. They can hold excess water and slowly deliver it to plants once outdoor conditions become drier, ensuring your plants remain properly hydrated. Adding about 2 to 4 inches of mulch to landscaping beds can encourage proper garden drainage. 

3. Add Water-Loving Plants

landscaping services

A professional landscaping service can include native Hawaiian plants in your landscaping to improve drainage since many of these species thrive in wet areas. For instance, red ginger and taro are tropical root plants that love moisture and can assist with absorbing excess water after irrigation and rainfall. Bacopa monnieri, which is a perennial ground cover that typically grows in aquatic areas, and Licuala spinoza, which is a clumping palm, both flourish in wet environments. They can soak up moisture to prevent water from pooling or flooding your landscapes. 

4. Install Drains

If your property sits toward the bottom of a slope or is prone to flooding, you might need more advanced drainage solutions. Installing French drains involves digging shallow trenches, filling them with perforated pipes, and topping them with gravel; this will divert excess moisture away from your landscaping beds. Another option is a dry creek bed—a gully filled with river rock—which should fill with extra moisture during storms, preventing them from over-watering plants or causing runoff that might damage landscapes.


Encourage proper garden drainage with quality landscaping services from Hui Kū Maoli Ola Native Hawaiian Plant Specialists in Kaneohe, HI. They provide full-service landscaping, including the use of native Hawaiian plants that thrive in the regional climate, to clients throughout Oahu. Call (808) 235-6165 to schedule landscape maintenance, or visit the website to learn more about how they can improve your outdoor spaces.