Let’s continue to get to know the Kauai Seascapes Design Team! Meet Joni. Joni first worked for Kauai Seascapes back in 1994 for Steve Roush at the age of 20. Joni grew up in Mendocino, a small town on the coast in northern California. This historical town with beautiful cliffside trails and beaches is no doubt why Joni is so at home on the north shore of Kauai.
Joni knew when she was very young what she would love to do in life regarding her career. Joni’s father was an avid gardener who provided an abundance of veggies to his family every year. Because Joni came from a family of gardeners, artists, and builders, she enjoyed creating her own little spaces outside as a young child. She enjoyed art and exploring the outdoors and would ride her bike or walk to the mountains or along the rivers and create space along a fresh water stream or inside an old burnt redwood stump. Any place she could imagine, create, and build, she did so.
Joni came to Kauai every year to visit her sister and family and when she moved here, she found a job quickly working at the nursery. She gained a lot of experience doing landscape installs and maintenance. She learned from several landscapers as she worked alongside of them. She eventually started her own business called Namahana Yard Service and took on the care of some amazing and beautiful properties on the north shore. She also did design and installation for clients. You may have even seen her yourself when passing by! In 2017, she joined the design team here at the nursery.
Friendly and amiable, Joni doesn’t hesitate to get to know her clients and ask them questions about themselves. On the initial consult she will do just that as they walk around the property together to discuss what the client’s vision is for the space. She will guide them with her knowledge on what is possible or not possible and what she sees will work for the property. Choosing plants that will be successful for the location is very important for Joni. After the consult, Joni invites potential clients to the nursery to look at some of the plants so that they can make a list together that they agree upon for the design. Next step- Joni draws up the design always keeping in mind the client’s budget.
When asked what her “dream project” would be, Joni said, “My ultimate dream project would be to landscape a large-scale property where I could be creative in all areas. A large veggie garden, trails that meander through the property that are landscaped and detailed, and a fruit tree orchard. A self-sustaining property for the clients to enjoy. If it were my own property, that would be even better!!”
When Joni is planning her design and plant selection, she likes to include fragrant plants as much as possible. Joni likes to appeal to her clients’ sense of smell just as much as their sense of vision. She feels that having those fragrances present elicits a feeling of calmness for those who experience the scent. She also likes to incorporate river rock for textures.
Joni admits landscaping design has its challenges- sometimes she will need to change a design after hours of work. But she finds that most of the time spent designing and installing is a smooth and fun process. As far as the most challenging project, Joni said it was a half-acre lawn that she converted into a courtyard garden with step stones, river beds, and a water garden. It required a lot of time and involved a lot of detail and meticulous placement of both hardscaping and plants. She looked forward to presenting the end result to her client and seeing his or her reaction, as she does with every project no matter the scale.
One of her most memorable projects took place about ten years ago. This is where I learned of Joni’s passion and focus for hardscaping. In that project, Joni made a culvert rock drain approximately 300 feet long. It meandered down a hill with soft turns. “It was a lot of work and each rock was hand placed. The final result was beautiful, and I am proud of that design. With the finishing touches of installing plants on the banks of the culvert and an excellent water way drain, it really looked like it had always been there.”
Outside of work, Joni enjoys the company of her two two handsome sons and an elderly chocolate lab named Hoku. Joni has a great deal of love for animals, nature, good wine (Northern Cali girl!), music, and the ocean. She comes from a huge family (she is the youngest of SEVEN!) so she spends much of her time away from work keeping up with her family and friends.
If Joni’s caring nature and years of experience is something that would work for your landscape you may contact the nursery to set up a consultation with her. Our sales staff can explain the cost and process for you and you will hear directly back from a designer (you can request Joni). We are often scheduled several months out for installs so don’t wait to call for your consultation!
Stay tuned to get to know more about Serina as a designer next month!