Feature Article - November 2006
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Open Invitation

Landscape design brings in visitors

By Jessica Royer Ocken

Case Study: A Puzzle in Paradise
The Dole Plantation Pineapple Garden Maze

The Dole Plantation has long been a popular destination for visitors to Hawaii who are curious about the local produce, but a few years back, the staff had an ingenious idea for making the facility an even more engaging venue.

"Planning for the maze started prior to 1998," explained Mark Takemoto, the Plantation's retail operations manager. "After the design was agreed upon, construction took just under a year."

The 100,000-square-foot maze was planted with a dozen species (10,000 total plants were required), and more than 200,000 visitors make their way through its leafy pathways each year. "The maze has become one of the reasons people return to Dole Plantation," Takemoto said. "They try to better their personal times it takes to finish."

Sojourners through the maze must collect six stencils from stations scattered in the foliage. The grounds crew moves the stations from place to place periodically to keep the challenge fresh.

In addition to this duty, three or four landscape maintenance workers give a portion of the maze a trim each day.

"They start on one end, and by the end of the week, they're ready to start all over again," Takemoto said. "The trimming is done early in the morning before any customers arrive. The maintenance crew then moves on to other duties." But this labor, as well as the costs of removing debris, repairing damage and watering, watering, watering, is all worth it in the end. In fact, an additional 30,000 square feet will soon be added to the mazeā€”just to make sure it remains alluring.

Learn more about the maze and try an online maze challenge at www.dole-plantation.com/Maze/maze.aspx.