Permaculture A Designers’ Manual Review Chapter 3 The Down and Dirty

This post covers Permaculture A Designers’ Manual Review Chapter 3.  This is the third in a series of 14 chapter reviews on “Permaculture – A designers’ manual”.  The review covers chapter three which is titled “Methods of Design”.  Chapter 3 really digs into the meat of a permaculture design and covers a lot of design aspects that must be considered when doing a permaculture design.

Permaculture A Designers’ Manual Review Chapter 3

Permaculture A Designers' Manual Review Chapter 3 - PDCManual

Permaculture A Designers’ Manual Review Chapter 3

Chapter 3 starts off with a Definition of Permaculture Design: “Permaculture design is a system of assembling conceptual, material, and strategic components in a pattern which functions to benefit life in all its forms.  It seeks to provide a sustainable and secure place for living things on this earth.”

Another principle covered is the Principle of Self-Regulation: “The purpose of a functional and self-regulating design is to place elements or components in such a way that each serves the needs, and accepts the products, of other elements.”

Functional Design: “Every component of a design should function in many ways.  Every essential function should be supported by many components.”  This is often referred to as function stacking.

Permaculture A Designers’ Manual Review Chapter 3

This chapter goes into some of the design methods as follows:

  • Analysis: Design by listing the characteristic of components.
  • Observation: Design by expanding on direct observation of a site.
  • Deduction from Nature: Design by adopting the lessons learnt from nature.
  • Options and Decisions: Design as a selection of options or pathways based on decisions.
  • Data Overlay: Design by map overlays.
  • Random Assembly: Design by assessing the results of random assemblies.
  • Flow Diagrams: Design for workplaces.
  • Zone and Sector Analysis: Design by the application of a master pattern.
    • Zone 0 – Inside the house
    • Zone 1 – Components needing continual observation and work or frequent visits. This would include areas where animals are kept, annual and herb gardens, and rain catchment.
    • Zone 2 – Less intensive observation and work and less frequent visits. This would include ponds, trellises, hedges, and orchards
    • Zone 3 – Contains natural or little pruned trees, barns, and hedge rows.
    • Zone 4 – This area contains very hardy perennials and trees that do not get pruned.
    • Zone 5 – Natural, unmanaged environment. Used for observation and recreation.
  • Sectors Analysis deals with what Bill calls “wild energies” which include the “elements” of sun, light, wind, rain, wildfire, and water flow.

Plant Guilds and More

Plant Guilds deal with polyculture.  Polyculture is a group of multiple plant species instead of hundreds of acres of a single species (monoculture).  With plant guilds you plan plant placement (say that 3 times fast) so the different species help each other out.  Guilds also often include animals.

He also covers succession and the evolution of a system as well as the establishment and maintenance of systems.

Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual (Amazon Link) is the go to book for permaculture design.

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