There are three primary Permaculture design considerations that must be assessed before we begin. In order they are:
Water Concerns in Permaculture
What this means, practically, is that before anything is permanently placed on a plot of land, we must be clear about how and where water moves through it. We observe what happens during a heavy rain event. Does the water collect anywhere or does it run quickly, picking up precious soil along with it? Should we build any swales or keylines along the contours of elevation in order to slow the water down? Do we will build a pond to reserve water for the dry season? We study the slope of our site so that our pathways and structures are not flooded or washed out. Ideally we build in the mid level, but this is not always possible and so good design is even more important.
Assessing Access in Permaculture
Secondly, we will design pathways between all the areas of the land we visit on a regular basis. Will we need wide areas for heavy equipment to help with the harvest or turn compost piles? We imagine ourselves walking from one area to another because we want to lessen the amount of steps between our many tasks. This exercise is called defining the zones and it helps us decide where to locate everything.
Permanent Structures and Permaculture
Finally, we know where to drive piles or pour concrete for permanent structures because we have thoroughly studied the water and access issues beforehand.
There are many more design aspects to Permaculture that we will continue to explore. Check out our Permaculture Blog to find more articles on Permaculture.