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Title of Design Dates of Design Design Brief
Greenacres February - April 2012
Greenacres is a smallholding on the Somerset Levels managed by Andy Harrison. The aim of this design was to work with the client to find ways of manifesting Andy’s diverse ideas and visions for the site in a way that were achievable and appropriate. My role as a designer was to plug some of the knowledge gaps of Andy’s around land management in order to optimise his relationship with the site. The desired yields were increased self-reliance especially relating to food production and the creation of a space for rest and spiritual connection to the land to support his creative work as an artist.
How this design meets the Assessment Criteria: Demonstrating Design Skills Overview of Design Process
Survey • Received query from Client Andy Harrison, seeking some support for ways forward for his land 5/2/12 • Initial site visit & introductions 19/2/12 • Design Questionnaire & site survey 11/3/12 • Drew base map & researched background site information Analysis • Applied permaculture analysis tools (see Design tools & techniques used). Design • Prepared concept plan & met up with client to discuss • Prepared final design & design report after listening to client feedback Implementation • Delivered design report with appendices of useful information & resources Evaluation • Checked in regarding implementation 6 months later • Evaluated my own design process
Use of Permaculture Ethics, Principles & Theory
See final design report. In summary: • Observe & Interact – site survey, research, design questionnaire, client observations • Catch & Store energy – rainwater harvesting, composting systems including for dog waste, soil building, perennials & trees for biomass • Obtain a Yield – Extensive edible landscaping, coppice, therapeutic yields • Apply self regulation & accept feedback – monitoring for long term trends, low maintenance spaces • Use & value renewable resources & services – water butts, planting plans for bees & beneficial insects, reclaimed building materials, soil care • Produce no waste – compost system re-designed, reclaimed materials • Design from patterns to details – sector analysis, overall spiritual vision for design pattern • Integrate rather than segregate – areas linked with paths & waste systems • Use small & slow solutions – Feasible, long-term implementation plan
• • • Ethics •
Use & value diversity – diverse plant species and families, succession planting & season coverage, diverse habitats and functions for land Use edges & value the marginal – optimising garden borders to create habitat, ponds with optimum edge, paths & circular beds Creatively use & respond to change – implementation plan, feedback from client & reassurance that everything changes, greater resilience for climate change Earth care – encouragement of organic, permaculture, no-dig gardening approaches, compost systems, increased self-reliance, increased perennial plantings, welfare of companion animal, optimising recycled materials, soil building & habitat creation People care – designing to meet client needs, spiritual & therapeutic yields, optimum nutrition, designing for low maintenance & safe space Fair shares – optimising land use/small scale intensive systems, creating community connections Sector analysis Zone analysis David Holmgren’s Principles Functional analysis Spirals of erosion Inputs/outputs analysis
Design Tools & Techniques Used
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• How this design meets the Assessment Criteria: Learning from, and developing your permaculture practice Effectiveness of Design & Design Outcomes
Outcomes for client: • Achievable vision and implementation plan • Increased awareness & understanding of permaculture design process • Energy savings by plugging spirals of erosion e.g. unnecessary weeding Effects on land management: • Living willow windbreak fences planted thrived • Sheet mulched vesica pisces potager garden area • Restricted size of vegetable area to make more manageable • Planted apple trees • Have increased ‘weed management’ via orchard groundcover & mowing • Implemented wild/set-aside areas of habitat • Cottage garden flower areas thriving (mixture of perennials and wildflowers) • More wetland and native plants planted in wetland areas Personal & professional outcomes for myself: • Increased confidence in consultancy process • Financial reward • New relationship/increased local connections • Design addition to portfolio • Increased awareness of time investment in consultancy work • Greater understanding of peat extraction and wetland management
What went well: • Site survey: good chance to use triangulation to measure fruit trees already planted. More systematic approach to site survey allowed me to process information faster & more effectively. • Client relationship: Andy was extremely kind, creative, open to ideas and drew
fantastic illustrations of his vision, which meant he was a pleasure to work with. • Timescales: I decided from the start to work for a ‘fast turnaround’ in terms of surveying and preparing the design, this worked well in my timetable and meant nothing ‘dragged on’ for the client or myself. What I would have done differently: • In hindsight I costed my time ineffectively, meaning that I did a significant amount of unpaid work (true action learning). For example the time taken to type notes from a design questionnaire interview or the time needed to research gaps in my knowledge e.g. growing on peat. • Annotated my design work for the client better, as all though there was thorough information in the report, may have been easier if on the design itself. • Had an evaluation of the design implementation sooner for example 3 months after the design work was completed.
Quoted work: Site survey & questionnaire, 4 hours Design work, 10-15 hours Presenting concept plans 1-2 hours Drawing up final design & preparing final design report 3-5 hours £12 hourly rate. Design package £230. A costings spreadsheet was not prepared for the client as this would have incurred an extra cost for him and a more detailed design, whereas a broad ‘vision’ design was the need of the client.
Learning Pathway Reflections
• This design project was empowering because it gave me an opportunity to refine my ‘consultancy toolkit’, such as my checklists, interview questions, stationary and so forth. It was really nice working for a local client, saving travelling time and money and gave me the feeling of building local resilience and relationships. This project gave me the opportunity to navigate the local gallery/printing services so that I could optimise hand-drawn work and computer annotation. I learnt more about willow through the design process as well as more about wetland areas and peat. This design has increased my confidence that I can be of service as a consultant.
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How this design meets the Assessment Criteria: Applying permaculture in your own life
• • • • Increased confidence in developing consultancy practice as ‘right livelihood’ Time & energy saved from working with local client is more low impact Opportunity to build local relationships, thus optimising my impact on local ecosystems e.g. building long-term local resilience Opportunity to design my own self-employment systems e.g. record keeping
How this design meets the Assessment Criteria: Applying permaculture to your work and projects
Assessment categories engaged with through this design: • Design Consultancy – as evidenced by design documentation, this design was for paying client, Andy Harrison. • Art, Media, Culture and Communications – this design has been disseminated via my website, uploaded to the Permaculture Association website and shared with apprentice-peers at events.
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