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How do I coherently write a design? I'm lost.

 
pioneer
Posts: 303
Location: Russia, ~250m altitude, zone 5a, Moscow oblast, in the greater Sergeiv Posad reigon.
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I have a design all worked out, now all that remains is to write it all down and communicate it in a way that the property owners can easily understand. That's where I'm stuck. There are just so many moving parts, and I can't figure out how to arrange the information so that it's readable as anything except a bunch of data points. The only thing that's gotten me anywhere is basically writing a table of contents and putting the information into those categories. I can't figure out what's relevant and what isn't, or how the document is supposed to relate to a design map.

Here's what I have so far, some of the information is just for my own reference, and will be trimmed out later.


   Needs
       Economic Security
           The Andreevs will not be growing all of the food, fiber, fiber, clothing, medicine, etc. that they require. Income streams are essential.
       Food Security
           If a famine or economic downturn were to hit, having abundant and varied food around the place would be invaluble for the Andreevs, as they themselves have expressed. It's useful outside such an extremity as well, in terms of convenience and the extremely low cost of food you grow yourself.
   Requirements
       Chickens
           The Andreevs want to have chickens, for the eggs and meat.
       Abundant Lawn/Play Area
           The Andreevs need open play areas for kids to run around on, and for the traditional childrens' birthday dance. One area around the south side of the house has already been demarcated for this, but I can see that somewhat more than that is nessecary for the family's use
       Garden crops
           Lettuce
           Parsley
           Potatoes
           Squash
           Tomatoes
       Beauty
           Flowers
           Trees
               The Andreevs like the look of the birch grove they have and don't want it altered too much, so pollarding the birches is probably not an option.
       Little if any work
       Prohibitions
           Roses near the house
           Eye-sores
               Lots of bare dirt
   Goals
       Survive
       Live Freely
       Yearly 2-3 Week Vacations
       Resilience in Hard Times
   Resources
       Climate
           zone ~ 5a-4b supposedly severely continental, but cyclones from the north atlantic via the baltic are common, and make the weather closer to that of an island for their duration.
       Sectors
       Zones
       Sun exposure
           The entire property slopes north, away from the sun. The main house is on the north side of the block it's on.
       Water
           On this property, rainwater is usually abundant. It does not quickly soak into the ground, hence the soil is often soggy. There is some compaction, but it is not very bad or widespread, since the Andreevs are not accustomed to driving vehicles all  over the yard. The house has no rain barrel or gutters, the roof water just goes right onto the ground. There are drains in the ground around the house, that pick up the water and send it into an underground pipe, which used to drain straight into heavy clayey soil, hence very slowly. Because of this, the ground around the house stayed waterlogged after a rain, in spite of the drain. I designed and dug a water infiltration system at the bottom end of the pipe. The water flows away from the pipe on a 2% grade, into a series of seven semicircles that flow into each other, each into the next biggest, patterned for maximized infiltration. This system has been through some very heavy rains, and I have not seen the last ring overflow even once.
       Landscape
           Cow Pasture
               The Andreevs live next to a cow pasture, on the other side of which is forest.
           Berm
               There is a berm, probably entirely heavy clay down the hill, perpendicular to contour, and to winter cold snow-blowing winds.
       Animals
           Domestic
               Dogs
                   The Andreevs have two dogs, one of which is from an LGD breed.
               Cats
                The Andreevs have semi-outdoor cats. They do a good job of keeping rodents down.
           Slugs
           Lots of slugs. The land is wet.
           Absence of Snakes
               There just are no snakes, whatsoever. This is true of the whole region.
           Foxes
               Foxes live in the forest nearby, and I have seen them walk right down the road, past the house. There were no dogs at that point, however.
       Plants
           Trees
               Birch Grove
               Willow
               Apple
               Maple
           Bushes
               Wild Roses
               Domestic
                   Gooseberry
                   Currant
                   Raspberry
           Herbaceous Plants
               Yarrow
                   A great deal of yarrow grows on their lawn.
               Clover
               Vetch
               Johnson Grass
               Burdock
               Comfrey
                   In patches
               Daisies
               Dandelions
               False Dandelions
                   Probably Chicory family
               Fireweed
                   In one spot, near the firepit.
               Coltsfoot
               Unidentified Perennial Bushy Legume
                   Exciting!
       Soil
       Heavy clay soil. Underneath the soil, a water-resistant clay layer. This leads to soggy ground.
       Sogginess
           See water
       Compaction
           it's there, judging by the plants, but it's minor and not all over.
       Low organic matter
           esp. under the birches. This is probably because the ground there gets more shade, but gets mowed, too. Life cycles never really got going there.
           The berm perpendicular to contour and wind will be very useful. It creates a long, deep pocket of snow in the winter. This can be used to The
           
       Community Notes
       Landscape features
           Berm
               There is a berm, probably entirely heavy clay down the hill, perpendicular to contour, and to winter cold snow-blowing winds.
   Current Management
       Septic system
           Waste water
       Mowing
       Burning Organic Matter
       Gardening
           Potatoes
               Observations about comfrey and potatoes
                   The Andreevs have two potato patches. In one of them, comfrey grows as a weed. That's the one that produces well. The other bed produces very badly.
           Squash
       Compost esq. system
   Design Solutions
   Economic security
       This design addresses economic security with the potential for enterprises such as florist's garden, yarrow production, ginseng, willow coppice/basket weaving, herbal medicine manufacture, plant propagation and sale, salable preserves, animal propagation and sale, sale of berries and fruits, production of artists' materials, fishing worms, compost. This design also includes substitutes for things that would have to be bought otherwise, such as horse chestnuts and snowberries for laundry soap.
   Food security
       This design addresses food security with animals including chickens and ducks, crops including jerusalem artichoke, tree fruit, potatoes, onions, cabbage, squash, oats, buckwheat, tomato, lettuce, garlic, carrots, bishop's weed, birch sap, seaberry, raspberry, currant and gooseberry, herbs including parsley, thyme and oregano,
   Water
   Beauty
       Flowers
           There are some "flower bed" spots already designated. There's no reason more cannot be designed in, or why herbs cannot be mixed with the ornamentals, such as calendula, thyme, chamomile...
           Useful flowering companion plants for fruit trees
               Daffodils
               Borage
               Comfrey
               Cosmos
               Daisies
               Chamomile
           Herbs and flowers can be mixed up a good deal.
       Trees
           Birch
           Cherry
       Changing perception?
       Incorporation of flowers into vegetable/staple garden, esp. zone 1, but also zone 2
   Chicken System
       I propose a choice and/or mixture of chicken systems.
           Paddock shift
               Four-eight paddocks, with dense polycultures centered around feeding chickens. the trick is to shift just before the flora and fauna get so stressed that they will take longer to recover than (The number of paddocks -1) times (the amount of time that the chickens are kept in a paddock). This depends on the size of the paddocks, the number of chickens, and the types, number and diversity of plants, but is probably between 3-7 days.
           Straw Pen
               A chicken pen into which extra organic matter is thrown. The chickens process it into compost.
           Movable Pen
               A movable pen usually with a closed top for pasturing chickens. Shifts every 1-3 days on a longer rotation than a paddock system. Probably a system to use in the fall, on the veggie garden.
           Greenhouse
               Deep-bedded greenhouse, for chickens throughout the winter, for heat-loving plants in summer.
       As pertaining to the garden
   Lawn
       Maintained by animals?
       Yarrow harvest income source?
   Vegetable Gardening
       Potatoes
           Polyculture of onions, potatoes, comfrey, garlic and marigolds
               Specific uses of comfrey
                   Wrap seed potaoes in comfrey leaves when planting
                   Mulch with comfrey leaves, esp. immediatly after harvest
           Burying kitchen scraps under the seed potatoes
       Squash
           w/ Beans and Corn in polyculture
       Lettuce
       Shaded by sunflowers w/ cukes and beans climbing them?
           Must be near to the house.
       Parsley
           Must be near to the house.
   Water
       There are drains in the ground around the house, that pick up the water and send it into an underground pipe, which used to drain straight into heavy clayey soil, hence very slowly. Because of this, the ground around the house stayed waterlogged after a rain, in spite of the drain. I designed and dug a water infiltration system at the bottom end of the pipe. The water flows away from the pipe on a 2% grade, into a series of seven semicircles that flow into each other, each into the next biggest, patterned for maximized infiltration. This system has been through some very heavy rains, and I have not seen the last ring overflow even once.
   Soil
       Sogginess
           See water
       Compaction
           it's there, judging by the plants, but it's minor and not all over.
       Low organic matter
           esp. under the birches. This is probably because the ground there gets more shade, but gets mowed, too. Life cycles never really got going there.
           The berm perpendicular to contour and wind will be very useful. It creates a long, deep pocket of snow in the winter.

 
pollinator
Posts: 500
Location: San Diego, California
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Maybe start with a sitemap?

You could label each area with numbers(not permaculture zones necessarily) then have another page as a "key" that outlines the infrastructure in each numbered area, along with it's purpose, then list the plant species and their functions.

Then a short synopsis page for how the different areas work together to accomplish the overall goals for the site.

*no experience making a permaculture plan, just spitballing organizational ideas.
 
pioneer
Posts: 77
Location: SF Bay, California Zone 10b
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Like Dustin said, I think that visual aids with clear markings are essential here. If you can get a satellite image of the property using google maps or something, then you can utilize that as your map.

By labelling different sections, and then doing writeups for each section, everything will be more clear at a glance. That's just my idea...I've not had the opportunity to design something like this before!
 
master steward
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Location: USDA Zone 8a
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I like what Dustin and Malek have suggested.

My thoughts are do you want the presentation to be very business-like or a warm friendly proposal?

I also would suggest a short and sweet outline.

So if this were my project I would:

1) Have a visual map with an outline of the different areas.

2) Short outline of the project and costs.

3) Detailed summary of what I plan to do for my client.
 
master pollinator
Posts: 3291
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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The Tenth Acre Farm suggests drawing 6 different maps.

These six maps are the ones that I feel are essential for developing a permaculture farm design that meets your needs:

   The base map
   The sun map
   The sector map
   The zone map
   The Master Plan
   The water map



Maybe making these will get your ideas well illustrated on paper. Then words to fill out your ideas will come.
 
Myron Platte
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Thanks for the input, guys. It's helping.

My main problem is that the potential is so unlimited that I don't have a good gauge for where to stop, or what to leave unsaid. Right after I posted this call for help, I realized that one of the things I need to do is write brochures or pamphlets about things like chicken care and gardening in this climate that can be added to the design at the end as appendices. That way I have something to refer to.

The six different maps are a good idea. I'll probably use that.

I'm trying to write the design more or less as a practical manual for developing this property.

"short and sweet" is definitely the way to go, but the problem is I get caught up  in the details and nuances of everything, and I don't know where to stop. There is an infinite amount of explanation I could go into about any individual facet of the design, and it all seems equally important to me. Summary is not my forte.
 
Myron Platte
pioneer
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Location: Russia, ~250m altitude, zone 5a, Moscow oblast, in the greater Sergeiv Posad reigon.
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I tried google maps, and I can't figure out what I'm looking at. I can always try again...
 
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https://permies.com/t/159045/Building-Permaculture-Property-Free-Permaculture
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