The first thing I do in my permaculture design practice (after sharing a cuppa & viewing the clients wishlist) is take 5 random soil samples and send it to my lab for an exhaustive report. I won’t plant a single seed until I know what the lead levels are and any other toxic nasties .
A walk around the property with and without the client is a must
I like to do a rough sketch as I wander about. Sit and simply observe. And just keep repeating the process. If a photo could be handy later on I’ll take a snap on my smart phone.
Where traditional landscapers would disturb the soil and scar the landscape on a sloping backyard, I would install swales and permeable paths.
I take lots of measurements, generally using found objects like trees, trampolines, fire pits, existing structures. This is a good opportunity to engage the children early on as I have a funky old school tape measure they find intriguing.
It’s too early to think about zones (more on that in my blog) but the observation of sectors is vital. Think wind, sun, & rain in addition to wildlife corridors, pollution, noise, weeds etc
Z is for Zones. In permaculture design a zone is an area around a home where elements are placed according to energy use , quantity yields and frequency of visits.