A few weeks ago Dan finished helping run a permaculture design course he has been developing for the Koanga Institute at Kotare Ecovillage near Wairoa, New Zealand.  We had 24 participants and a key part of the course, just like in our VEG PDCs in Melbourne, is working in small groups through every step of the permaculture design process to complete a design for an area of the eco-village.  Each time Dan returns he sees previous course designs being implemented on the ground, and it gives the design projects a very practical, real feeling to know that if they fit the bill they are most likely to jump off the paper onto the ground!  In this case there were six design projects to chose from, ranging from a 100 square metre greenhouse to a 50 hectare hill farm block.

One group not only came up with a great design, as did all the groups, but did an exceptional job of documenting the steps they took in getting there.  Let’s revisit Katrina  Svensson, Travis Balabuck & Sharon Pitt-Harris’s two-week journey from design brief to finished design.

Let us start with the site, a gently falling 1/4 acre ridge block within the fledgling Kotare ecovillage:

After an initial walk over the site, our group conducted a people analysis interview with clients Simon and Jullietta. Here is a summary of the people analysis and Simon & Jullietta’s wishlist:

Next our team conducted a thorough site analysis, presented in this poster, shown here in full before we zoom in on different areas:

At the top we have a sector analysis overlaid with drainage patterns, relative solar access, and distinction of flatter top area from sloping areas around it…

Next the overall site dimensions…

…microclimates, levels and aspects…

…and a profile showing slope through a slice of the block…

Now design begins, with an initial draft sketch of how different required areas might map onto the site’s identified microclimates:

And an exploration of how this might play out in more detail…

Before going into further detail before crash testing all the layouts, flows, and connections between elements to see what can be improved…

Culminating in this poster presenting their final design…

Here’s the main concept plan…

…a close up of flows and contour layouts of garden beds and paths…

…and an overall summary of guilds and the zones of use they occupy…

…a few details such as the log-edged sandpit surrounded by espaliered pome fruits…

…garden bench…

…and pergola for grapes (for making wines obviously)…

…and here is a connections map that helped in the process…

Great work team – I have a strong feeling next time I am at Kotare Ecovillage I will see some of your ideas unfolding on the ground! Thanks to all for a great course.

If you are interested in doing one of our PDCs see here for our one starting soon in and around (mostly north-west) of Melbourne and here for the next Koanga PDC.

See large photos and photos of other designs (100 square metre greenhouse, the above 1/4 acre design, a 50 hectare hill block and several others) and the course participants here: