Observation is a keystone skill in permaculture design. If we spend more time observing as a basis of site & client analysis and subsequent planning, we can make fewer mistakes and create more effective designs that can provide more benefits at lower cost. Thorough and on-going observation helps us to understand boundaries, patterns, resources and constraints that are factored into to our designs. This course looks at observation in the context of designing land and lifestyles.
Mapping is also an important design tool because it enables us to record observations in a visual way, and then to add subsequent design plans to aid implementation.
Chris Evans and Looby Macnamara recently moved in to their 20 acre property at Waterloo Farm in North Herefordshire and as part of their own design process have been carrying out on-going observation of the smallholding, including developing frameworks for that observation. This workshop is an opportunity to share in that experience, and will look at ways of observing and documentation, including mapping methods, in preparation for design, using the property as a case study. They will be joined by Aranya from East Devon, who himself has vast experience in both observation and mapping, and is author of "Permaculture Design", a brilliant step-by-step guide for learning to create designs, and popular with both novice and more experienced designers.
The training takes the participants through the following design stages:
- Identifying site design aims and objectives.
- Interviewing stakeholders.
- Site surveying and observation: microclimate, zones & sector analysis, plant indicators, desire lines, etc.
- documentation: PASTE, biotime diary, etc.
- Mapping: creating base maps, using drones, graphic design, etc.
- connecting observation to design
Course content will also be tweaked according to participants own needs and skills both in preparation for and during the course.
*For further details about surveying see Aranya's book: Permaculture Design ~ a step by step guide, which is highly recommended pre-course reading.
This training has been developed to assist participants in the early stages of any design process - the observation and survey of a site and its steward. While a few days is limited time to fully observe a site, much can still be learned by being present on a piece of land, examining and trying out different observation and mapping tools, and by sharing experience. Hence this training takes participants through a hands-on, land-based design process on a real site, bringing permaculture theory to life.
By the end of the training participants will have:
- gained a basic understanding of how to apply permaculture principles and methods on a real site.
- experienced using a number of physical and conceptual design tools.
- learned how to use observation as an effective tool in the design process
- learned new observation skills
- have developed documentation systems for observations
- have learned basic and specific mapping skills
- be able to produce an informative and accurate base map for design development
The course is suitable for beginners wanting a taste of permaculture and how the design process begins, to people having completed their Permaculture Design Course and wanting a refresher or to look in more depth at observation, and for diploma apprentices wanting to hone their observation and mapping skills.
No former permaculture training is required, although those who have previously received some will be a step ahead. Some pre-training reading can be provided to ensure that all participants start the course with at least an understanding of permaculture basics. This will allow us to get more quickly into the essence of the training.
I have really enjoyed the course. I particularly liked sitting in the woods and seeing layering reflected in nature. I really enjoyed making the [practice] design with my team and was surprised how quickly we were able to create it!
There was a very clear progression of ideas and delivery, a very good mix of practical and theory to reinforce learning, and I particularly liked the structured way of approaching design.
Accommodation is in single-sex dormitory accommodation. Bedding provided, please bring towels.
Fees also include tasty vegetarian meals.
15th - 17th March 2019
(2 full days, arrive afternoon of 15th)
£175 (early bird), £200 after 30th November.
Price includes all tuition, course materials, accommodation, vegetarian food & refreshments.
10% discount if you bring a friend !
Who do you know that could also benefit from learning permaculture observation and mapping skills ? We are offering a 10% discount on your course fee if you can bring a friend to attend the course (this offer is available any time after you book your own place, right up until the course starts).
For enquiries and booking please contact:
Postcode is SY8 4JG - Orleton Common (more details provided on booking)
Nearest train stations are Ludlow or Leominster
Facilitators & Venue
Chris lives at Applewood with his partner Looby and children Shanti and Teya. He has taught permaculture in the UK, Europe, Nepal, India, U.S.A. and Mexico. He is also a UK assessment level tutor for apprentices working towards their diploma in applied permaculture design with the Permaculture Association Britain.
Since 2004 he has taught over 80 two-week design courses, something he has no intention of stopping. He feels that it's a privilege to have the opportunity to teach "something that can make a real difference in all our lives". In the spring of 2012 Permanent Publications published his first book 'Permaculture Design - a Step-by-Step Guide', which evolved from a set of design course worksheets. Aranya is currently writing a second book, about a subject he’s especially fascinated by, the application of systems thinking and patterns in permaculture design.