Gabrielle's PDC design

Gabrielle has just finished her Permaculture Design Course with Patrick Whitefield … online. For her, this has been the fifth module of the Land Course Online and, as Patrick explains, “Permaculture draws together the knowledge contained in the previous four modules of the course and puts it into a whole system.”

To pass the course and obtain a PDC, students have to complete five projects, four of which are based around a design.

The first project is to complete a base map. Patrick explains, “The base map is the map you make right at the beginning of the design process as a template for the design. It shows only what is there.”

This second map situates this chicken habitat area within our smallholding. To make this busy plan clear, Gabrielle left off two other separate fields that we have. Patrick's criticism was that it didn't show our whole site, so he couldn't understand where the forest garden was (referred to in this project) as it didn't appear on any map he had been given.

The second project is the Site Survey

Working from the list Patrick provides, students have to list the main themes, e.g., biodiversity, land form, etc., which need to be investigated on their site. Patrick suggest that, as a rough guide, he usually finds there are about five of these on a typical design job, but there may be more or fewer.

Each of these is observed in turn, notes taken, using sketch maps and photographs as appropriate.

When you click on this link, Gabrielle's site survey will open or download as a PDF (depending how your computer is configured). It is 0.5MB.

Patrick's response was: "This is a very good site survey. The only thing I would have liked was an easier link between the map and the final photo. This is really a matter of presentation rather than content, as of course you know it and you're designing for yourself. But an indication of the position of your house on the map or of the direction of view of the photo would have made it easier for me to understand what I was looking at." Gabrielle therefore added "photo taken here" in the top, left hand corner of the plan. The map above this one situates our house but it hasn't been annotated as such (it is the rectangle to the right of "home garden" and below "compost".

The third project is the Design Questionnaire.

The base map and site survey are about observing the land; this project is about listening to the 'clients' (even if that is you). Remember that we're still in the all-important receptive phase of the process in which the designer's role is simply to absorb information, not to make decisions. This stage of the design process will give you information you will need later in the design process For a successful design everyone's voice needs to be heard and Gabrielle's one combines her and Stuart's response to each question that she poses.

When you click on this link, Gabrielle's design questionnaire will open or download as a PDF (depending how your computer is configured). It is only 70kB.

Patrick's response was: "I've read your design questionnaire and I think it's excellent. I'm particularly glad to see that you designed your own questions to suit this particular design job rather than simply doing a pick and mix of the questions given in the check list. It seemed to work well, especially towards the end as it led to you and Stuart beginning to discuss some of the most important issues you'll have to address in the design. I expect you will have discussed these things before now in any case."

And so we come, finally to the Design Proposal.

When you click on this link, Gabrielle's design proposal will open or download as a PDF (depending how your computer is configured). It is only 120kB. Remarks by Patrick have been added in red and additional comments from him are below. 

Patrick: "I particularly like your research-based approach and you rejection of hearsay evidence in favour of your own observations and the experience-backed information which you found. 

The maps are good and both of them were necessary to my understanding of the design.

I like the way you integrate the chickens with other land areas on the smallholding, based on your observation of the areas they like to use. One link which I felt was missing was allowing chickens access to under your fruit trees for winter pest control. I understand that your fruit trees are in a forest garden but this is not indicated on Map 2. It would be interesting to know your reasons for not making this link - and to know where the forest garden is."

Gabrielle: Not showing the forest garden (which is discussed in this design proposal) is a valid criticism. We will have some chickens in the forest garden, however, it won’t be the chickens referred to in this design as it’s located over the road. One of the supplementary areas this flock will be folded into, the “home garden”, has a couple of fruit trees, a desert apple and a cherry plum, and the chickens will certainly have access to this during the winter months.

Patrick: "A comment about the mulch area: I feel it would be more productive if it was divided into two and used rotationally. This would give the invertebrates the opportunity to breed in the absence of predation and could result in a much higher yield of fodder. The length of the rotation should be tailored to the life cycles of the main fodder species - though I appreciate there may be some conflict between one species and another. I know that Joel Salatin is very specific on timing in his cattle/chicken forage system."

Gabrielle: I think a piece of netting of the right size could be enough and I could incorporate the supports for this discretely into the design at the building stage. Thank you for that.


Anonymous said...

Hi Gabriele,

Congratulations, and thanks for sharing. It is an inspiring design and it looks very professional. Do you want to become a designer to?



Anonymous said...

Hi Gabrielle
I initially thought that you were not going to mention me, as some of the links and ideas are very similar. I'm really pleased that you did, and impressed by the overall standard of the design work that you've done.

Brigitte Mengelle Touya said...

it's so interesting!it's quiet difficult for me to understang everything in english but i tried!