Saturday, May 8, 2010

Permaculture Planning -- zones, sections, goals

In permaculture planning it is useful to distinguish 6 zones:
  • Zone 0: The built environment: house, garage, porte cochere
  • Zone 1: Intensive gardening -- Annuals, finicky plants that need tending
  • Zone 2: Perennial gardening -- Plants that produce year after year
  • Zone 3: Food forest -- Fruit and nut trees, vines, understory plantings
  • Zone 4: Forage forest -- timber (in 100 years or so)
  • Zone 5: Wilderness -- leave it be
For planning purposes, I also think I will divide the property into three sections:
  • The back: back yard, garage and area behind it, east side yard.
  • The house: Front porch, trellis over porch, window plantings, indoor plants, back deck, rain catchment system.
  • The front: planting strip, sidewalk, front yard, driveway, porte corchere and plantings west of the driveway.
With this division I can write separate articles focusing on one section at a time. Before I get into that level of detail, I should reflect on my overall goals:
  1. Produce a lot of food for ourselves and our friends
  2. Minimize inputs: fertilizers, purchased stuff, city water, labor
  3. Maximize diversity: nurture a rich interoperable mini-ecosystem
  4. Focus on natives: but allow for some well adapted species and strains
  5. Contribute beauty: try for a balance that will quiet the eye and calm the soul
So, with those as organizing principles we can proceed to plan the sections....


  1. Looking forward to finding out what our plan is! =)

  2. I have some perennials that work with very little care. Have gorgeous chives and cane berries that I'd be happy to give you. Also, you may want to contact Countess Morwyn. She is the QUEEN of edible landscaping, and I often channel her when I'm putting in something new. If you get together with her, I'd love to tag along! (or vice versa)