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6 Maps to Draw for the Permaculture Farm Design from “tenth acre farm”.

By akc27838
Jan 12, '18 9:06 AM EST
Sun map.
Sun map.

The process of designing a low-maintenance homestead is like putting together a puzzle. Here are 6 maps to draw for creating a permaculture farm design in which your efforts are maximized.

A System for Creating a Permaculture Farm Design

Permaculture is a system for designing agricultural landscapes that are ecologically sound. These permaculture landscapes work with nature to be low maintenance and highly productive. In this article, we’re diving into the essence of permaculture: the design.

Read more: What is Permaculture? (

The permaculture farm design can be very intricate and detailed, but we’re going to focus on the six maps that I believe are essential to draw before breaking ground.

A permaculture farm design drives all decisions about homestead development. Without a design and ultimate vision for a property, it’s hard to say which plants or strategies are going to be the most appropriate.

Permaculture is like baking a batch of cookies.” The way we put elements together in a design determines whether it will work or not.

For example, if you want to make cookies, you first locate a recipe (a design). Then you gather the ingredients (elements). When you combine the elements together in the right order, the result is hopefully a successful and delicious batch of cookies. It’s the way the elements are combined that makes the recipe successful. There are chemical reactions that occur throughout the process to produce the desired end goal of delicious cookies. We’ve all made recipes and mistakenly did the steps out of order. Sometimes we’ve even accidentally omitted an element. Much of the time, this spells disaster, and all of our efforts (and cost of ingredients) were a waste.

Sometimes you have to spend a bunch of extra time fixing what went wrong or starting over completely. (Perhaps this isn’t the best example, because even a cookie gone wrong will usually taste pretty good. But you get the idea.)

When you start with a design (recipe), it is simply a starting point, but it is an essential starting point. This is the essence of the permaculture farm design.

Once you dive in, you might discover that by skipping a step or combining steps, you could make things more efficient. But without a starting design, you’re just winging it, which can lead to wasted time and/or other resources.

6 Essential Maps to Draw for the Permaculture Farm DesignThese six maps are the ones that I feel are essential to developing a permaculture farm design that meets your needs:

  1. The base map
  2. The sun map
  3. The sector map
  4. The zone map
  5. The Master Plan
  6. The water map

I will go over each in detail below.

Now, I’ve been practicing permaculture design since 2009, and I have a pretty good idea of how I want my new homestead to look when I’m all done developing it. So you’d think I might be able to skip all this mumbo jumbo and just dig in.

But I didn’t. I still drew all the maps.

I didn’t skip a step, even when I wanted to.

And you know what? I discovered some things in the process—things I wouldn’t have thought about until it was too late, things that would have cost me a lot of time to go back and fix.

Believe me, if it seems like drawing maps is a waste of time, it won’t be. But you’ll never know until you give it a try.