Permaculture Design Process – 7. Design drawing

by Aranya


This is the stage where we finally put all our ideas down on paper for then client. No design is ever going to be perfect, so don’t be afraid to make some decisions – you’ll always learn from them later, even if they don’t work out as well as you’d hoped.

The process

You can create your design map in any one of many different formats – a map is just a diagram that indicates spatial relationships between elements. Use any method that makes most sense to you. For land-based designs, you’ll probably use what we are used to calling a map, but for other types of design (e.g. processes), you might use different methods to show your ideas. Let’s look at some different options:

 1. Base map & overlays
One way of presenting a design is to draw it onto an overlay. If you already have a base map with overlays showing your initial observations (zones, sectors etc.), this is a simple way to present your ideas.
overlay-aranya-web                                                 Overlay used to convey design ideas

 2. Draw your design directly onto the base map
Of course you can also draw your design directly onto your base map. If you make multiple copies of it first you’ll be able to easily start again if necessary. This method also allows you to show different aspects of the design or distinct implementation phases on separate maps.
base-mapdisenio-aranya                          Base map (above) & design drawn directly onto base map (below)

 3. Overview plus highlighted details
If you are designing a broadscale site (i.e. large!) with details in specific places across the site, you could adapt this technique. A small scale map of a whole site with large scale blocks showing details.
zoom-in-aranya            A small scale map of a whole site with large scale blocks showing details.

4. Design ideas on photos
Another way to convey ideas is to take photos of the site as it is & use either tracing paper overlays or paper cut outs to show any proposed new elements.

 5. Modelling
Or you can simply model your design in 3D.

6. Flow charts
If you are designing a process, a flow chart is another logical way to share your ideas.
flow-chart-aranya                                  A process design for taking ideas & turning them into songs

 7. Mind mapping
This can also be a good method to present your ideas around designing a process. You don’t need complicated computer software like this, though I find it provides flexibility in spreading ideas evenly across the page. This design was so complex that to make sense of it all on one page was difficult. As a result, I created an overview page & then a series of mini mind maps outlining the detail in each branch. Images can also be used to add humour or a simple visual memory aid.
mindmap-aranya                             One branch of the mind map of my Diploma accreditation design

Placing everything

So having got our design done, we just need to let the client know where to start & what to implement when (part 8).

Go to part 8 – Implementation & costing