We set a goal for 2013 to come up with a vision for Widget Grove.   Something to guide us towards how we want the property to be in the long term future.   We're doing it the right way.  We've survey'd the sight, got where the sun comes uup, where existing trees, structures, water sources are.  We've drawn a lot of maps that layer on top of each other.  However we still don't have a place to start.


You've got a really good base. I think "designer's block" is a bit like writer's block. It's whenever you do something really creative, where there are infinite interdependent variables and it all seems like there are too many choices, with so much hinging on each one.

I think the first bit of advice is to break the blank paper syndrome by playing. The nice thing about doing it on paper is that it doesn't matter if it turns out to be all wrong! The second bit is to start with the elements that are hardest to change. The aspect is locked in and unchangeable, as is proximity to your house. I'd draw in your Zone 1 - the extent of how far you'd go to get a bit of parsley for the omelette, in the rain. It won't be a set distance - it will depend on slope and paths, and it will extend far enough to include your seed raising area and all your intensive gardens. Then Zone 2, the next zone out, the furthest you'd go for things that need daily attention, again depending on slope and paths. Then I'd work on the passive solar for these zones - giving you enough shade in summer and sun in winter, without creating a fire hazard. So large deciduous shade to the south west of the house, not so close as to block gutters. No tall trees on the north. Think about whether you have enough room, or want to, add water storage (dam or pond) for reflective properties, fire safety, waterbirds and wildlife. Think about where it is best sited for those purposes. Then you can start working on Zone 3, thinking about fire risk, water, access for vehicles to bring in mulch and take out harvests, meat animals, and stacking to the aspect (tallest trees to the south).

Give yourself permission to just draw, like a child, and it will emerge!

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.