My last few weeks have been spent creating a permaculture map of my property. Thought I would share how I did this along with photos of the end results.
I started by mapping the lot and all existing features to scale on graph paper. Then I used my printer to blow this up so that I could trace it onto 8.5×11 tracing paper. Along with the hard features such as the house and driveway, I also mapped out all of the existing landscape features: trees, garden beds, etc.
I did a separate map, which can be easily overlaid, of the existing sprinkler system, along with the various watering zones. My end goal is to almost completely cut us off of the municipal water system. This however is a long term goal and in the short term I am working to at least remove a couple watering zones.
Then I mapped the entire site with all of the desired changes. This is the next phase that I envision for the property, taking into consideration not only the concepts of permaculture but also the needs/desires of my family. (go here for more details on the final map).
Next, inspired by the book Rainwater Harvesting and Beyond, I made a map of water flows. A major goal of this project is water conservation due to my location in a semi-arid region. On this map I worked to redirect water flow through the soil (versus over) and into various areas – such as garden beds ad plant guilds. The map shows various low and high points in elevation as well as water direction. The water flow map reflects what I can realistically achieve in the next few years. Thus while a water cistern and drainage ponds to clean and reuse greywater would be ideal… this is a good start.
The final overlay that I did was a plant mapping layer (this did not scan well – so go here for a better breakdown of the plants). This is a guide for me to use in planting the various guilds and due to size constraints it was easier to list on a new paper. Each plant guild contains a variety that includes nitrogen fixing, edible food, wildlife habitat, insectary, mulch providing, and groundcover. I chose plants based on how well they will do in Utah, with a preference towards drought tolerant, as well as plants that offered multiple uses such as food, mulch, etc.. All of the plants chosen have additional benefits (known as stacking functions) such as sunscreen, insulation to house, and privacy screening.