We’ve had several ideas about what we could do with our new garden, but ideas are cheap: what we need is to start thinking about both how to implement them, and also how to incorporate the practical details that are important to us. Sustainability, reuse and permacultural principles need to be balanced with our desire to have a garden we want to use, and will enjoy for as much of the year as possible.
What do you do in this situation? Get an expert in. We’ve been lucky that the permaculture designer behind Oxford Sow & Grow moved to Sheffield a couple of years ago: our friend Gwenfar!
After giving us both questionnaires, then asking followup questions to clarify things, Sheffield Sow & Grow went away and produced a full plan and nine-page booklet of written advice. We were then taken through the plan, and then around our garden in person, over the course of a few hours. Here’s the plan, taken from the booklet:
You can see it’s broadly to scale, but more importantly it’s a thematic- and implementation-focussed plan: after all, a competent landscape gardener can always do a proper survey to determine the dimensions down to the centimetre. Something like this was what we really wanted instead, focussing on bringing those original ideas together, and showing how they can all work within a coherent system. This minimizes any friction and maintenance overhead, while maximizing likely use(-fulness). Also, the emphasis on social areas shows that there’s more than enough room within permaculture principles for actually having fun!
It’s both an inspiration, and also a how-to manual, for how we can put together our future garden. There’s probably so much more to be said about the plan, but I think I’ll leave that for when we actually start implementing aspects of it. Right now it’s just so exciting to see our ideas taking shape!