Yesterday I attended the first session of a Permaculture Design Course (PDC) led by my Diploma tutor, Hannah Thorogood. I was a participant on this course two years ago and found it hugely inspiring. I am planning on going along to most of the sessions this year to help out, revise my skills and observe the tutors, with a view to possibly teaching a PDC myself in years to come. The observing of the course fits in well with my ‘Twelve principles for twelve months’ project as February is ‘Observe and Interact’ month!
We were looking at design tools, so the session was very useful for me as I am heading into this stage of my first diploma design project. I have come away wanting to use a number of design tools to help me with the analysis stage of my planning.
The first tool I have used is called ‘Random assembly’ It is a simple and fun way of beginning to consider the possible links and interactions between elements in your design.
How to use random assembly
* Write all the elements (Annual veg/ chickens/pond/path etc) you have decided upon for your design down on a piece of paper. Place them face down on the table.
* Write six linking words down and number these 1-6 (Under/ on top of/ next to etc)
* Pick two elements at random and roll the dice to pick one linking word to place between them.
* See what you have come up with.
Some of these combinations will be good, some will be bad and some will be downright nonsense, but it is a fun process and throws up some ideas you may not have thought of. I wrote down all the ideas that were generated and used another design tool PNI (positive, negative, interesting) to grade them for future consideration.
I decided to try taking this one step further and assemble multiple elements together to see if any interesting ideas were thrown up. This provides even more opportunities for nonsense, but I actually quite like the one pictured below. I can visualise this working in an area of my plot. A drain pipe off the shed leading to the pond to keep it full, overflowing to water the perennial vegetables which are planted under fruit trees.