Evaluate the information
To evaluate the information I have collected I used the following Permaculture design tools; functions and elements; links between elements, random assembly, key functions and setting SMART goals.
I thought about the key functions for the space and what elements could be use to fulfil these functions. I also looked at how the elements could work together. I tried really hard to stand back and think about functions first rather than deciding immediately on the specific element. This helped me to consider things in a new way, for example; Boundary markers (rather than fencing)
I researched picket fencing prices and thought about what I could afford. I worked out that to buy new picket fencing, fence posts and post mix would cost me around £140. Which seemed like a big chunk out of my budget. So I also thought about alternatives to fencing, such as using repurposed pallets, planting raspberry bushes and other edibles to mark boundaries or including a blackboard in the boundary. I really like the idea of the boundary fulfilling more than one function in my design, so I think I will probably mix and match some of these ideas with more traditional fencing.
At this point I was starting to get a clearer idea of what to include in my design. Please ignore the toddler scribble on the second photo below!
I narrowed my selection down to the elements that I most wanted in my design and wrote these down on pieces of paper. I then began to think about where elements should be located in relation to each other. I used the design tool of random assembly here. Initially I felt a bit sceptical about the usefulness of this design tool, but actually it brought to light some interesting possible combinations and drew great pictures in my minds-eye.
These were my favourite ideas that came out of using random assembly.
I thought more about the elements and functions that I wanted to include in my design and came up with 5 groupings or key functions that seemed to make sense as shown in the photo below. Certain elements needed to be in two groups, these are shown in orange pen. For example, the vertical planting could form part of the boundary but is also a gardening task. Also the den could be a good place in which to group people together and its also a great resource for free-play.
This flow-diagram was also useful in ensuring that each of my important functions were supported by multiple elements. I did more work on this below.
Boundary to define the area and keep kids safe Picket fencing vertical planting blackboard and signage Bug hotel
Space for children to do gardening Raised bed Boundary beds Key-hole or square foot garden Digging area and access to tools
Bringing people together Seating area Gazeebo /den/ circle time space Flexible activity space/ tables Food and drink area
Activities to inspire free-play Pallet playspace Loose parts storage Role play-space Dens
Specific task play Play kitchen Sand pit/ mud pit Waterplay
I set some SMART goals.
- For the redesign to be completed and implemented by Mid April.
- For all costs to come in at under £300
- To enlarge the space to allow at least five more families to attend to each session
- To make better use of the space and create a logical flow of activity
- To add three new features to the current layout
- To improve the current sand pit, play kitchen and den