Our Three Step Process
If you want to learn about Permaculture, then you’ve come to the right place! Our approach is to help you do it yourself.
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A Master Plan using the principles of Permaculture design can save years of effort and money in re-designs and "improvements."
No matter where you live, our professional design services to help you regenerate, care for and make the most of the existing resources in your place!
Step 1 | Observation Client & Site
(a) Client Survey:
The first step is to gather and analyze information and perform the work necessary prior to actually designing the system. This initial consultation (one off fee) is a process where the client and designer meet to discuss your needs, wants and desires and to clarify the overall Property Goals.
During this time we formulate a detailed “program” which defines the needs and objectives, function, size and relationship between spaces, and a host of other considerations that affect how you will live in your landscape. During this stage we also establish the scope, budget, timeline and resources required for our services.
The normal procedure and course of events at El Manzano is for the designer to accumulate as much information from the client as possible before visiting the site.
Output: Project Program
(b) Site Survey:
The next step is to take site measurements and create a base map. The designer will assess the resources at hand; what does your site itself have to offer? The designer will walk the site with you to identify and document any site features. They will discuss different possible elements and functions for the landscape to get a sense of what you want to do. This inventory includes the topography, existing site elements such as access, fences, the layout of the property, buildings, eneergy, water, slope, drainage concerns, offsite conditions, availability and quality of light, soil, moisture, wind and existing plant material. The designer makes general suggestions which are discussed with the client, and will then draw up a Base Map using this information.
Usually takes several meetings with the client and several site visits to be thorough. Sometimes it is best to allow some time for assimilation of first impressions and new information before proceeding. Rushing the design process can have negative consequences; it is prudent to emphasize accuracy and completeness rather than speed.
Outcome: Base Map & Info
Step 2 | Analysis & Design Concept
(c) Site Analysis:
The designer makes judgments about the site conditions and determines how the design solutions should respond. Various analytical diagrams are produced. Using the Base Map the designer makes judgments about the site conditions, opportunities and limitations, to determine how the design solutions should respond. These judgments are translated into analytical diagrams which show where elements might be placed.
The analysis may include zones of land use for homes, gardens, orchards, wind breaks etc, sectors of intervention to cath energy or stop wind etc, catchment analysis of where water can be captured and stored, access and networks between site elements, exclusion use area.
Output: Analysis Doc(s)
(d) Design Draft Concept(s):
Designer creates a range of possible options and functional diagrams which creates the overall structure for the design and presents to the client for review.
This is the first really creative part of the design process.
It begins with the creation of concept diagrams and rough sketches of the general layout, form and overall appearance of the site. Then the designer creates a range of possible concepts which will include a layout of functional areas, plant masses and hardscape to meet the Program/Brief. Sketches, drawings and study models are prepared to help evaluate the ideas and concepts and set the final direction for refining the design.
We usually prepare two or three preliminary drawings for the customer using the same design theory; this gives them many options, all of which will work together, so they can pick and choose. The preliminary drawings are then presented to the clients for their input.
Output: Draft Concept(s)
(e) Design Final Concept:
With feedback from the client, designer creates the design with preliminary planting plan and the placement of hardscaping elements etc. Present final concept. 70-80% work done. Using the feedback from the client, the designer incorporates elements into the final design concept.
The designer then creates the design of the preliminary planting plan and the placement of hardscaping elements etc. This preliminary design of systems will be done with consulting engineers as required. Once the size, layout and character of the site are refined, we begin to design elements such as; water harvest & store, gardens, windbreaks. Drawings are prepared that describe some of the important technical details. Plans,elevations and sections through the site are developed.
At the end of this phase 70 to 80 % of the design work will be complete.
Output: Final Concept
Step 3 | Master Plan
(f) Master Plan:
Revisions, if necessary, are made. Approval of the conceptual plan, the designer will then prepare a final copy of a scale master plan to show the layout of plantings and hardscape as well as a listing of plant material, sizes and quantities. The chart could also show the mature size of the plant material, harvest time, and maintenance comments. This may include Construction Documents where the design is translated into the technical language of the contractor; details of materials, where elements located and how they are to be installed. We consider this information of sufficient detail to get fairly inexperienced gardeners or farmers started. For those that need furtherassistance, we offer on-site consultancy or construction assistance at hourly rates.
At El Manzano we usually include the specifications in our proposal for doing the job. Our proposal also includes our price, or estimate, for doing the job.
Output: Master Plan
How long will it take?
This is a difficult question to answer, because there are so many variables that can affect the amount of time it takes for a designer to conduct the design process and complete a plan for your landscape. Variables include;
- intended size, scope and complexity of the project;
- quality of input from the client;
- the involvement and commitment of the client;
- local or regional restrictions and ordinances;
- quality of communication between designer and client; etc.
- current projects of El Manzano team.
Between five days and 10 days of design time would be more typical for our average projects. Between 10 and 15 days for a bigger job. A more accurate estimate can be given to you during your initial appointment contact us.
Although the total amount of billable design time for a project may be the equivalent of several days of work, it is rarely spent continuously. The design work for a project can take several weeks, or even months, to complete. This is generally how long it takes for accurate collection, coordination, and assimilation of multifaceted information originating from many different sources. Total design time varies depending on seasonal demand for our services, the amount of workload booked ahead of us, and the complexity of the designs we are working on.
How much will it cost?
In the interest of openness we publicise our rates, which are reviewed annually, on this website. El Manzano’s current rates are:
- Consult Fee 2.5 UF (CLP$54,500 o US$114) / hour + transport costs.
- Design Services 8 UF / day + transport costs.
These rates are negotiable. Feel free to contact us for further information
One of our landscape design team will discuss your ideas and vision of your site, and will make recommendations and answer your questions. Based on that information, the designer will give you quote for what your landscape design will cost.
El Manzano charges 2.5 UF (CLP$54,500 US$114) / hour + transport costs for its consultation services. There is a US$228/ CLP$109,000 flat fee + transport for the initial consultation which consists of a maximum of two hours. This fee covers designer’s working time, travel time, and travel costs (for an international visit this will include international flights). This initial consultation may be longer (up to one day) for a family or community.
Our landscape plan rates start at about US$1500 / CLP$750 and varies depending on the scope and complexity of the project. A 50% retainer is collected at contract inception. Design fees are invoiced monthly.
What is a typical budget for a landscaping project?
A budgeting rule of thumb for landscape installation is 10% – 20% of the total value of your home. The return on investment for a well maintained and professionally landscaped home can be an increase in value by 7 to 15%. Agreat Permaculture plan can save you years of effort andthousands of dollars you otherwise may have wasted. No matter where you live, our professional designservices will help you make the most of your landscape! Details available here.
Feel free to contact us for further information.
What is Permaculture Design exactly?
Permaculture is sustainable land use design. This is based on ecological
and biological principles, often using patterns that occur in nature to
maximise effect and minimise work. Permaculture aims to create stable,
productive systems that provide for human needs, harmoniously
integrating the land with its inhabitants. The ecological processes of
plants, animals, their nutrient cycles, climatic factors and weather
cycles are all part of the picture. Inhabitants’ needs are provided for
using proven technologies for food, energy, shelter and infrastructure.
Elements in a system are viewed in relationship to other elements, where
the outputs of one element become the inputs of another. Within a
Permaculture system, work is minimised, "wastes" become resources,
productivity and yields increase, and environments are restored.
Permaculture principles can be applied to any environment, at any scale
from dense urban settlements to individual homes, from farms to entire
The intent is that, by training individuals in a core set of design
principles, those individuals can design their own environments and
build increasingly self-sufficient
human settlements — ones that reduce society's reliance on industrial
systems of production and distribution identified as
fundamentally and systematically destroying Earth's ecosystems.
Elements of Design
Permaculture principles draws on the practical application of
ecological theory to analyze the characteristics and potential
relationships between design elements.
Each element of a design is carefully analyzed in terms of its needs,
outputs, and properties. For example chickens need water, moderated microclimate and food, producing meat, eggs, and feathers as well as manure which can help break up hardsoil hardpan.
Design elements are then assembled in relation to one another so that
the products of one element feed the needs of adjacent elements. Synergy
between design elements is achieved while minimizing waste and the
demand for human labor or energy. Exemplary permaculture designs evolve
over time, and can become extremely complex mosaics of conventional and
inventive cultural systems that produce a high density of food and
materials with minimal input.
While techniques and cultural systems are freely borrowed from organic agriculture, sustainable forestry, horticulture, agroforestry, and the land management systems of indigenous peoples, permaculture's fundamental contribution to the field of ecological [or regenerative] design
is the development of a concise set of broadly applicable organizing
principles that can be transferred through a brief intensive training.
Modern permaculture is a system design tool. It is a way of:
- looking at a whole system or problem;
- observing how the parts relate;
- planning to mend sick systems by applying ideas learned from long-term sustainable working systems;
- seeing connections between key parts.
In permaculture, practitioners learn from the working systems of
nature to plan to fix the damaged landscapes of human agricultural and
city systems. This thinking applies to the design of a kitchen tool as
easily to the re-design of a farm.
Permaculture practitioners apply it to everything deemed necessary to build a sustainable future.
"This progression generally involves a shift in the nature of one's
dependence — from relying primarily on universal, purchased, imported,
technology-based interventions to more specific locally available
knowledge and skill-based ones. This usually eventually also involves
fundamental shifts in world-views, senses of meaning, and associated
lifestyles (Hill 1991)."
"My experience is that although efficiency and
substitution initiatives can make significant contributions to
sustainability over the short term, much greater longer-term
improvements can only be achieved by redesign strategies; and,
furthermore, that steps need to be taken at the outset to ensure that
efficiency and substitution strategies can serve as stepping stones and
not barriers to redesign..." (Hill 2000)
The core of permaculture has always been in supplying a design toolkit
for human habitation. This toolkit helps the designer to model a final
design based on an observation of how ecosystems
interact. A simple example of this is how the Sun interacts with a
plant by providing it with energy to grow. This plant may then be pollinated by bees or eaten by deer. These may disperse seed
to allow other plants to grow into tall trees and provide shelter to
these creatures from the wind. The bees may provide food for birds and
the trees provide roosting for them. The tree's leaves fall and rot, providing food for small insects and fungus.
Such a web of intricate connections allows a diverse population of
plant life and animals to survive by giving them food and shelter.
of the innovations of permaculture design was to appreciate the
efficiency and productivity of natural ecosystems, to use natural
energies (wind, gravity, solar, fire, wave and more) and seek to apply
this to the way human needs for food and shelter are met.
Listos para aprender a hacerlo tú mismo?
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Sigue nuestros pasos recomendados
a tomar antes de la planificación, y orientación sobre la mejor manera
de proceder con la aplicación de su diseño de Permacultura.