Project Lake Forest

Project Terrace Oaks A permaculture design for the Armentrout family. Starting Point A 2.5 acre property in the humid subtropics, 85 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. The property receives on average 44 of rain per year but could be as much as double or half of that making water harvesting and storage a top priority. Water has been designed in the form of a dry creek to divert water away from the structures and to a retention pond behind the food forest. We will also be

directing rain water from the roof runoff to the kitchen gardens and to swales in the food forest. Structures and Access are already in place with exception of the garden paths. Sector Analysis Considerations for summer and winter sun angles, predominant winds as well as the hot summer winds and the cold winter winds. There are no undesirable views due to the wooded location. Desirable views have been established by the outdoor dining/patio area and the writers

bedroom window. Fire considerations were considered, but there is no definite fire front location in this area. Hot summer winds would be the best guess, but they could come from anywhere. Although this is not a fire-prone area, it is a possibility and fireproof specimens should be selected on the outer clearing boundary. A flood sector has been determined and is addressed by the addition of a pond and dry creek. Water Water resources are scarce. Roof runoff from rain events will be diverted into swales for a food forest as well as the kitchen garden area. A dry creek will run through the middle of the design, leading to a retention pond, both of which will

create habitat for wildlife and beneficial insects. Access & Structure Existing Structures include a home and barn. Access is via concrete driveway. Additional access is planned for garden paths, walkway to & from barn & house. The dry creek will also double as access during dry weather. No additional structure is needed except a few native bee houses and perhaps in the future a duck and/or chicken coop(s). Existing Trees &

Landscaping This is a forested site and there are many existing native trees on the property contributing to a fantastic ecosystem and one we want to disturb as little as possible. All native trees and habitats will remain with the exception of what is needed for the designated area and that needed for the pond. Inside the designated area, no trees have been left and the area is a blank slate. Zone 1 Permaculture sections the landscape into zones for more efficient use of

space. Zone 1 is the area you will spend most of your time and visit multiple times per day. Zone 1 includes the kitchen and herb garden and relaxation areas that you spend time in often. The outer edge of Zone 1 can also include small livestock that you must visit on a daily basis. In the next few slides well take a closer look at each element inside your Zone 1 garden. Herb Spiral An herb spiral is a design based on efficiency. It is about 6 wide and 3 feet tall in the center, and spiraling down to

ground level as it reaches the micro pond area. This design creates many micro-climates that, in turn, allow us to plant many different types of plants together in close proximity even though they might have different growing habits. Each herb is easily reachable from any side allowing for ease of harvest and maintaining a minimal footprint. Watering is also easily achieved with a single 6 foot micro sprinkler. Herbs that prefer drier soil go on top while those that like more moist soil are planted closer to ground level. Theres a picture of my herb spiral on the next slide.

Real Life Sample of an Herb Spiral This herb spiral was just planted in April of this year and this photo was taken June. Lots of growth for only 2 months. This is not high quality soil that was installed either, just the power of micro-climates. Herb Placement I have placed the herb spiral right outside your back door so that will provide easy access and also allow for plenty of sun. This ease of access will encourage you to pick fresh herbs daily as you need them. Kitchen Garden Your kitchen garden is also placed

directly outside your door and is fashioned like a mandala. This style of garden allows for maximum production area, minimizing access needed and is the most efficient due to the ease of access of the entire garden. The beds you see here will be constructed by digging out a foot path on contour and using that topsoil as the raised portion of the bed. This will allow for extra water soakage while elevating the plants in order to prevent drowning. The dugout path is filled with woodchips and each year they are added as top dressing to the beds as a

fertile compost and new chips are laid in the paths. Zone 1 (a) Composting is vital to the success of any gardener and there are many ways to achieve this. Permaculture teaches us how to create a healthy hot compost in just 18 days. This is a fantastic method and creates some of the best compost available. It is also very labor intensive. In some instances, you will need to utilize this strategy and I can send you info on how this is done. Vermicomposting is composting with worms. Composting worms, also known as Red Wigglers, break down almost everything into the absolute richest form of compost

available and it is very easy to do. All you have to do is take your waste to them daily and they will handle the rest. Be aware, they will not process citrus, dairy, oils or meat, but everything else is fine, even paper waste! Another option is the Black Soldier Fly, aka the BSF. They will process the things listed above that composting worms will not. They are not normal flies. In fact, they dont even have mouths and they produce larvae which can be harvested & fed to chickens and fish! Zone 1 (b) A greenhouse is a necessity in any permaculture garden since youll be starting plants so often. This can

serve double duty by acting as a shade house in the summer just make sure you build it with removable skins. Zone 2 Zone 2 is a more broad area and one that becomes more involved with the natural process. Here we have more noisy animals like chickens as well as plants that are more self stable and can take care of themselves. Things like trees and perennial shrubs. We are less involved in Zone 2 and we must only visit it daily for animals or even less than daily for the self stable plants.

I have planned a swaled food forest as your Zone 2 and also a chicken coop and run. While you didnt specifically say you wanted chickens, they are a great fertility aid to your gardens while producing fresh organic eggs and can be very little maintenance in a deep litter environment, which will give you something to do with your garden waste and turn it into beautiful compost. If you decide chickens are not your thing, a wildflower meadow will be planted in this area instead. Food Forest

Here you have your Zone 2 food forest. A food forest is a system that is self stable and will continue to get better with time. Very little intervention is necessary and maintenance is only required several times per year. A food forest consists of 7 layers, possibly more or less depending on climate. You will have your overstory trees which provide stability and is usually a large nut or fruit tree followed by an understory, then a shrub layer, an herbaceous layer, ground cover, rhizome and vines. These layers are there whether or not we put them in so we do put them in to discourage unproductive species from invading. When building a food forest, we include not only productive trees but also support species that are fast growing to produce shade for younger trees

while theyre getting established and that also fix nitrogen in the soil. I have labeled your fruit trees and shrubs and have also chosen support species that will bring in beneficial insects, pollinators and help fix nitrogen in the soil. The vining and rhizome layer have not been chosen yet but we can do that after discussing further. A banana circle has also been included in this food forest. Details provided in next slide. Banana Circle A banana circle is a way to stack functions. First, we grow bananas, great! Second, we find a place for any extra mulch and compostable material we have that we dont have anything to do with,

conveniently. A banana circle is about 6 foot in diameter and has a 3 foot pit in the center that is filled with mulch, which quickly decomposes into rich, fertile compost. There are also other plants that go into a banana circle. Lemongrass keeps out weeds and varmint. Comfrey provides nutrient accumulation. Sweet potato provides a lovely ground cover, salad greens and the sweet edible tuber. Taro also provides greens and tubers. Peas and beans can be grown in alternating seasons to provide edibles as well as fix nitrogen in the soil. A view of the recently installed banana circle at my property on the next slide.

Real example of a Banana Circle This was planted the 1st week of May, 2017 and this photo was taken just 3 months later. The growth in this type of system is absolutely amazing! Swales, In Focus Here you can see a swale in action. A trench is dug on contour, soil laid on the down side of the trench creating an uncompacted mound. Water loving plants are grown below the flood level while acidic loving plants like blueberries are grown on the inside of mound where the soil is most acidic due to the moisture level. Ground covers are planted immediately to provide soil stability and to fix nitrogen. Fast growing species should be chosen here. Productive fruit and nut trees are grown on the top of the mound and supporting species planted within the system. Insectaries, herbs, mulch plants, nitrogen fixers and chop and drop sacrificial plants are all part of the system. Not shown here is the overflow sill, which must be completely level at each point. The swale itself is also built completely level in order to pacify the water for maximum soil infiltration.

Swales Close Up The benefit of installing swales here is that it will slow the water, spread it out evenly and soak it into the ground rather than allowing erosion to continue. Between the swales are planted in nitrogen fixing cover crops like clover, birds foot trefoil, dandelion, plantain, wildflowers and other beneficial plants that will help improve the soil, attract pollinating insects as well as predatory insects which will help with pest management. We have found that ducks will often come and visit after rains also depositing nutrient into the swale system and helping reducing any pest insect pressure. You can see the water flow and how its designed. We will channel rainwater runoff from your roof

into the first swale. Opposite that input is a level sill that will be compacted to prevent erosion. That sill overflows into the next swale and so on until it eventually goes to the pond. Calculations are used to determine the length of the sill. Based on your catchment area and the maximum rainfall in our area, your sills should be 2.3 feet long. 3 feet would be best to ensure for even a stronger rain. Zone 5 Zone 5 is Wilderness. It is undisturbed and we only enter to observe from nature and for recreation. Nature is our teacher and this is where we learn. Zone 5 consists of most of your property and is already in place, use it for your

enjoyment, education & meditation. This area hosts habitat for creatures that will intermingle with your other zones. Some of these critters will need to be controlled, limiting access to the inner zones while others can be allowed to take advantage of the oasis you have created and can be enjoyed for their natural beauty and awesome behavior. Note: Zone 3 is for grazing animals and Zone 4 is for agroforestry and the like. You are not trying to graze animals or have a woodlot, so I have excluded these zones from your design, which is why you go straight from Zone 2 to Zone 5. Whole Design

This design has now been finalized and a print ordered upon your satisfaction. Any questions, comments, concerns, additions, subtractions? Thank you again for this opportunity. It has been extremely fun and rewarding to design such a great property. Im not sure what level of design you expected but I hope this met and exceeded it. Remember any of these elements can be changed, deleted or waited to install at your choice. However, this design represents whole system thinking and is meant for long term success.

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