This is a collection of different designs that I have done for other people.
Each design has it's own process, expectations and visions.
Charlie and Pennys Grey-water system
Client: Charlie and Penny
Location: Bitem, Tarragona, Spain.
Date Started: May 2011
Date Completed: October 2011
Aim: Grey water system for their holiday home.
Charlie and Penny use their home twice a year for approximately 4 weeks each time they stay. Normally at staying at the end of spring and again in autumn.
At them moment they are just letting the grey-water out onto the terrace below the house.
They have a compost toilet so do not need a black-water system.
House situated on top terrace, with plumbing works leading to the terrace below.
They would like to increase the flow of water from the house.
At the present time they just have drainage from just a kitchen sink. But they have just built a shower and a basin in the small bathroom which will considerable increase the amount of water that needs to be filtered.
Creating a small grey-water system this will stop a build up of smelly water on the terrace below where they sit in the evening and divert the water into a more approximate regeneration system.
hide water waste
allow a greater flow of water waste
at times of the year there is no water flow and plants could die.
Land not really theirs!
can only use waste materials from the land or what I can find.
Time constraint, I have to fit the process into the two hour a week work schedule.
design a grey-water system on a low budget.
Lots of unused building materials lying around.
Earth care: by using the left over building material that are lying about I can create a system of recycling and stop the waste from reaching the land-fill. It will also be a system that will take the pathogens out of the water (from soaps and washing up liquids) and create a cleaner water that can be used to feed the trees and herbs below the house.
People care: Charlie and Penny will be able to have their shower and also not have to carry buckets of used water out of the house, as they are getting older this could be potentially hazardous.
Fare share: I am using my knowledge to give them a better environment to live in and they are giving back to the environment around them.
The first stage of the design is to decide where to put the system.
Looking at the site I will be working on where the plumbing already exists, and what materials are available to me.
I will be working on my own but with plenty of time to put into the project, as Charlie and Penny will not be returning untill October of this year.
The project will run over several weeks, but I will only be on site for 2 hours a week.
The main permaculture principles that will be implemented in the design are
Produce no waste. In using this principle we can make the waste into a renuable product by cleaning it though the plants and taking it down yet another terrace to water and feed an excisting Olive tree.
Use and Value renuable resources; let nature take it's course and do the work of cleaning the waste product for us, via the plants.
Design from Pattern to detail; in using the contor of the land we create gravaty flow from the house into the rejuvenation chamber and onto the terrace below through the outlet pipe
Intergrate rather than segregate; the intergration of this type of system into the landscape will benefit not only the plant but also the people living there.
Use small and slow solutions; As Charlie and Penny use a compost toilet it is not necessary to install a massive septic tank, this way we can eliminate the large costs and energy involved in such systems.
old plastic swimming pool off cut
100 mm PVC tubing that was left over from previous plumbing work
PVC tubing T joint
PVC tubing 90' L joint
off cuts of concrete lintels
gravel from previous building jobs
stones of various sizes obtained from the surrounding land scape. Large rocks for sounding and retaining the plastic sheeting, smaller stones sived and graded for the infill
drill and bits
To clear away the under growth from around the olive tree.
Dig out site
Line hole with Plastic swimming pool liner that was found in the rubbish.
Grade and sort stones from surrounding area.
Add left-over concrete lintels to extra create flow for grey-water through site.
Add larger stones (40mm+) in the bottom of chamber
Support outer wall of chamber with large rocks
Perferate the PVC tubing using a drill and large drill bit (10) making lots of dranage holes to allow for even drainage throughout the rejuvenation chamber.
Connect to outlet pipe from house using 100mm L junction and 100mm T juntion.
Add gravel that was found on site and had been left over from prevous build works.
Add outlet pipe from the rejuvenation tank to transport the cleaned water to a lower terrace and olive tree.
Build up retaining wall to secure the pool liner in place and cap with large rocks.
Add sifted soil ontop of gravel
Plant with Cattails (Typha) and Umbrella palm (Cyperus alternifolius) obtained from my pond.
Hopefully there shoud be little maintance required, some light weeding should be all that needs required.
The process went well and the clients were very happy with it.
As time went on we lost the Cattails through the hot summer months when there was no water flow. The Umbrella palm survived and other plants started to colonize such as different grasses.
But ove all it was a success, the water was redirected away from the house and no smell were present.
soft fruits and vegetables more easily accessible
removal of herbaceous boarders
easier access for the lawn mower
easier access to shed
Points of focus at different time of the day
What would also be nice to have?
mini green house/cloth
Lyn and Brian's Garden
Client: Mum and Dad
Location: Church Crookham, Hampshire
Date Started: Sept 2014
Date Finished: May 2015
Design Process: SADIMet
Names: Lyn and Brian Stallybrass
Ages: over 60
Roles in the garden: both share the responsibilities for the vegetable beds but Brian does the lawn mowing.
It has been the family home for a family of 4. The children have grown up and left home and are now have families of their own.
It was a new estate when they moved on and except for the addition of plants not much has changed in the garden since they moved in.
Locally available resources and services:
Some very good garden centres and farm suppliers are close by
No planning permissions needed
How do you feel about the current arrangements of your garden?
What is working well?
Enjoy the fruit trees that they have planted
The circular terrace is a wonderful area for the evening drinks in the winter months
the raised vegetable bed is working well
water collection from both the roof of the shed and the house is enough to water the garden during most of the year, they only need to top up during the driest months of summer.
New shed is great for storing the garden tools
What is not working well?
The lawn is getting difficult to manage
The herbaceous beds are getting out of hand and due to back problems it is getting harder for them to attend to them.
Wood shed is getting hard to access
Side of the house has a lot of unwanted item
Circular patio is disintegrating
Step down from garden shed
Can not easiely get the lawn mower from the shed to the front lawn
Do not have space for potting up or a small green house or clotch to start of seedling
Clients wants and needs;
A more easterly manageable garden.
removal of grass, replace with gravel
Area needed for washing line
more fruit trees
What are the clients values and visions?
Over the year sustainability has become a more prominent focus in their lives. They have turned to solar energy to run the house and also have an efficient wood burner to warm the house.
They are very conscious of water usage and try to collect as much rain water as possible to water the garden.
They already compost the garden and house hold food waste.
To grow more of the vegetables that are expensive to buy in the shops and to produce more fruit, as they both eat a lot.
To have a herb garden close to the kitchen door.
Life Style Questions:
Wood for burner
Extra compost for planters and raised beds
Time spent on site:
During the summer, most days
Rest of the year, twice a week
Hobbies and Interests:
Like to grow their own food
All home made meals.
Vegetables such as; Beans, tomatoes, aspargus,
Fruit Trees; Plum, Pear
Lyn's quilting group (weekly)
Friends (Once a month but more in the summer)
Length of time on site?
They have been living there for the last 25 years
Security of tenure – own or rent?
Good, they are at the back of the estate and the garden is surrounded by other garden. They have access to the garden via a secure wooden gate.
Ownership and state of repair:Not all of the fences surrounding the garden are their property and a few are in disrepair. On the SE facing boundary there is a Leylandii hedge that could be trimmed!!!
Rights of way:
They have no rights of way problems
Energy sources and resources / underground utilities:
Their energy is provided by photo-voltaic cells.
There is a service drain in the middle of the patio
Energy or resource leaks:
The lawn in the back garden is not needed and requires energy that could be used in other places, (Such as my mum asking my dad to mow it!!)
Recently they have built a garden shed in the SE corner of the garden, which is good for storing the lawn mower and gardening tools.
They also have a wood shed for storing the winter wood but at the moment it is hard to get to.
Designing with principles
Herbaceous plants and herbs
Very messy and unattened but with a lot of great plants.
The beds are on ground level which make them hard to manage.
There are alot of weeds inter-mixed with the plants
Herbs are mixed into the beds making harvesting difficult
One 1 1/2 m x 1m x 50 cm
raised bed for vegetable growing
Works well but has little access from all sides.
The main access is from the lawn.
It would be good to add at least another to the garden plan.
It has enabled my mum, with the added height off the ground, to prepare and harvest with the minimum of effort or pain.
Out door dinning area
access from kitchen
access from conservatory
The paving slabs are broken and unlevel.
In a later stage of the design it would be replaced and leveled.
compressed woodchip briquettes
garden furniture cushions
water collection from roof to water butt to raised bed via drip feed irrigation pipes
The storage is good but the access is limited. There is a high step up into the shed which makes the lawnmower hard to remove.
Two plastic 220ltr compost bins
provides compost for the plant pots and raised bed.
The bins take light garden waste and the waste from the kitchen.
All larger garden waste is deposited in the small woodland at the front of the house between the front lawn and canal.
It is accessed from across the lawn. Again not practical during the winter months.
Integrate rather that segregate;
It is essential to integrate the compost area into the plan as this is accessed on a daily basis
Use and value renewable resources;
By removing the vegetable waste from the house and light waste from the garden, we in turn not only save a valuable resource from leaving the site and stopping the build up of landfills 'Produce no waste', we are also 'obtaining a yield' which can be added back to the the garden
In the ground
There are a few ornamental trees that are not needed and would be removed from the garden.
The pear tree is right in front of the conservatory window stopping the view into the garden, it is young enough to be replanted some where else.
The plum trees will be staying where they are.
Access for most of the garden inc. shed, washing line, raised bed, compost bins, evening setting area, etc.
Awkward shape to mow.
Not used except for access.
Becomes wet in winter which can be a potential hazard.
If washing falls off the like it can get dirty.
Produce no waste;
it is a wasted source of energy to mow a lawn that is not being used or wanted.
Design from Pattern to detail;
there is a pattern emerging in the lawn to show the path used as a desire line, this shows where we should install a pathway.
Evening seating area which catches the last of the daily sun.
Area to observe the rest of the garden (point of focus and contemplation)
The patio itself has fallen into disrepair and is too small for more than the garden bench.
Would like it to be more of a feature in the garden
Use and value renewable resources;
although it is crumbling It is in the right spot, and can be used as a base for the new patio.
Water butts from
house for manual filling into watering can.
garden shed connected to irrigation system
There are 4 220ltr water containers. 1 from the roof of the conservatory, 1 from house roof and two from shed roof.
Catch and store energy;
a good system that uses the rain water collected from the roofs of the site
Use small and slow solutions;
By placing the plants that are still wanted into puts that would raise them off the ground for ease of maintenance and stop the invasion of weeds. they will also take less watering.
Use small and slow solutions;
Fruit trees will produce a yield which will gain over time and give pleasure during the months of flowering, adding colour to the garden.
'Obtaining a yield'
Not only in the fruit the trees provide but in shade during the summer months.
By moving the Pear tree from outside the conservatory window, we will be able to 'observe and interact' with the garden during all of the seasons.
Integrate rather that segregate;
The integration of this patio with the rest of the garden would form a relationship to all the other elements in the garden, creating a pathway would connect all the elements together.
Produce no waste;
The position is in the shadiest spot of the garden so does not use up sunlight that would be useful to plants.
Integrate rather that segregate;
water collection from roof.
Creatively use and respond to change;
In the history of the garden this raised bed is the latest addition and is working well.
It would be good to add more raised beds to the plans
Obtain a yield;
by providing a place to grow vegetables that would otherwise be too expensive to buy
People care; To design the garden within the interests of an elderly couple with restricted movement, but love to spend time the garden with out having to break their backs to enjoy it
Earth Care; To create a garden that functions well on its own with out excessive inputs from exterior sources
Fair-share: Produce a vegetable yield that can be shared between family and friends. Create a garden that facilitates functions and gatherings.
The Sweet spot; to have a garden that is productive and beautiful, but is comfortable to work in with minimum effort. That can give more time to enjoyment with family and friends rather than to maintenance.
Tools and resources
There are a good supply of tools onsite.
We will try to use as many resources from the site this will not only help with cost but will clean up some of the unused leftovers from other jobs.
2" x 2" building wood.
strips of thin ply-board for marking out path
Other materials will be bought in
Circular terrace paving stones
pathway paving stones
sand and cement for pathway
40mm round stone
garden barrier sheeting
Zones and sectors
Defining of roles.
During the design process I did a number of different basic designs, to find out how they, the clients, would like their garden to look and function. Judging from their comments we came up with a final design.
We decided on a work schedule, using SMART goals:
Dividing off the small orchard space using cut-offs from left over building wood 2”x 2” in an upright position and a various heights to obtain a curved line.
Rebuilding and extending the circular patio, using the existing patio as a base and topping off with new paving slabs.
Taking the lawn up in the area where the new pathway will go and using it to level out the ground where it is needed.
Turning the lawn over in the orchard area to stop it growing back through the gravel
Lay pathway from house to shed
Pot up all plants that are wanted from the herbaceous boarders, compost what is left.
Lay down garden barrier sheet and add gravel to the middle area of the garden
Lay down garden barrier sheet to orchard area and add 40mm round stones.
Move the Pear Tree during dormant period to its new position in orchard.
Build 1m x 1.5m x 50cm raised bed to grow soft fruits. Use compost and left-over plant material to fill it.
Raise bed in front of the conservatory window using left over brick from previous building jobs to make it more of a feature and plant with herbs.
Phase Three - future desires (no time frame)
Lay new kitchen patio
build mini green house and potting area on the sunny side of the house
Clear plant boarders and widen path around the existing raised bed.
In this respect we are trying to measure what Brian can do on his own and what he will need help with.
Points 1 & 2 to be achieved by Brian and Peach in two weeks
September – October 2014:
Point 3, 4 and 5, Brian.
Point 6, Lynfa
End of October 2014:
Point 7 and 8, Brian with the help of Thomas (grandson).
Point 1, Brian
January- March 2015
Point 2- 3, Brian
Patio to be completed by builders when sufficient funds are available.
Green house ?
Brian is happy to take on most of the work himself.
I have agreed to two weeks initial design implementation
Thomas has agree upon helping out with as much as he can during the weekends, especially with the gravelling.
Lynfa is in charge of plant relocation and potting up and composting.
All help is being offered for free.
We have given ourselves a realistic time schedule and due to not having to employ any exterior contractor we are not worried if the time frame wavers a little, but it would best be ready for summer 2015 or we have Lynfa to answer to!!!
Our only limiting factor on timing is the coming winter. Ideally most of the ground work should be done by the end of December and before the ground freezes over in the new year.
The planting beds will be finished (hopefully) before the end of March, ready for planting up.
Our only essential time-bound obligation is the Pear Tree.
All went well with the implementation, thankfully we had given plenty of time for each stage as Brian is a perfectionist and took a little longer than expected.
The design was a complete success and the garden has been enjoyed more now than expected.
The energy that has been stored and been put into a more productive use of space.
Phase two was implemented a finished in time for spring planting and fresh raspberries were had for breakfast that summer.
A few things were not done; the access was not made around the raised bed.
The Design progressed over the next two years to fulfil Phase three, the patio was repaved
and a mini Green house was installed at the back of the house.
Simon and Laura's Garden
Clients: Simon and Laura
Location: Tortosa, Spain
Clients names Simon and Laura Tovey
Roles in garden: Joint
The farm is an olive farm with farm house. The majority of the farm is on steep North facing terraces but the farm house is on the lower wider terraces with good access to the road.
To have a vegetable garden that needs little water but can sustain itself during the hot summer months.
Beds that are suited to both annuals and perennials and maybe a few fruit trees.
Able to make the beds turned over by the chickens at the end of the summer season using the chicken tractor that they already have.
Close to the house for easy harvest.
Occupation and travel,
Laura – Yoga teacher, on-site most of the year but travels to work 3 days a week
Simon – Sound engineer, travels for work and can be away for 3 months at a time.
Olive oil and egg production.
Hobbies and interests,
Laura not only an accomplished yoga teacher is also an amazing artist.
Simon has a keen interest in Solar Energy and is working toward establishing his own solar installation business which would mean he would not have to travel so far from home.
Laura is probable the best cook I have meet!!! Both of them are gluten intolerant. Meat is not a high priority in their diet.
The farm is an established olive farm. Simon and Laura have introduced a few fruit trees. They have a few chickens that are for egg production.
During the summer they have many family member coming to visit. During the times they are away the have many friends that love to come over and get a free holiday in exchange for looking after the land and the animals.
During the olive harvest they host volunteers.
Site related questions:
Length of time on site,
they bought the farm in 2015 and are planning to stay for the foreseeable future.
The farm is fenced off from the road but the land is steeply terraced up to the ridge. They are surrounded by other olive farm.
There are no mains resources, the house has a small solar energy supply. Water is either by water collection from the roof of the house or delivered by truck.
Animals on site,
2 dogs, 2 cats and a number of chickens.
Flat-ish land on the same terrace as the house
gets the most sun during the winter months
Energetic, capable and skilled occupants.
Easy access for transporting materials
Winter sunlight hours are short
limited water on site
ground is rock hard and compacted
on a slight slope
garden can be left to unskilled gardeners while occupants are away
poor soil structure/fertility
good supply of wood chip
horse manure on one of the neighbouring farms
access to grey water from the outdoor kitchen
to grow nutritious vegetables for the house hold table
sustainable use of outputs
low import / high outputs
reducing dependents on imports and transport
build up of soil fertility
integrating annuals with perennials
digging into compacted soil.
After talking with Simon and Laura about what they wanted out of their vegetable garden we settled on a design which would fit into with their needs.
The position of the vegetable garden would be close to the house and next to the outdoor kitchen which would provide grey-water from the sink and facilities for preparing harvests.
This location is also the only place on the land that gets a prolonged period of sun light during the winter months.
The chicken coop although not on the same terrace is in easy access to take the wastes from the garden down to them by wheelbarrow.
There is a water tank positioned on a terrace 2 levels above which provides water for the shower, which in turn can then be supplied to the garden. On the terrace above there is a 4000 lt plastic swimming pool which can also supply extra water during the hot summer months.
Add base map/elevation
Three levels of beds will be slightly terraced along the contour of the site.
left over trunks from the cut down pines we can use for building up the lower sides of the beds to bring the beds up level.
Due to the lack of access to water but good access to wood chip (available on site after the pruning of the over grown olive and pine) we decide to create 'wells' in the ground directly under the vegetable beds. These would be dug 30cm deep into the slope on the higher side of the beds and 10 cm deep on the lower side. These wells when filled up with wood chip would soak up water and be a slow release for the plant roots during the summer.
These channels are dug all the way along the beds layout but the beds will be divided into 5 large beds capable of accommodating the chicken tractor, these will be the main annual bed. Four smaller beds intersecting the other beds will be for perennials herbs and a few small fruit trees.
I went with a friend to help mark out and start to digging out the trenches for the 'water soak wells'. we preserved the removed soil to one side for later use. Any stones we found were laid down between the beds as a solid pathway. Surprisingly there was not as many stones as we had thought there would be and the soil, although very hard and compacted was quite healthy.
The digging was very hard going and although four of us were working all day we didn't manage to complete all the trenches.
Over the next few days Simon manage to complete the trenches. Then it was time to start filling them up with wood chip. After soaking them sufficiently with water, a layer of cardboard was added and also soaked. A Layer of horse manure was added next and then the soil that had been removed from the trenches, As the beds were building up and levelling out we built up the sides and edges with felled pine tree trunks, which has been removed from the upper terraces to allow more light into the valley during winter.
When the beds were filled, irrigation pipes were laid down. The final layer was a thick mulch of Straw which was the only out sourced input to the whole system.
The Design worked better than we could have predicted. Spring 2018 the first annual vegetables were planted and grew well. The 'water soak wells' kept the plants going all summer even when I very kind friend came to look after the land but forgot to water the plants for two weeks in the hottest driest month of August.