“Failing to plan is planning to fail”

As the old adage goes planning the garden will save a lot of heart ache later.

Some basic questions to ask are;

Does the site get 6 hours of light?
Veggies need full sun to really flourish and set fruit. A 6 hour period of light is generally considered the minimum. Some areas of your garden will get more light in the summer as the sun is higher in the sky. Areas which face North on the compass are best, followed by east, followed by west. Areas that are dark can still be used to grow leafy greens; such as lettuce or roquette, as well as herbs such as parsley or spring onion.

Do you have access to water?
Water is life, and your veggies and fruit trees definitely need it. A simple mains hose does the job, but a water tank can save money in the long term. New hosing estates have reclaimed water which is also fine. Having a grey water system installed can save even more water and money which can be used to water fruit trees. Installing an auto drip irrigation can make your garden even less work and save water.

Big trees
Big trees can block out a lot of light, and may have to be trimmed if you want to have a productive patch. Eucalyptus trees can be very thirsty and search out garden beds with their roots. Special measures may have to be in place to protect against Eucalyptus roots.

Consultation Services

Option One: Preliminary Design Consultancy

Option One is a preliminary design consultancy, where you contact us to arrange a suitable time for a consultancy visit.  One or two of us arrive, and after saying hello,  we:

  1. Sit down with you, and ideally everyone who lives at the site, to discuss your time, energy and financial budgets, what you would like out of the site (e.g., how much and what kinds of food) and what elements you would like included in the design, which might include:
    • Herb gardens supplying food, flavour, tea and medicine
    • Diverse and productive organic vegetable and fruit gardens
    • Compost bays and worm farms
    • Poultry systems
    • Orchards and food forests
    • Maximum efficiency watering systems including tanks
    • Fertility-enhancing tree, plant and animal systems
    • No-dig and raised garden beds using natural contours to full advantage
    • Beautiful and functional mandala and keyhole gardens
    • Ponds for growing water plants and attracting helpful creatures and birds into your garden
    • Wastewater treatment and utalisation systems (e.g., Greywater mulch pits where biologically filtered grey water irrigates fruit tree crops)
    • Native bird habitat
  2. Walk around your property without you, observing and assessing the characteristics of the site (e.g., sun, wind, slope, soil, existing vegetation) in an unbiased way
  3. Come up with a concept design and rough pencil sketch based on our site analysis and the design brief
  4. Re-walk the site with you, sharing our preliminary concept design and inviting your feedback and any prior design ideas you’ve had
  5. Make a basic computer-rendered design diagram that is to scale and that lays out the basic concept design
  6. Send a brief five page follow-up report by email summarising our site analysis, design recommendations, and possible next steps

Our fee for this consultancy, which allows one of us to spend up to four person-hours on site and one hour off site, is $430 inc. GST during weekdays or $490 inc. GST during weekends (payable in advance or during the consultancy visit).  For unusually large or complex sites we might suggest you pay us for an extra hour or two.  To save time, we ask that prior to our arriving you consider and complete a list of the things you would like to include in your design and the time you have each week to maintain the system.

Option Two: Initial Design Consultancy

Option Two is our Initial Design Consultancy, in which two of us spend 4 hours on site and one hour off site generating an accurate, to scale base map and design, including particular kinds of plants, the locations and swing directions of any doors or gates, and generally much more detail.  Instead of a five-page report we deliver a 10-15 page report with as much detail as we can pack in.  Our fee for this consultancy is $770 inc. GST during weekdays or $910 inc. GST during weekends.  For unusually large or complex sites we might suggest you pay us for an extra hour or two.  These consultancies are our most popular, and we usually conduct two or three each week.  You can see some examples of our initial design consultancy design diagrams here. Note: Occasionally one of us will spend up to eight hours on site rather than two of us for four hours – let us know if you have a preference either way.

Option Three: Full Design Consultancy

If you choose to proceed to the next step, we can prepare a full set of landscaping plans that are coloured, to scale and accurately detail the placement of the different design elements.  What we deliver typically includes:

  • a site analysis diagram, showing slope, winter and summer sun angles and prevailing winds
  • a detailed, coloured computer-rendered design diagram
  • a separate detailed water and irrigation plan
  • a 30+ page design report including:
    • site analysis
    • site specific system recommendations
    • plant lists
    • time-stepped implementation guides
    • other relevant information

Essentially the design report is a manual tailored specifically to the permaculture-based transformation of your property.  We are also happy to answer questions and talk you through the implementation of the design over time.  Depending on the time required, our minimum fee for this service is $1970 inc. GST (Most designs don’t exceed this price, but larger, more complex or more distant sites will cost more).