Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Monday, April 16, 2007

Design plan

Prudence and Steve, recent graduates of the Permaculture Design course in Esalen, came by Saturday and presented their team's plan for Home of the Future and Mariposa Grove.

They did a few of the calculations that I never had; specifically, how much rain could be captured across the 4 buildings? Oakland only gets 24 inches of precipitation annually; how much could it possibly be?

80,000 gallons, that's how much.

No wonder my backyard is wet for so much of the year.

The feature of the design I liked most was a wonderful example of stacking functions. A walkway across all three properties served to link the two communities, provided habitat for native grasses and coastal flowers, and hid a french drain to help move water away from the buildings. This path split the driveways, meandering somewhat down the center. The use of low-growing plants would allow cars to still use the drives, while also providing filtration for road grime falling off the cars so as to help keep pollutants out of the bay.

That sort of thinking, making a single feature serve so many functions, from social to environmental, is what I like about permaculture.

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