When one starts to plan a new garden or new home, the initial energy is really high and you are ready to start.
But wait! Before you start touching the soil, you always need to have a plan.
This plan should be long-term and reflecting expectations of all potential users.
Imagine you will live in a house you hate from the very start, or your relatives will deny to move in - ad absurdum.
This is what can actually happen, if you visit your local architect and he asks - so what would you like?
And you say - You know your job, draft a proposal for us, just please keep it under $.
And an architect is doomed.
Why? Because it is simply not possible to adopt mindset of yours and your family, friends..
Especially if the architect makes a design of the house only - but your lot is not only about house, but also about garden! Why to build a house when you do not want to live in a garden as well? Then a civil architect of your home will need to be also a garden architect and actually a psychologist, mentor and facilitator to find all the things you and your family dream about. Nearly impossible.
Then, both sides risk a confusion.
Or worse, the guy is completely out of your dreams. And even worse, he is sure about a great job.
This is nothing against architects. This can express only the feelings in a moment you realize it was not a good decision to just let it roll without known direction.
So how to prevent these?
There is a summary sheet, which can help you to brainstorm first.
This technique is being used in permaculture design.
In private projects, it can be empowering, funny and without huge struggles.
In public projects, it can be empowering, but also demanding and with struggles, if you do not have some qualitative research skills.
So for now, just lets stick with the idea - I want to have a garden.
Lets build the sheet, which consists of these categories:
Each member of your closer social circle - potential users/inhabitants should fill it - alone.
What they would like in the garden? Somebody wants beautiful plants, somebody wants to feed the family. Somebody wants to have fun while other wants to meditate. You want a workshop, while your kids would prefer playground. And of course, there are resources, which are limited - if not by money, then uby your time before you pass away.
There is too much things which can be in conflict - and this brainstorming, when you leave your and others mind just to spread all the obvious, unobvious and crazy ideas on the paper. It is not time to trash them.
Write it all on your papers, so later you can get back to it, when you will be further in the process of planning.
Do not forget to uncover all the dependencies - if you want to cook outside, you will need a fireplace or kitchen, while having chicken will require hen house, paddock, compost, source of water and food. Once you have chicken, you might want to utilize chicken tractor, or use the heat of hen house to keep your greenhouse warm.
There is a lot of connections in between, and permaculture is about cycles.
PASER sheet will help you to prepare for future.
Because later on, it can be too late.
Permaculture is Permanent Culture.
Building a home or garden is usually project where you will spend years, decades or whole life and your descendants will maybe use it as well. Consider future in your brainstorming.
Do you plan to make nasty private parties? Mabe then you will need to build a high wall, which will prevent you to enjoy the outlook. Argument vs. Argument. Better to know all the consequences first.
Once you have your PASER sheet combined with others and you have found a consensus,
you can proceed to next steps. And not, it is not yet a visit of an architect.