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Bungala Ridge Permaculture Gardens


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Planning to get the most out of the energies flowing through our property

Copyright © Beverley Paine May 2002

Permaculture encourages the use and management of wild energies (derived from the sun, water flow, fire, wind, rain) entering our property. The aim is to control and direct these energies to maximise benefits and yields, making the energies work for us not against us. This means understanding, through close and careful observation, the nature, origin and behaviour of these energies. Permaculture calls this process sector analysis and planning.

All of these energies are generated from outside of our property and flow through it, and can be used in many different ways to make our lives easier. When designing our property we marked the entry positions, direction and intensity of flows, and exit points of these energies on a contoured map. It became easy to see where to place things like trees, hedges, fences, buildings, tanks and damns to get the most use out of these energies before they left our system. Most of the energies we sought to 'harvest'; some, like fire or flood, we needed to deflect or exclude. The idea is to place built or planted elements to serve our needs. Some of the strategies we've adopted include:

  • planting windbreaks in our south-eastern corner to protect our orchard and house from strong cold winds;
  • constructing swales that allow rain from cloud bursts to soak into the soil instead of sheeting down our steep slope;
  • capturing the energy from the sun with photovoltaic and solar water panels;
  • planting deciduous trees on the north side of our house to shade it from summer heat and allow light and warmth to enter during winter;
  • terracing the vegetable garden to increase the amount of light falling onto it during winter;
  • erecting sun-traps that doubt as windbreaks for our fruit trees;
  • removing highly flammable trees from our fire sectors and placing elements such as driveways and selected plants as protective barriers;
  • using gravity to move water around the site;
  • collecting rainwater in tanks.

There are lots of ways we use the energies entering our site to our benefit, and we're always modifying what we've done to make life easier. When doing this we think hard about using appropriate technology, preferring low energy solutions to ones that cost a lot or need hard work, but more on that next time.



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care for earth,
care for people,
return surplus,
reduce consumption

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Copyright © Beverley Paine 2002-14. Article from this website may be downloaded, reproduced, and distributed without permission as long as each copy includes this entire notice along with citation information (i.e., name of the periodical in which it originally appeared, date of publication, and author's name). Permission must be obtained from the author in order to reprint this article in a published work or to offer it for sale in any form. Please visit Bungala Ridge Permaculture Gardens for more original content by Beverley Paine.