top of page


Purposeful efficiency is essential to self-sufficiency and sustainable living and therefore essential to your permaculture design.

The appropriate placement and of elements within your design is governed by good patterning and analysis of the land's sectors. This will ensure all components are positioned in an efficient energetic relationship, with regards to the periodicity of use. The more frequent the visits, the closer the component needs to be to your site’s main activity centre. The number of visits will depend on how often the component needs your attention, in addition to how often you need to visit it to access its yields.

Consider the hen house.

How many times would you visit it in a year? With daily egg collection and feeding, weekly watering, monthly manure collection, and occasional culling, annual visits could easily exceed 800.

By contrast, a fodder hedge might only be attended eight times a year to cut and throw over the fence for dry season livestock feed.

So where should each sit within your site plan?

Every element you are intending to put into your design will need to have an assessment done on it where you can ascertain how busy you will be working with it. It is from this assessment you can choose the best elements zonal placement. The concept of Permaculture zones suggests sensible placement for all elements in your system.

Zoning our activities is all about being energy-efficient. Placing elements and functions in different zones is defined by how much energy they require.

ZONE O The home, this is the focus of human activity, where people live and work.

Zone 0 consumes the most resources but also provides the main source of work, labour and knowledge.

ZONE 1 Regular daily visits - Within 6 meters (20 feet) or so of the house. In Zone 1, you should place those elements that require close observation, frequent visiting, high work input or continual complex techniques.

The aim of Zone 1 is to yield household self-sufficiency and climate control for the home.

Zone 1 is also the first Zone that should be developed on your site: Start at the back door and work out from there!

Once you have Zone 1 fenced and under control you will be providing much of your needs, as well as having established a pleasant living environment for yourself and your family.

Elements such as: Rainwater tanks, Lemon tree, other dwarf or espalier-grown multi-graft fruit trees, Chicken laying boxes, Small ponds, Culinary herbs, Worm farm for recycling of household wastes, Intensive, fully mulched vegetable beds of quick growing annuals, Seedling raising areas, Small, quiet domestic animals like fish, rabbits and pigeons can be kept very close at hand within the home garden.

ZONE 2 Attended every few days it is little less intensively managed than Zone 1.

Suitable elements to place here are:

Mulched home orchards, Main crop beds (for trading), market garden Forage ranges for closely managed livestock such as poultry and milking goats or cows.

Since they are visited daily for milking, feeding and supervising, the livestock and poultry shelters of Zone 2 often adjoin Zone 1.

This Zone may be extended along frequently used paths through more outlying zones. Generally, on an urban homestead, the Zone 2 is not very large.

ZONE 3 Attended weekly to monthly –

Broader scale commercial crops, Animals raised for trade, Along with natural trees, dams, Windbreaks

This area is managed with soil conditioning, green manure crops and manure from Zone 2 Farming areas of field crops, large water storages, little-managed trees, windbreaks for zone 2.

ZONE 4 Attended infrequently –

Hardy, self-care forests and woodlots that are visited infrequently for wood collection, log harvest and wild harvest belong in far-flung corners of the property and can act as buffers to protect Zone 5 wilderness areas.

It may also be used occasionally to pasture animals. Fuelwoods, pastures, foraging areas

ZONE 5 Visited occasionally for recreation and appreciation – foraging

This is the component of the site left for nature. It comprises natural forest and native remnant and rehabilitated flora and fauna and can be linked to the home garden by a wildlife corridor extension.

Here we are visitors, we let nature take charge and just observe. It is a great idea to set aside a small space, on your plot to be a wild space. Plant indigenous trees or shrubs and then leave the area alone – this will be a great place where beneficial wildlife may choose to inhabit.

(Zones 3-4 are predominantly used in larger scale designs)

18 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page