Sunday, October 19, 2014

Zone & Sector Analysis

What is a Zone and what is a Sector, and why are you Analyzing them?

As a Permaculture Designer, I try to design an ecosystem around you (and the other inhabitants of your property, if any).  This ecosystem starts inside your home, with Zone 0, and extends out of your doors through Zone 1 through 4 where it ends up in wilderness with Zone 5.  Not all properties will have the outlying Zones.  In fact, an apartment might only have Zone 0 and Zone 1, with maybe just a little expression of Zone 5 with a bird/butterfly bath and a wildly climbing morning glory vine.  Larger sites may have a significant percent of land as Zone 5 Wilderness.  Each site is unique, and analyzing where the zones might be, and what zones should be included, help to create a balanced design that when implemented, will create the most abundance with the least amount of work over time.
  • Zone Zero - The Home
  • Zone One - Outdoor places that either are by nature visited often or by design need to be visited often.  These often include front entryways and paths from the street or garage to the home, and the back yard area adjacent to the home and up to about 20 feet away from the back door.  Main food production and herb gardens, and relaxation elements are often found here.
  • Zone Two - Less frequently visited than Zone One, Zone Two is often where the family mini-orchard will reside.  In a suburban lot, this may be where the main food forest resides.  On a larger lot, this may be where the main staple foods are produced: corn, sweet potato, winter squash, and such.
  • Zone Three - This is the "commercial" section of a farm or homestead that are primarily found on properties with several acres or more.
  • Zone Four - Also found on pieces of land that are of several acres or more.  This is the buffer between the homestead/farm and the wilderness.  Self-sustaining food forests, firewood collection, and other infrequently visited elements exist here.
  • Zone Five - Where one lets Nature take the lead, and where the primary use is for recreation, observation, and occasional foraging.
Sample Zone Analysis for a Suburban Lot.

It would be much simpler to create a design if all one needed to only worry about the property itself; however, no property is an island, and therefor, they must be designed within the context of the surrounding areas.  Sector Analysis takes into consideration all of the outside factors that affect the property, such as climate, direction of seasonal winds, potential areas where noise or fire, or other irritants and/or dangers may come from, and potential areas where there are benefits, such as a lovely view, or an existing stand of trees on an adjacent property.

Sample Sector Map

Sample Partial Sector Analysis

So in conclusion, Zones help design from the middle out, where Sectors help design from the outside in.  The balance point between the two is the "edge" where the magic happens.

Please contact me for more information about this
or any other Permaculture and Preparedness topic.

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