Zones in a Nutshell – Permaculture Zones : Part Two

This post follows from the first one found here.

So with my reassessment of the permaculture zones whilst planning our new house and garden, here is an over-view of what you might find in each zone.

ZONE 0 — The house structure. Here permaculture principles would be applied in terms of aiming to reduce energy and water needs, harnessing natural resources such as sunlight (pv panels and water heating) and water (water tanks/greywater recycling), and generally creating a harmonious, healthy, environmentally friendly space in which to live, work and relax.

ZONE 1 — The  location for those elements in the system that require frequent attention and visits. In our design it is likely to feature salad crops, aquaponics, potted herb plants, soft fruit like strawberries possibly aquaponically grown, cold frames, propagation area, worm compost bin for kitchen waste and a compost toilet.

ZONE 2 — This area is used for siting perennial plants that require less frequent maintenance, such as occasional weed control (preferably through natural methods such as spot-mulching) or pruning, including currant bushes and orchards. In our design we plan to have some espaliered fruit trees doubling as a fence for the retaining wall and the main vegetable garden close to the back steps.

 ZONE 3 — Is the area where main crops are grown, both for domestic use and for trade purposes. After establishment, their care and maintenance is fairly minimal provided mulching is used and irrigation requirements are sorted. This area for us is the main swale with fruit trees, the sub-tropical area and water tanks. It may be used for some pasture for rabbits and guinea pigs from time to time.

ZONE 4 — Is semi-managed land. This zone is mainly used for foraging and collecting wild food as well as some timber production. An example would be coppiced hazelnuts and other trees which we plan to utilise for various uses. There is less tendency to visit this area. Perhaps every few weeks.

ZONE 5 — Is typically described as wilderness. There is no human intervention in Zone 5 apart from the observation of natural eco-systems and cycles. This is an area for preserving and observing natural systems so that we can use it as an educational tool to learn aspects of working with nature, not against it. It is a retreat for wildlife that can use it to move out to the other zones to interact.

petitparadis zones2



In the picture above you can just about see the various zones according to their use, even in the early stages of the house renovation and make-shift garden. From right to left there is the house as Zone 0 and the soon to be paved area for salad greens and aquaponics in Zone 1.

Then the summer garden beds – which have developed a bit since this photo was taken a few weeks back – are in Zone 2. Then the embankment with some trees already planted (Zone 3) and the rainwater tanks. Beyond this is a grassy slope. Zone 4. Further up the slope beyond a block of houses is the natural bushland that crowns the mountain side. This would be our Zone 5.

Has anyone applied thinking consciously about zones when designing their garden?

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