Selecting your site or property must be the most permanent decision you end up making for a homestead. While much expense and effort may take place, greenhouses, gardens, animal pens and nearly everything else can be moved on a property – but deciding to pack it up and go to a new site is a whole other experience.
We all want to try to do it right from the start, so we do not have to redouble our efforts. So, start with choosing a site.
As such – taking into account your overall hopes and dreams from the beginning is very important. You will likely have to make some concession – but perhaps you can weigh the decisions carefully on which concessions you can make by taking into account all the zones of permaculture.
Or perhaps you already have a property and you have no intention or desire to move. That is fine as well. The only difference is that rather than finding a site that will work for what we want to do, we will have to focus on what will work for the site.
Property: Homestead Location
It is nice to think that you could choose any property in any location across the globe in order to suite you hopes and dreams. To find the “perfect” climate, feature, size, seclusion, etc. In practicality, however, you have other desires and needs.
In our case, we wanted to have access to the conveniences offered by a city, but we did not want to live in one. I also did not expect to be able to leave my full time employment, so it was necessary to stay within reasonable driving distance.
Items like this will limit your options. As such, take your time. You never know what will become available when, or who will be willing to sell you just a piece of a larger property, etc.
Obviously the cost of the property will be a determining factor as well. Typically, the further away from a city, the less expensive the land. Our property is 14 miles from the nearest incorporated city, which was far enough to make the price reasonable as well as keep us near to employment.
Land Features: Choosing a property
There are multiple things to consider when choosing a property. In particular, pay attention to the land features. If the land slopes, such as being on the side of a hill, are you facing the sun or will most of the property remain in shade when the sun is low in the winter?
Is there access to water, or will you be able to get access by creating water catchment ponds?
Which way will the harsh winter winds and cooling summer breezes blow from, and is there a place on the property for your home that will protect from and make use of these breezes?
Is the area already ripe with wildlife, both in vegetation and animal life?
Considering these questions can help you make the best decision for your overall design.
Property Improvement: Permaculture Design
If you are already established in to a property and simply want to improve the property by using permaculture design – it can be done! But remember that you will have to chance your focus. Instead of finding a property that will fit your dreams, you have to fit your dreams to the property.
Since your site is already selected, we will not discuss that here, but will discuss what you can do with your design in other lessons.