The design process in Permaculture can sometimes feel overwhelming. There are so many things to consider. How do we, as Permaculture Designers, keep everything straight? How do we make sure we don’t forget an element or fail to consider something important?

While not all-inclusive by any means, one tool we can use to help organize our design is through structured processes sometimes called Frameworks. These simple acronyms were developed initially in engineering and landscape architecture and then further refined for Permaculture.

SADI – This was the original acronym. It is important to note that with a single project (e.g. engineers building a bridge) this process is linear… they start at the top (Survey) and end at the bottom (Implementation).

  • Survey
  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Implementation

 

SADIMET – (image shown at the top of this article) This acronym is significantly more applicable to Permaculture. Note that the “D” is changed from Design to Decisions, as the entire Permaculture project is Design. Also, with Permaculture, this process is circular… we never “arrive” at a finished product. We are constantly evaluating what we have done and making small changes (Tweaking) or larger changes (which have us starting at Survey again).

  • Survey
  • Analysis
  • Decisions
  • Implementation
  • Maintenance
  • Evaluation
  • Tweaking

 

Framework02

O’BREDIMET – This final acronym is the one I like best. We start with Observation. Survey can mean the same thing, but Observation is more encompassing. This acronym also breaks out the Analysis section into Boundaries and Resources. The Boundaries for every design project are, first and foremost, the three Permaculture Ethics. The remaining boundaries will vary on the project specifics: climate, slope, water sources, land size, existing structures, budget, legal requirements and limitations, cultural practices, etc.

  • Observation (or Survey)
  • Boundaries (identify boundries)
  • Resources (identify resources)
  • Evaluation
  • Decisions
  • Implementation
  • Maintenance
  • (Re)Evaluation
  • Tweaking

 

I hope this quick article gives you some tools to systematically think and work through your next Permaculture design project.

 

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Photo References: All photos/images in this article are mine. Please ask if you would like to use them!

References: Permaculture Design: A step by step guide by Aranya