My Herb GardenEmpty Cages Design is a consultancy service offering affordable, down-to-earth advice that will really make a difference to your project.

Systems we have experiencing designing including:

  • Home gardens
  • Small holdings
  • Farms
  • Orchards, Nutteries & Forest Gardens
  • Community Gardens & Projects
  • Medicinal gardens
  • Therapeutic gardens

We can offer the following services:

  • ‘Walk and talks’ for on-the-day advice and support
  • Detailed site survey, soil assessment & site research
  • Client interviews for individuals & group visioning for group and family projects
  • Pre-purchase assessment to observe land to assess if it will meet your needs
  • Base map preparation and concept design integrating leading knowledge in agroecology, permaculture & sustainable food system design
  • Full design reports with detailed costings, planting plans, implementation plans and resources

plantid1What does a full design involve?

  • Full design questionnaire – a chance to talk at length about your needs, dreams & ambitions, however unclear they feel at present.
  • Base map & site survey – a detailed, systematic look at your land, including its soils, climate, external sectors and more.
  • Design report – Involves applying permaculture analysis tools to process the information above. This means integrating your desires with the realistic demands of the land, looking at ways self-reliance can be strengthened, biodiversity supported and sustainable yields obtained.
  • Concept plans – A design or project plan for non-land based projects will be developed and together we’ll process your feedback to make sure the design is workable and congruent with who you are.
  • Final design & report – On the basis of your feedback, a final design will be drawn complimented by a full design report listing the research I’ve undertaken, design processes used, recommended resources, species and specifications.
  • Implementation plan & costings – Finally how you go from vision to reality breaking down the implementation states into manageable steps. Details of projected costs will also be included.

Why use a design consultant?

Believe it or not, the world consultant makes me cringe. I imagine being on trains in the commuter belt reading the financial times. But in reality using a consultant means you are accelerating your progress through getting help or advice.

  • It will save a lot of time – when I first started designing it would take me hours drawing things out, pouring over books & scratching my head about how to work with information. Now that I can draw base maps with accuracy, have a catalogue of loved plants & resources close to hand & understand the design process through going through the cycle over & over, you can benefit from this saved time & this refined process to really get your project moving forward.
  • It will save you energy – It’s seriously hard work pruning a tree every year because it’s in the wrong place, or re-planting 20 young trees in a new location because they weren’t doing well. The amount of time, energy & money invested in projects of all sorts is ever present in society. By taking the time to design we can really minimise the ‘mistakes’ we make & make the best of our energy.
  • It will save you money – with a high-quality design, realistic implementation plan & a bit of know how, you can sure save yourself money. Not only through the greater clarity of what you need & desire, the embrace of renewable & recyclable materials but also that permaculture by definition designs for yields to increase self-reliance, be that is fruit, veg, herbal medicines, or fuel.
  • It is fun & empowering – working with someone to really craft what you want, to design to make your garden a manageable, edible space or to make your project really achieve its goals can be fun & empowering! There is no disempowering distress that we face with dealing with ‘experts’; permaculture is participatory, a way of building collective intelligence together & co-creating a design that works for you.

How does the service work for non land-based projects?

IMG_2890-225x300Permaculture is as much about creating permanent cultures as it is permanent agricultures (and by permanent, we mean ‘per’ – to continue, creating cultures that could regenerate indefinitely in relationship to the land rather than the unsustainable cultures we have at present).

Permaculture, as a design science using principles taken from nature, can equally be applied to social systems e.g. community projects, groups & movements, campaigns, businesses and more. As part of my Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design & Gaia University work I have been increasingly exploring the applications of design to these non land-based systems.

I can now use this learning & understanding to help support groups to:

  • Increase their effectiveness through design by supporting people through the processes of surveying & observing their projects, analysing the patterns & working together for solutions to re-design where needed
  • Apply permaculture design to project planning from the beginning, to be strategic & effective from day one
  • Working with groups that are experiencing distress at any stage of projects & know that re-design is needed.

IMG_7009Other areas of support developed over years of community organising include:

  • Grant research & grant applications
  • Marketing & social media utilisation
  • Developing partnerships
  • Training analysis, design & implementation
  • Event design & management – want to increase your attendance? Make your events more effective to achieve your goals?
  • Group communication & facilitation
  • Patrix elimination, dealing with internal & external oppressions that affect your systems

Interested? Contact me.