Making Swales Part 2: Maps of Property

Guest post by Angela

Permaculture Principle #7: Design from Patterns to Details

“By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go…The proverb “can’t see the forest for the trees” reminds us that the closer we get to something, the more we are distracted from the big picture.”

The next step for getting ready to create swales was to find an aerial map of our property. We found the most current one taken just before we bought the place in 2010. The photo shows where buildings and trees are located, and a map making friend added contour lines (thanks Stefan!). And finally Brian sketched on the map where the swales will be located, combining the aerial photo, the contour lines (in magenta) and the sketch of the possible swales (brown and blue). Nice job Brian!


Our plan is to focus on creating the top two or three swales that are outlined on the map. That’s where it’s the wettest and also the sunniest. Probably not put a pond in at this time.

Next post:

Creating an ‘A’ frame with a plumb bob to stake out the high points of the contour lines.

And reserving an excavator.

Join us on June 22 and 23 as we create swales. See the event HERE

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