Steps 1-3

Mission Statement

To work together as a holistic and coherent group that will be able to produce the highest possible quality of work in the given time. This means that the entire group is functioning at the same pace and contributing equally towards the desired goal.


  • To work in harmony as a coherent group who will be efficient and integrate all values of permaculture.
  • To ensure that each of us is motivated and enthusiastic about our project at all times.
  • To ensure that all group members thoughts, ideas or insights are considered and thought through in the overall structure of the design process.
  • Establish smooth working relationships with all group members.
  • Establish a deep connection so that we all feel comfortable with each other, and build strong relationships that will inspire and motivate us.
  • Be able to manage our time effectively and in an efficient manner.
  • Be able to express opinions in clear and concise manner.
  • To carefully integrate the knowledge of permaculture into all aspects of our design project and represent a comprehensive understanding of permaculture ethics and goals.
  • To ensure a creative and abundant future, with the integration of permaculture principles that will regenerate our eco-systems and reconnect us with mother nature.

Decisions will be made as a group. The impression I received from the first group meeting is that all the group members are really serious, and enthusiastic about the design project. Furthermore, I also noticed that out method and mode of communication was coherent and that we all having a clear understanding with each other. So far I am enjoying the group dynamics, which certainly will allow us to accomplish our goals . I think we seem to me in the “norming” phase of group development. I am really looking forward to work with my group; to share ideas and express our deep insights on permaculture.

Personal Strengths

  • Development and organization of projects
  • Presenting Concepts
  • Knowledge about Sustainable Living- farming and energy
  • Write reports
  • Site evaluation skills
  • People Skills

Tamer = Graphic Design, Tec. Suppport, Working with a variety of plants

Vinod = Architecture & Design, Facilitator, Works with any situation

Vinayak Narayana = Writing, Science & Biology, Engineering, Inventive

Emer = Art, Communication & People Skills, Understanding nature

Step 4 & 5 

Site Visit

Owner: Eric Hoffman

Area= 7.5 Acres

Aerial View of Hoffman Property
Hoffman Property

Today we had a site visit to the Hoffman residence. This was very exciting and felt like I was embarking on an adventure of some kind. The property is located north west of MUM campus in the country. It is an oasis situated between two cornfields. The house is an amazing site, as it is far away from all the noise and has many elements on the property.

The entrance of the property is from the West, and the road curves around to the east side of the house, which leads to a cement parking lot, and the main entrance to the house. Within the property, looking east I was able to locate a pond about and quarter of an acre in size, which slopes away from the main entrance of the house. Southwest of the pond there is a cabin where people reside, as well as a shed where Eric stores his equipment. This completes the South boundary of the house.

Standing at the front entrance (east), looking North, I noticed some trees clustered together forming a windbreak, which provides protection from the fierce northern winds. I identified these trees to be northern pecans, pine trees, chestnut. However, the view looking east has no trees. On the south side of the house, there were many fruit trees, which Eric had planted about three years ago. He has paw-paw, pear, apple, cherry and northern persimmon.

On the West side of the house, there were two other small buildings, one used for storage of equipment, and to heat hot water, and the other was a home.

On the some parts of the property there were some kind of berry trees, which inhibited he area. The land seemed to of drained well, as there was not much water standing. On the east side, the land sloped toward the east, and on the North Side, the land slope towards the South. There seemed to be a serene quality of silence permeating the entire property. There was not much sunlight out, so the castings of shadow was difficult to see.

According to Eric, the previous landowners use to grow organic corn. He mentioned to us that the land only has about three inch of topsoil. However, at the end of the slope, East and South Slopes there is about 4 feet of topsoil.

Eric also mentioned to us that he would be retiring soon. He wants to grow his own vegetables, and also have a place for recreational activities. Furthermore, he would like to construct a green house, which could be heated using his oil fired boiler. Although the property is located in the country side, Eric would still like to create a more secluded space for his house.

Overall, the land has a pleasant atmosphere with great potential to be a thriving ecosystem, more than what it is now. Looking over the land, has further inspired me to look even deeper and expand the permaculture principles to take full advantage of the land.

Pictures below

Pond on the east side of the house

Storage Shed on South end

Wind Break North side

Orchard on South side of the house

Steps 6 & 7

Goals Statement

 The Hoffman property is an oasis located between two corn fields. It is a place to seek retirement, solitude and reflection. This 7.5 acre property consists of an diverse ecosystem secluded away from external noise, and pollution. Orchard and trees are scattered around the property, and water flows into the pond. With the knowledge of permaculture design, edible food forests are established and grown, a vegetable garden produces an abundance of food crops, and food can be grown all year round in the heated green house. Water is efficiently channeled throughout the site, and stored using swales. The site boundaries have towering walls of delicious fruits and flowers blocking out noises. The restoration of native vegetation on the Iowa landscape brings to life the once lost prairie into a thriving ecosystem. The system is built with resilience and immunity to withstand the harsh Iowa winters, and hot summers.

 This design will certainly bring to life natural flow of nature, as we restore the natural elements of nature onto the landscape. The permaculture principles is integrated into the design in all areas where the site needs attention, as well as fulfilling the desires of the client. 

Land Status

Enjoy and appreciate the organic, native, and bio-diverse healthy ecosystem

– We are implementing and maintaining its organic, native, and bio-diverse ecosystem.

-We are using holistic methods of permaculture design, which include diversity. Examples include guilds, efficient use of water, redirecting water flow, soil regeneration, by growing biomass and cover crops for building soil for the entire system.


-Expand the area of pond, because it overflow and maintain purity of water

-We create a swale on the north side directed into a drain system, and channel it  into the pond. We introduce a guild system that encourages greater bio-diversity, which is greatly needed.

– We will also create an overflow pond, so when water overflow it can be directed to other areas of the site creating more plant diversity of edible fruits and nuts.

-Using rocks to encourage filtration of sediment and non-soluble materials. We will create small trenches, which will direct water into the garden beds. Diversity around the pond will attract beneficial insects, and prevent pests. We can also create more edge of the pond and add some ducks and geese.

Berries and Shrubs

The client really likes to have more berry bushes on his property.

We will identify a suitable location to place these bushes, in relative location, to the vegetable garden, water source, and easy picking.

– We will integrate various permaculture principles into the design process that will assist us to create diversity in the system. Furthermore, we will need to choose various berry species to fit our climatic zone.

Kitchen and Herb garden

To grow vegetables for the family, such as squash, tomatoes, beans broccoli, grapes, as well as herbs for the family.

–       We will create a vibrant and thriving vegetable garden that produces enough food for the family. Typically we will want have an edible food forest established, as family is not available to water the garden during the summer months.

–       As a team we establish a food forest that will be able to be water self-sufficient only relying on rainwater to survive. We need to design into the system, resilience, using guilds, swales, and creating diversity with insect, plants and animals. We need to build up the nutrient levels in the soil in which case we can prepare a large compost pile and worm bin to assist in this process. Vegetables wastes from the house can be cycled back into the compost pile. Comfrey plants around the garden help to fertilize the soil and bring up nutrients from deeper layer of the soil for herbs to grow.


The client already uses a generator that provides heat to the house. This is powered with various types and grades of oil.

–   Provide a more energy-efficient procedure that he could use to heat the home, rather than using oil-based substances.

– Since the area is 7.5 acres, we grow switch grass and other biomass to produce heat, as well as timber from forests.

Green House

Construction of a green house to produce food during the cold winter month.

-We found  a suitable location for the green house, to ensure it has maximum amount of sunlight.

–  We use relative location principles, as well as, each element has many functions to site the location. We located the green house next to the boiler room to be easily warmed throughout the winter.


The owner mentioned that he likes to keep some chickens.

-We can use them as animal tractors, and a source of food. We could use them for eating, tilling the soil in the green house and eating weed seeds.

–       Chickens are fed well with food scraps from the house. We also place them in relative location from the house, so that they can feed on weeds and their manure can be easily accessible. Chickens heat the green house with by breathing. Chickens are able to till the soil before planting crops.

Fruit Orchard

Will like to establish a fruit orchard.

–       We will establish a thriving fruit orchard of many trees such as, apple, pear, sugar maple, persimmon, and many paw-paw trees.

-We can create a guild and an edible food forest that will provide a suitable habitat for these plants. These plants can also be planted on swales so water is available. We would also need to build soil using the elements of compost pile, mulch, inoculants, and earthworks. Tree species need to be thoroughly researched according to the climate.

Wind Break and Privacy

The client wants to be sheltered from noise on the road and wind.

-We will build and design a wind break, dust and noise proof barrier on the west side of the property to fulfill this requirement.

–       Look for fast growing plant species, which grow fast and tall, and at the same time fix nitrogen in soil. These tress will also create a micro-climate that will allow of ran extension in the growing season. This will also create diversity among animals and birds, attract them more to the site.

Entrance Road

Reduce maintenance and save cost on gravel

–       We will need to reduce the amount of gravel needed every year, which incurs cost on the client.

–       To fulfill this we will need to design into the system permeable roads, which allow water to infiltrate the ground. We also intend to reduce the amount of erosion of the road, by using a more sustainable system.

Recreational Area

 A terrace for recreational activities, and enjoy the beauty of nature.

– We are implementing a terrace, on the east side of the house that will provide shade and be a recreational area.

–       We are plan to use a terrace system, with a trellis construction with vines providing a microclimate, under which they can relax during the hot hours of the day. We are enhancing the microclimate further by growing more heat-loving plants.

Functional Analysis Steps 8 & 9

Sugar Maple Analysis

Vegetable Garden Analysis

Compost Pile Analysis



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