Building & Landscape Design Management

Best Management Practices for Love Creek Farm


To provide a framework involving building construction, drainage, fencing, traffic flow, location zones, surrounding area, ecology, and landscape by implementing permaculture design principles.

1. Locating elements together

  • Place elements in relationship to another so that they assist each other
  • Consider the relationship between things and how they interact

Our Efforts Include:

2. Expecting elements to perform many functions

  • Chose each element and location with the intention that it should serve as many functions as possible
  • Gain thorough knowledge of the element, especially animals and plants to properly understand its needs, characteristics, outputs, and optimum conditions

Our Efforts Include:

  • Hauling manure to a Manure Bunker with doors inside corral and outside Heritage Orchard and Organic Garden for easy transport.
    • 2019 Update: Added a Retaining Wall behind the Compost Bunker to expand the space and modified flow.
  • Second compost pile hidden behind a leaning apple tree, the Hauer Pippin, used as a worm habitat. The tree shields the pile from view and also fertilizes the tree.
    • 2019 Update: Added worm bins on a deck for easy access to a vermiculture system keeping the hillside clear of debris (i.e. egg shells, coffee filters, and paper towels).
  • Protecting old Gravenstein apple tree from animal disturbance by changing corral fence lines
  • Building a roof on the chicken coop with gutters and drainage that flows into Love Creek without any added nitrates

3. Supporting each important function with many elements

  • Decide which functions are critical in the design, such as water, energy, food, fire protection
  • Support the critical function by at least two elements, such as water catchment tank and drainage

Our Efforts Include:

  • Maintaining Oak Woodland in its natural state without much disturbance, but strategically clearing non-native shrubs. Trimming Live Oaks for fire protection and prevent hillside erosion in winter rains
  • Digging a natural drainage swale on the lower hillside parallel to the animal corral and following the road to drain water to Love Creek. This swale reduces water running through the corral and leaching nitrates into the creek
  • Eventually build one supporting roof on the animal shelters with a rain/water catchment tank to self-water the horses and goats

4. Planning house and settlement for energy efficiency

  • Place elements in the design according to three categories: Zone Planning, Sector Planning, and Slope
  • Make the most efficient use of energy when planting trees and plants in shade and wind and sun and when moving between animals and structures

Our Efforts Include:

  • Planting Vegetables in Organic Garden for south and west sun exposure
  • Placing beehives in Organic Garden on open structure for maximum sun exposure
  • Planting fruit trees on eastern edge of Organic Garden for shade zone and closest to Love Creek
  • Transplanting native perennials, such as rosemary, sage, and butterfly bushes, on hillside slope to replace non-native scotch broom
  • Leaving slope on hillside alone with minimal intervention because it is a natural Oak Woodland forest
  • Building animal shelters, the Horse Shelter and Goat Barn, inside the corral area, which stays most dry under a redwood grove. Adding a corral fence with gate for more control of animal zones in the winter
  • Planting ornamental trees, bushes, and berries in perennial zone outside of the main house structure and determining shade and sun areas best suited for plant varieties
  • Eventually transform front lawn area into an easily accessible herb and vegetable shade garden to minimize water usage. Currently composting soil in space and raising soil level for garden beds.

5. Using biological resources

  • Emphasize the use of biological resources over fossil fuel resources
  • Use for fertilizer, pest control, and erosion control

Our Efforts Include:

  • Using natural methods of fertilizer including composted animal manure and food waste
  • Managing natural methods of pest control including biological fly control in summer
  • Planting for diversity, companion planting, and crop rotation
  • Using local wood chips for pathways and recycling all parts of cut trees for garden bed borders, fences, and mulch

6. Cycling & recycling energy

  • Capture, store, and use energy on site
  • Generate resources thus reducing reliance on fossil fuel

Our Efforts Include:

  • Currently all water catchment systems drain into Love Creek with no storage tanks implemented. It has been a goal to keep nitrates out of the creek through the use of a Drainage Swale and roof on the Chicken Coop.
  • Eventually, sloped roof and water tank will be added behind the animal shelter zone for catchment and storage
  • Utilizing zones to save time and efficiency, especially when it comes to watering plants and trees in the summer. The Heritage Orchard and Oak Woodland Forest have minimal water requirements. The Organic Garden (Vegetables) and Perennial zones require more time and energy to water. Goal would be a self-water pump system from Love Creek requiring less city water

7. Designing small scale intensive systems

  • Build small scale systems to manage with less resources
  • Obtain maximum productivity with smaller manageable systems
  • Form stable and resilient biodiverse ecosystems

Our Efforts Include:

  • Designing a vegetable garden using a variety of techniques to maximize water energy, such as companion planting, crop rotation, and staking
  • Turning problems into solutions; seeing benefits and looking at ways to use the situation as an advantage: using fill from the animal corral to build a River Rock Retaining Wall in the garden to prevent soil erosion and mud from the hillside. Also, reusing Black Locust trees removed from a drainage ditch for Cordwood Masonry Studio, fence, and mulch

8. Accelerating Succession and Evolution

  • Use natural plant succession to establish healthy soil and a stable ecosystem
  • Work with nature rather than against it

Our Efforts Include:

  • Integrating food plants, fruit trees, flowers and bees into the garden to create a healthy and balanced ecosystem. Being efficient with their location based on sun, wind, and water requirements
  • Planting organic seeds for self-propagation and using heirlooms for a variety of plant types
  • Using as little space as possible on the hillside to leave it untouched as an Oak Woodland environment. Managing current Heritage Orchard without spreading out and up the hillside
  • Planting fruit trees in the Organic Garden for shade and additional varieties

Source: (‘Introduction To Permaculture’ – Bill Mollison & Reny Mia Slay)