Analysis and Assessment

9. Analysis and Assessment Questions: Given your goals, what do you need to know about the site and the context in which the site exists?

Themes – Ranked by order of permanence:

  1. Climate
    What zone are we in and how will that effect decisions and planning for support?Functioning around the site due to weather considerations?

    How will we handle snow accumulation without destruction to plantings?

    Protection from frost, to much sun, wind?

    Supporting plants in time and space to accommodate each others needs?

  2. Landform
    How will the slopes benefit the design or drive it’s decisions?Where is water collecting for use, or detriment to planning?

    Have we handled the big rain erosion potential?

    Is there too much cover not allowing direct sun, open up?

    What is the quality of our soils, Check it?

  3. Water
    Where will water need to be transported?
    Can we build swales?
    >how many swales do we need?
    >where is the best location to put swales?
    -What other methods of water catchment can we implement?
    >Rain barrel? More than one?
    >Cistern? – How many gallons?
  4. Legal Issues
    -Are any building permits required for any of the elements?>Will engineer, architect or designer need to draw plans?>Will there be inspections for these permitted jobs?>> Greenhouse, deck, storage?-Is a survey required for the purpose of identifying neighbors lines?

    -Is work permitted in the area between property line setback to the road?

    -What are the hours of operation for workers using power tools?

    -What is the setback from roads and property lines for plantings?

    – Will we be calling 1800 Dig??

  5. Access & Circulation
    -Where are the main storage areas?
    >If they are to be built, where are optimal locations?
    >>Relative location to garden beds, mulch/compost piles
    -Where are the walking paths going to be?
    >how wide will they be?
    >how will paths be defined?
    >>mulch, pebble, or dirt?
    -Where will the lawn mower need to go?
    -Where is the designated driveway/parking area?
    -How would a potential addition, porch, or greenhouse change access to compost pile, tool/equipement shed, and garden beds?
    -Where will the wood pile go?
    >Where will fallen limbs, extra biomass, and twigs/sticks be piled?
  6. Vegetation & Wildlife
    – As far as the deer are concerned, who tend to visit your property– when it comes to keeping your produce safe from munching, would you prefer to use man-made fencing, or something more natural, which will likely need occasional tending (though they each may)?

    -Would you be interested in / open to the idea of having a ‘chicken tractor’, in which to move your (potential) chickens around the yard, to ‘mow’ and fertilize your lawn (plus chickens get fed and are healthier this way)?
    -Would you rather fence in your chickens or your vegetable (& al.) gardens?
    -Would you rather fence in your entire yard, or just fruit trees, produce…  anything that deer might nibble?
    -When there might be an option between native and cultivated varieties of fruits and other species, would you rather go for the native (and likely hardier, though perhaps not as familiar) variety, or the cultivated (likely more disease-prone)?   (for example, pawpaw vs. apple.)  Natives tend to be better-suited to this climate, soils, &c.* – -As far as the deer are concerned, who tend to visit your property– when it comes to keeping your produce safe from munching, would you prefer to use man-made fencing, or something more natural, which will likely need occasional tending (though they each may)?

    -Would you be interested in / open to the idea of having a ‘chicken tractor’, in which to move your (potential) chickens around the yard, to ‘mow’ and fertilize your lawn (plus chickens get fed and are healthier this way)?
    -Would you rather fence in your chickens or your vegetable (& al.) gardens?
    -Would you rather fence in your entire yard, or just fruit trees, produce…  anything that deer might nibble?
    -When there might be an option between native and cultivated varieties of fruits and other species, would you rather go for the native (and likely hardier, though perhaps not as familiar) variety, or the cultivated (likely more disease-prone)?   (for example, pawpaw vs. apple.)  Natives tend to be better-suited to this climate, soils, &c.
  7. Microclimates
    What is Fairfield’s climate in relation to zone 5?What impact does the current unbuffered northern road cause on the property with wind and frost?

    Will the development across the street create new wind patterns from the south east?

  8. Buildings & Infrastructure
    -Should we identify all existing infrastructure and buildings by survey?-How will we work around and protect the buildings and infrastructure?-Should we have the municipality and utility companies meet us on-site?>Should the utility companies mark all lines underground?-We need to find out what plans exist for taking of lands or right of ways?

    -Are any improvements such as sidewalks road widening or otherwise planned?

    -How does the height of the home affect sun light and tracking for plants?

    -What is the box to the west of home, where is septic, water etc?

  9. Zones of Use
    -Where are they?
    >Which zones apply to this property/design?
    -How does existing vegetation influence zones?
    -Other structures
    >House, walkway/driveway, garage, lawn, existing beds
    -How does sunlight influence zones?
    -How do aesthetics influence zones?
    -How does slope of land influence zones?
    >Flow of water?
    -Wind?
    -Micro-climate?
  10. Soil
    -Is the soil mostly clay, sandy, or loamy?
    -Neutral, acidic or alkaline pH?
    >Do we actually need to take simple samples?
    -What is the soil pH around the edges of the property areas?
    -If the soil is generally not good, how will we incorporate soil-building into our design?
    >What are the different strategies for repairing and rehabilitating soils? (EGP, 65)
    -Where is the best soil?
    -What does the soil biology of the existing garden areas look like?
    -How is drainage different in different areas of the property?
    -Where will we get the soil for raised beds and new garden areas?
    -Will there be a compost pile(s)?
    >If so, what kind of pile will it be?
    >>Hot or cold?
    >>Will there be a heap compost pile?
  11. Aesthetics

    *  If, in general, there had to be a compromise for some element of the design, in either the aesthetic of the thing, or its level of sustainability and ecological responsibility (which may not ever end up needing to be an either/or situation), which would you rather favor?
    *  Would you say that “magical fairy~haven” might be an apt description for the sort of look & feel you are going for, at least in the more ornamental-areas of your property?
    *  Are you hoping to do away with the square raised bed in front, altogether, or move it?
    *  Where, specifically, are you hoping to do the butterfly garden?
    *  Do you like the look/feel of structures built with natural materials (cob, &c.)?
    *  Would you like to make any changes/improvements/additions to the thicket~y area on the East side of your property?
    *  Would you consider a constructed wetland or other greywater system, somewhere on your property?
    *  Would some fruit trees and/or gardens be a welcome addition to the North side lawn, or would you rather keep that open?
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