I have been on my property for a little over a year. In that year I have made major changes- planted over a dozen trees, moved major features like ponds and rock gardens, demolished existing beds and built new ones, built compost bins, etc. I'm ready to settle down and plan out the layers in the forest gardens a bit more, and do some long-term planning on cash crop areas. The challenge is that I only have a surveyor's map showing the boundaries of the property and an aerial photo from google maps that's at least two years old. I want a detailed landscaping map of the way the property is right now, a "site analysis" like the ones in so many permaculturebooks, especially like The Edible Ecosystem Teaching Garden by Dave Jacke. I've thought about hiring a landscape designer just to do the landscape map for me. I can fill in all the information, but I don't know how to do the measuring or even what software should be used.
How have you all mapped your property? Did you make the maps yourselves? Did you hire someone? How much did that cost? Who did you hire?
Thank you for any advice!
Check out my progress! www.greenbasket.me
Andi Houston : There was a who done it mystery where the plot line was the finding and recovery of a Yacht amongst all the other Yachts on both coasts of Florida,
Our hero Got an overhead view of that class of yacht, and stared at it until he saw that the outline of the Yachts bow looked like the type of cone-shaped Hat that
Italian Mimes always wear ! - After that he could look at an overhead picture, and eliminate entire Marinas at a glance ! ( The good guys recovered the Treasure,
-and the bad guys met a gruesome ending !)
Start with your Surveyors map, Blow it up to 3' by ? " divide it into 1/4ths then into 1/16ths, look for ways to draw a line from a corner or other land mark through
features on your property and graph them on some LARGE graph paper, slowly add in features to your property by finding the lines that connect your bits and bobs
and very soon while you are showing your map to friends you will hear " Who did this for you ! and how much did it cost !''
Or you could send me your Surveyors map and the last google map and I could do this for you for $100.00 American without ever stepping on the property !
I really don't want the job, and you should be able to do it yourself, but it would be hard to turn down easy money ! Big AL !
Success has a Thousand Fathers , Failure is an Orphan
Andi, we purchased a US geological survey map that had our location on it. We figured out where our property was on the map and drew in the boundaries. We then took this to a business store and had it enlarged, basically just showing our property plus about 200 feet beyond the property line. We then had several xerox copies made so that we had plenty to scribble on. From there we toyed with different ideas. No computer software.....just old fashioned paper and pencil, and eraser! We also compared our geological survey map to google earth so that we could accurately pencil in the existing driveway and tree line.
I'm not one for making set plans and following them. As I go along developing my property, I often change my mind as to where certain things should go. Therefore our farm plan is flexible, often changing. But at least being able to scribble down ideas gave me something to start from.
When I started transferring ideas onto actual land, I used survey flags (cheap at the hardware store) and a bag of powdered lime to draw the outlines. This gave me a visual feel of the plan and I had the opportunity to change lines and distances before starting to dig. For measuring distances, I used a 100 foot tape measure and a 300 foot piece of lightweight rope. The rope came in handy for big distances. When I put in a perimeter fence, I tied a bright survey ribbon every 100 feet. I still use them today to judge distances.
On a small homestead, I couldn't even begin to consider hiring a landscape designer to map out a plan. Money is too scarce and precious. So I come up with my own plans.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
See if your county has an online "GIS" (Geographic Information System). The county I just moved to has an online mapping system that will overlay property lines, zoning info, waterways, etc. onto a recent aerial photo all for free. Also, the USGS topos can be downloaded for free. The newer ones are PDFs that can overlay topo lines, water features, etc. of your choosing onto a satellite image, also for free.
You are sure looking to go pro.
I too have been here a year now and planted a few trees and rearranged many features.
To me I'm not worried about the overhead view, I use my view, cause that's how I look.
I took the first rules of permaculture seriously.
I have been mapping the sun, looking how water flows, asking what my needs were.
What to I want to see, smell,capture.
I like the design to be inspired, at every square foot.
With as little money spent as possible.
Bill Mollison talked about not liking areal photos, and that we all have god given measurements.
(That little song he sings lol, his "pace")
I'm also scared to map out everything at once because then I feel that it would all have to be done RIGHT NOW!
I don't have the time, funds, or help for that, and by the time I do, I'm sure I'll think of something else.
I'm using Google Sketchup to plan my layout. It has a feature which allows me to load the overhead map from Google and draw right over top of it. It also allows me to see how the sun and shadows move at different times and dates. See my attached image to see what I'm working on.