Win a copy of Permaculture Design Companion this week in the Permaculture Design forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Mike Jay Haasl
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • James Freyr
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton

Living on a Slope

 
Posts: 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello,

I am going to fly to Montana to look at 20 acres. Below I am listing things about this land, in bullet point form, for easy reading. I am asking for your advice, i.e., is it wise for a newbie like me to purchase this land?

- I am looking at land in MT so as to build a small structure, at top of the slope, to use as a recreational cabin. No need for electricity, or modern comforts. I would like to do permaculture related things with this land (bees hives, planting, etc.)
- The acres I'm looking at are on a steep slope. The slope is between 40% and 75%
- As a newbie to this, am I being unwise tackling land on a slope? Should I focus on horizontal land only? I don't need to build big home so slope-related extra building costs shouldn't be a problem
- It has a spring at the bottom
- There is a small shed/cabin at the top of the acreage
- It is pretty heavily wooded which I like
- I would prefer not to describe the cost of the acres

Thank you,
Brian
 
master pollinator
Posts: 11353
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
738
cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's a video by Geoff Lawton which describes features to look for in a permaculture property: http://geofflawton.com/videos/property-purchase-checklist/

If the esthetics of a slope are the most important aspect to you, slope it is, but for most purposes, that much slope is going to be a real challenge.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1068
Location: Victoria BC
122
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Brian, welcome to permies!

That is a *lot* of slope. Unless you wish to leave most of it as more or less untouched forest, and focus your usage on whatever flatter portions exist, I'd keep looking. For that matter, are there any flatter areas?

No need to avoid all slope, it can be very helpful for many things, but this sounds like too much of a good thing to me.
 
Brian Babin
Posts: 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Dillon Nichols wrote:Hi Brian, welcome to permies!

That is a *lot* of slope. Unless you wish to leave most of it as more or less untouched forest



Thanks Dillon. It is about 50% slope, I've learned. There is 1 to 2 acres flat at top which is where the shed/cabin is. On one side of the shed is a dirt road, with mountains in pretty far view and other side and other side of cabin is the 18 or 19 acres of wooded slope land. Topographic map shows that as go down slope it slowly loses slope. When I fly out, I'll hike it and I'll be looking for places on the slope that are flat such that I can build garden or seating area. If not, then I just don;t know why I'd get it. I want to be able to enjoy walking through my own forest without having to feel like I'm climbing a mountain. Thanks again
 
Posts: 134
Location: Zone 4b at 1000m, post glacial soil...British Columbia
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If I had my druthers, I'd build at the bottom of a slope, and have gravity fed water come to me, and move firewood from the forest downhill, rather than lug it uphill. Even a moderate slope gets a whole lot steeper, and objects become a whole lot heavier, going uphill. (I live where there are two directions --up and down.)
 
Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
Posts: 11353
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
738
cat forest garden fish trees chicken fiber arts wood heat greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Brian Babin wrote:
It is about 50% slope, I've learned. There is 1 to 2 acres flat at top which is where the shed/cabin is.



Generally you don't want the house to be at the top because it really limits what you can achieve with gravity water. On the other hand, you might not want the house at the bottom because of flooding issues and cold air settling in your Zone 1 food areas. As Sepp Holzer proves, lots of slope is not a bad thing, but it is a very definite challenge.

Sepp's super slopey farm: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GMXqgQIU9c
 
Dillon Nichols
pollinator
Posts: 1068
Location: Victoria BC
122
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've spent time on an amazing homestead perched on the side of a mountain, and really enjoyed my time there, but it sure made some things hard. Gravity fed water is nice, but the infrastructure was spread between 2 flattish areas as the 'best' area was out of room. A real workout taking tools up to the upper area, the owners drove their 4x4 pretty much every time they went up there. The roadway and the lower flat area were old logging infrastructure, and while they seemed to be holding up quite well, would be a massive expense to install on land that lacked them, or to refurbish if/when required.

I just hiked a property that had similar slope to your target lot; we saw several nice hollows that would be suitable for a garden or house, but none would readily accommodate both. The biggest issue with this site was the orientation; it sloped mostly north. With such a steep slope, this makes an enormous impact on your microclimate and ability to grow things. (Well, really the biggest issue was fact that it's listed for literally a million bucks, so far out of my price range it's not even funny!)

So, which way does this place slant? Personally, I'd be fine with a good-sized bench somewhere midslope on a steep grade with a fair bit of south in it, but a north face would be a dealbreaker. This would be less critical the farther south you get, obviously, but Montana doesn't really go all that far south...
 
Brian Babin
Posts: 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Dillon Nichols wrote:I've spent time on an amazing homestead



Slope is good direction. A county road is near the shed I'd be sleeping in and there are other homes near. I'd have to drive that road to get to the shed and then backside of the shed is the slope. I' also looking at 20 acres of flat woods but the HOA requires any structure builds to be 1500 sq ft, which I understand because they dont want people putting RVs there. Camping however is allowed and so I was thinking of building a a portable cable that can be propped up and disembled when I leave. Something more than a tent in case grizzlies try to eat me.
 
Posts: 10
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I applaud what you're doing and it sounds like a neat properety, but for me the HOA would be a no go from the get go. I am looking for properties in Montana as well, and if I see even the slightest hint of HOA, the property is immediately dismissed.
 
Dillon Nichols
pollinator
Posts: 1068
Location: Victoria BC
122
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

but the HOA


Nopenopenopenope... What John said.
 
Brian Babin
Posts: 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

John Benham wrote:I applaud what you're doing and it sounds like a neat properety, but



Yes, good advice guys
 
I can't renounce my name. It's on all my stationery! And hinted in this tiny ad:
September-October Homestead Skills Jamboree 2019
https://permies.com/wiki/118704/permaculture-projects/September-October-Homestead-Skills-Jamboree
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!