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on 21 April 2012
Hurray! Aranya's long called for book is finally here! There are many design techniques in permaculture, and this book explains them all in easy to understand steps without compromising on any complexity. With a logical format, it has many mind maps, flow diagrams, lots of examples of Aranya's own designs and diagrams throughout, it is illustrated beautifully. It also contains lots of colour photos to accompany the informative text. This book is a must for beginners and experienced permaculturists alike. As the back of the book says, owning a copy really is like having an experienced permaculture teacher at your side.
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on 9 April 2012
Having been on a Permaculture Design Course (Aranyas in fact) I needed something to guide me through the process in the real world. Something that would condense 90+ hours of tuition into a form that I could take with me to ensure that I use the best tools and techniques for the project in hand.

This books breaks down the process into small easy to follow steps written in simple text with diagrams, photos, drawings helping you avoid potential pitfalls and clarifying your goals.

Whether or not you have done a Permaculture Design Course or are completely new to Permaculture I would recommend this book to you as a reference that you will turn to time and time again.

Tony (Small Holder and grower of over 17,000 trees)
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on 21 April 2012
This small book is perfect for anyone who has done a pdc or is thinking of doing one and plans to take their designing beyond their home garden or pdc project and it sets a great example as it was clearly designed using the 80/20 principle itself fulfilling the principle that "each important element has multiple functions"-it takes the reader through a step by step guide to each stage of the design process and nicely fills a very important niche in the permaculture book shelf. It includes some great tips & tools, high and low tech, around observing, mapping, placement etc and even includes a section on non-land based designs - if you want one and are serious about the ethics of permaculture contact the author and purchase a copy direct
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on 22 June 2012
Having trained and worked as a Landscape Architect and a Permaculture Designer I find this book a welcome companion as I tackle my latest projects. This book sits on the table next to me to dip into when I hit blank moments. I particularly like the photos, diagrams and flowcharts. Even though I have a great relevant background, I think the design process can be complex and daunting. Aranya breaks it down into accessible pieces. The book can be read cover to cover or dipped into. And can fit into a bag or a big pocket!

Aranya gives generously in his teachings and contributions to Permaculture. This book is packed full of comprehensive information and practical tips. It is a real gift to the Permaculture world.

If you are new to Permaculture I would recommend a different book to start with. If you want to do Permaculture Design, this is written for you.

I recommend this book to all designers land, building or otherwise. Especially beginners and experienced.
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on 10 February 2015
I'm not a very organised sort of person.

I love ideas. I love experiments. I love reading. I love learning new stuff. I love sharing what I learn. But I'm not very good at pulling everything together into any semblance of order.

About five years ago, I took an online permaculture design course, but when it came to drawing up the final design, I ground to a halt. I told myself it was because I hadn't done enough experiments to determine exactly what could be persuaded to grow where, so I'd need to spend a few more years trying stuff out. A final design, after all, is final. Isn't it? So it needs to be exactly right.

Perhaps if Aranya's book had been available five years ago things would have been a little different. In his book, Aranya gives you all the tools you need to assess a property, the needs of the people living there, the resources available and any fellow workers on a project, and then leads you step by step through the whole design process of taking each element and weaving them together into an intricate and self sustaining web.

Where the book scores is that it does exactly what it says on the cover - it walks you through the whole process. You never get left asking yourself 'I wonder what I should I do next?' because he's right there taking you by the hand and leading you through it. On the way he gives you a collection of tools to use to help keep you on track.

The book is divided into three main parts - preparations, the design process, and beyond land based design.

In part one, preparations, he introduces patterns, system thinking, spirals of erosion, and principles and directives that will help guide your design, followed by advice on what constitutes effective design and how to organise your team of helpers to get the best out of them.

Part two, the design process, is the real nitty-gritty of the book. This covers surveying the site, drawing your base map, recording site information, interviewing clients, analysis, placement, design proposal, implementation, maintainence and evaluation and presenting to a client.

Part three, beyond land based design, shows how permaculture design can be applied to other aspects, like course timetables, social structures or even your own life.

The whole book is designed to be small enough and well enough laid out to be useful out in the field. Each section has a useful summary of key points to keep you on track, and there is a great mix of high-tec and low-tec tools so you can select the most appropriate for your needs. He understands that when working for a client with a team of helpers that you will need to be very professional and organised, but appreciates that a lot of people are working on a budget and for themselves, so he's laid the book out with instructions on which bits to skip in different circumstances - you don't need to spend much time organising a team of one or writing a proposal to yourself!

This book fills a huge void in permaculture literature. Anyone thinking of designing properties for other people will find it indispensable, and I can't imagine there are many people who only want to design for themselves who wouldn't benefit from having this book by their side as they plan out their dreams and their gardens. It's not a complete introduction to permaculture, it is a toolbox and how-to guide for pulling everything together into a coherent, self-supporting whole. The book itself is laid out so it's very easy to dip into, with plenty of relevant diagrams and lots of sub-headings so you can quickly locate the info you are looking for. My advice is to read it right through once, then keep it in your pocket as you are out and about.
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on 3 May 2012
As an apprentice on the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design and a Gaia University Associate, no other book has come close to the amount of times I have referenced it as much as Aranya's guide to the design process.

I was fortunate to receive a pre-printed copy as part of a diploma support event I had attended with Aranya. Ever since I have continued to go back to the pages time and time again.

Aranya goes through the design process in a beautifully clear way - no other permaculture textbook really comes close to its logic and practicality. Always backed up with real life examples, Aranya brings the design process alive.

Whenever I've felt lost in a maze of analysis - whether its designing for my smallholding or for the community projects I organise with - Aranya's book helps me to get the process straight in my head. The flowcharts, key questions and design tools all help me to organise my thinking in a way that I can get the most out of the design process.

As a permaculture columnist for Positive News, I also get sent a whole lot of books to review for my permaculture pages. This has been one of the most useful books I have had to review in the job to date.

If you are new to permaculture, or you are completing the diploma or even if you are an experienced designer - get this book! It is a must and one of the most useful texts in the permaculture toolkit to date!

Even if you've never heard of permaculture before, make the most of these tools to help re-design your life or projects you care about, you will not be disappointed!
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on 2 July 2012
Most of the other reviews have said much of what I feel about this book, it really is that good. I have been wishing for a book like this for ages, there are many books out there on Permaculture design but mostly based in Australia or the States and it is great to have one from a British author.Aranya's style is very down to earth and very readable. Suddenly things from my Design Course are starting to click, as the design process can be difficult at times, but this makes it much easier to break down and understand. You won't regret buying this book.
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on 23 April 2012
My thought process and views are based on an evolving knowledge of Permaculture and appreciation of nature, which began its adventure in 1992 with my subscription to The Permaculture Magazine. Frequently feeling isolated and alone in my aspirations, the magazine has been a great support, reminding me that I am not alone in my dreams and ambitions for a different future. Aranya's book I feel, will become my new trusted and supportive friend! Thanks! It has even rekindled the desire to further my permaculture journey.
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Although intentionally small in physical scale, for portability, Aranya's book is HUGE in terms of inspiration, clarity and enabling creative designs. Drawing on years of experience and teaching permaculture, Aranya offers a clear and accessable design pathway and tool kit to support any design process. Deeply rooted in the ethics and principles of permaculture, this practical and inspiring design guide is a must have.
Let this little book become a big part of your life. Buy it, use it and make a difference in the world.
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on 29 January 2016
To me, this book maps the world of Permaculture. When moving from simple design to something more complex, particularly if planning to buy land and designing your future around sustainable permaculture principles, or advising someone else who intends to do it, complexity grows so quickly that 'design tools' become essential in getting a clear understanding of what to do. Aranya's publications have always been a delight to read and to follow and this one is a masterpiece from an expert in the field and his book-making team. A truly massive amount of data is packed into a 191 page A5 size book yet the contents are so clearly and logically set out that the contents are easily read and readily understandable and it covers everything very thoroughly but without the slightest feeling of being condensed - an amazing feat in itself! Anyone considering going beyond the small garden, or who wants an interesting read and enlightenment, should get this book. It is also a must-have reference book for anyone's Permaculture library and a guaranteed re-read for lots of years to come.
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