Make a Zone Map

Now that you have assessed the flows on your site, check out your overlays.  You may notice that there are areas that are used more frequently and areas that are not interacted with often.  A zone analysis is a map that divides a property into areas based on their frequency of use. Frequency of use helps to determine management plans for building soil, planting strategies, necessary structures and tools, watering strategies, etc.

A zone map can convey current interactions on the property.  As you develop your design, you may find that zones change over time as your system becomes more complex.  Your zone map will enhance your efficiency so hopefully, you will be able to get more accomplished.

Below are some common guidelines for zones:

Zone 1 – Areas you visit everyday.

Zone 2 – Places  you visit a couple times a week.

Zone 3 – Places you visit once a week.

Zone 4 – Areas you visit less than once a week.

Zone 5 – Places that you hardly ever visit/interact with

Each person’s zone map is unique.  Zone maps may change in different seasons.

zone map

If you live on a small site, zone 1 may be areas that you visit often throughout the day.  On a small site, zone 2 may be places you visit less frequently throughout the day.  In an urban context, you may not have all of the zones on your site.

If you live in an apartment and do not have a car, zone 1 may be the property where your apartment is located.  Zone 2 may be defined as areas that you walk to.  Zone 3 could be a bike ride away.  Zone 4 would be places where you take the bus.  You would need to borrow a car or drive with a friend to places that would be considered zone 5.

The goal is to divide up the property based on frequency of use as a methodology for design. Naturally, we will interact with the areas that we frequent.  A zone map can inform us where to plant tasty berries for frequent harvest or where to place the compost for ease in bringing it outdoors.  You will interact with your landscape more frequently if you pass by the elements that appeal to you often.

The management plan for your landscape changes throughout the zones.  It is most intensive in zone one and decreases in intensity as you progress to zone 5.  You may have different soil building strategies, mulching strategies, and important elements based on frequency of use.

* A zone map should assess how you interact with all spaces on your landscape.  Every spot should be indicated as a specific zone.

On the macroscale, Zones can be considered as you design your life.  I want my food supply to be in zone 1 and a good store for purchasing food to be in zone 3 (a bike ride away) of my macrolandscape.  I like to have my yoga center in zone 2 (an easy walk).  As you look at this concept on the larger scale, think about where you work, where your friends and family live, where you food comes from, and other things that are important to you.  On the microscale, you can create a zone map of your kitchen to help you design the placement of your kitchen supplies or a zone map of your desk to enhance your efficiency.



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