Location: Atascadero, CA
Project Scope: 7th Generation Design was invited to perform a Level 1 Site Assessment and design a passive water harvesting earthworks and erosion control system to improve access, increase usable planting area, improve hydration and create the soil-building foundation for a future food forest on a budding 10 acre permaculture homestead. The clients envision creating an abundant homestead with ample food production (annual and perennial) to share with family, friends and community.
The Land: The 10 acres are all set on a generally south-facing secondary ridge, with dominant solar aspects ranging from southeast to southwest. Much of the property has steep grades, ranging as high as 36% in some places.
Existing Conditions: During a typical Atascadero rain year of 17.5 inches, this property receives ~4.75 million gallons of direct precipitation within property bounds, of which ~ .71 – 2.14 million gallons is lost as run-off (15-45%). An additional .4 – 1.2 million gallons flows onto the property from off-property catchment areas. The property has a history of overgrazing, with infertile soils (almost pure sand on the ridges, some fine sandy loam in the valleys) and low soil-biology, as evidenced by the years-old livestock dung still persisting on the ground. The formerly grazed areas are largely dominated by annual broadleaf weeds and grasses.