Frequently Asked Questions

Design Service FAQs

Implementation Service FAQs

Education Service FAQs

Design Service FAQs

What is the “Minimum Holistic Goal” referred to in your design process?

The Minimum Holistic Goal (MHG) is the most fundamental vision of desired outcomes for a given project. An MHG is the lens through which all subsequent decisions regarding the design, implementation, establishment and management of a holistic system will be tested and evaluated. Put more simply, an MHG is the compass that will guide us to the desired outcome.

You can browse through the entire Minimum Holistic Goal setting process HERE.

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What is the “Holistic Context” referred to in your design process?

A holistic context is a contextual understanding of the many factors that influence a particular site, person or project. Much like how we can deduce the meaning of a word based on the arrangement of words around it, develop a Holistic Context helps us understand the forces at work on a piece of land, on an individual, within a group, or in most cases, a mix of all three.

To tie this definition in with that of the MHG above, the Holistic Context is like all 360 degrees on a compass – the needle is influence by very single radian. We set an MHG based upon our understanding of the Holistic Context to help us navigate to a desired outcome.

Between developing a Minimum Holistic Goal and performing a Level 1 – Site Assessment an accurate picture of the many factors that influence design decisions – both visible and invisible – can be brought into an accessible and useful format, and thus create an incredibly powerful and useful tool for realizing desired outcomes.

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Why does every Level 2 consultancy begin with developing a Minimum Holistic Goal and Holistic Context?

Every individual or group that we work with is unique. We, as designers, are tasked with helping you bring your vision to life in the landscape in a way that is simultaneously regenerative to the surrounding ecology while providing for your present and future needs. Spending time upfront, before diving into any large scale data collection, analysis or design work, to clarify the vision of what we are doing and why we are doing it will make the how of bringing it all into being vastly simpler, more efficient and enjoyable.

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What is the difference between a Walk & Talk, Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3?

Walk & TalkLevel 1 – Site AssessmentLevel 2 – Whole Site DesignLevel 3 – Implementation Planning & Oversight
EssenceA second opinion, a fresh perspective.The “Owner’s Manual” for a piece of land.“A place for everything and every thing in its place.”Shovel-ready planning and implementation for specific elements.
7th Gen design team on-site with you for 3 hours focused on whatever you would like our input on. The more questions you have the better.The “Owner’s Manual” for a piece of property – all of the site-specific information that is needed to inform good land development & management decisions moving forward. Provides an assessment of Existing Conditions and makes high-level recommendations for best next steps.Whole Site Design that builds upon the Existing Conditions assessed in a Level 1. Selection, location, orientation and co-location of elements for redundancy of critical functions, high productivity, low maintenance, beauty and enjoyment.Quoted on a per-element / system basis. We can plan it, oversee it, and do it. You can work alongside us or leave it to us, your call.
DeliverablesSummary of notes from the Walk & Talk, including links to additional worthy of further investigation. 1 day Site Visit.
Site Assessment Report (~50-70 pages).
Scale, hi-resolution photo basemaps of existing conditions with relevant call-outs.
Virtual presentation of the report upon delivery.
Site Visit of 1-2 days.
Whole Site Design Report (~120-160 pages).
Scale, hi-resolution, photo basemaps with all design layers and relevant call-outs.
Mid-cycle review of design map with you.
Virtual or in-person/on-property presentation of final design report.
Site Visits as necessary per the project.
Precise bill of materials.
Labor estimates. 
Design maps as necessary.
On-site / virtual oversight as necessary.
Actual physical implementation of the element(s) if called for.
Observations and Recommendations categorized in the following manner: General, Site Context, Water, Access, Structures, Living Systems, Boundaries, Energy, Economy, and Community.Site Assessment Report of existing conditions and high-level recommendations as they pertain to Water, Access, Structures, Living Systems, Boundaries, Energy, Economy, and Community. 
Basemap detailing existing conditions as listed above.
Everything from the L1 – Site Assessment + Whole Site Design Report with detailed design recommendations. Includes write-ups on each individual element – including what it is, why it was selected, where it should be located, and how it functions with other elements and within the larger design to realize the desired outcomesDetailed cost projections, bill of materials, labor estimates. 
Handling of materials sourcing, acquisition, delivery. Step-by-step implementation plans. 
Oversight / interfacing with third parties. 
Doing the physical work (planting, construction, earth moving, irrigation etc).
Site Visit
YesYesYesAlmost always yes.
~ Time To Delivery5 business days after site visit.4 – 6 weeks6 – 10 weeksVariable, determined by the nature of the project.
Maps Included?YesYesIf necessary / helpful.
Minimum Holistic
Goal required?
No.No, but highly recommended.RequiredNo, but highly recommended.
Pricing$800 + travel$3,000 ~ $4,500 + travel$10,000 – $16,000 + travel
*the cost of any previous Level 1 will be deducted from the total price for a Level 2
Unique to specific project.
Learn MoreWalk & TalksLevel 1 – Site AssessmentLevel 2 – Whole Site DesignLevel 3 – Implementation & Oversight
Sample Deliverables Sample Walk & Talk NotesSample L1 – Site Assessment ReportSample Level 2 – Whole Site Design Report
Past ConsultanciesLevel 1 Project PortfolioLevel 2 Project Portfolio Level 3 Project Portfolio

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Why is a Level 2 – Whole Site Design more expensive than a Level 1- Site Assessment?

A Level 2 Whole Site Design picks up where the Level 1 Site Assessment leaves off, with a significant amount of total project hours (typically ~100-140) going into the Design portion of the process. Additional base map creation with all design elements also takes a significant amount of time. A Level 2 Whole Site Design is a holistic view of your entire property with your vision mapped onto it, along with the baseline information needed to get started implementing it.

Should you decide to begin with a Level 1 and later progress to a Level 2, the cost of the Level 1 will be deducted from the Level 2.

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What approach and framework does 7th Gen use to design and evolve landscapes towards increased function and health?

We generally utilize the SADIMEA framework, summarized below and in detail in our Process section.

Survey ⇒ Analysis ⇒ Design ⇒ Implementation ⇒ Maintenance ⇒ Evaluation ⇒ Adjustment

Our design approach is informed by the Keyline Scale of Permanence developed by P.A. Yeomans – or as we typically refer to it, the Scale of Impermanence. We start with the things that are relatively fixed (permanent) or expensive to change and progress towards those things that are quicker and less costly to change. In this way the broad patterns of place work to inform the actionable details of the systems implemented.

Holistic Context ⇒ Climate/Geography/History ⇒ Water ⇒ Access ⇒ Shelter & Structures ⇒ Living Systems ⇒ Boundaries ⇒ Energy ⇒ Economy ⇒ Community

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What are your rates?

Walk & Talks: $800 + travel

Level 1 – Site Assessments: $3,000 – $4,500 + travel (generally 4-6 weeks to delivery)

Level 2 – Whole Site Design: $10,000 – $16,000 + travel (generally 6-10 weeks to delivery)

Level 3 – Element Specific Implementation Planning / Project Oversight / Hands-on Implementation: $100/designer hour, half day minimum + travel for on-site work

Travel: $50.00/designer travel hour + $.58/mile driven. Rail / Air / Sea – economy Rates, expenses covered by client.

Room And Board: For multi-day site visits room and board expenses will be covered by the client per local GSA rates.

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How can I know I’ll be able to afford to install the finished design?

Part of the Holistic Context Development and Minimum Holistic Goal setting we do at the very beginning of any new consultancy explicitly covers the resources available to the project. This is critical for us to know up front, as the design recommendations we make will be tuned to the resources available or that can be obtained.

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Implementation Services FAQs

What kinds of things can 7th Gen help me grow, construct or install?

The 7th Generation Design team can help you implement the following types of systems / elements in your design (presented here organized by the Keyline Scale of Permanence):

  • Water
    • Passive Water Harvesting: Earthworks including swales, infiltration basins/pocket ponds, keyline subsoiling, earthen drains, berms, terraces, small ponds, spring development.
    • Active Water Harvesting: water storage tanks and associated plumbing, stock tanks, greywater systems
    • Erosion Control Structures: headcut repair structures, flow spreaders, flow concentrators, grade control structures, aggradation structures, drains.
    • Irrigation Systems: for annual and perennial production, livestock watering, plant propagation.
  • Access
    • Wheeled Access: Low-standard road retrofits (usually in concert with erosion control structures).
    • Foot Access: various types of foot access – hardscapes, softscapes, bioscapes.
  • Structures
    • Earth bag structures like fire circles, benches, garden walls etc.
  • Living Systems
    • Nutrient Cycling Systems
      • Flow-through vermicomposter systems, Johnson-Su BioReactors, biochar production, bokashi composting, thermophilic composting, compost tea brewing.
    • Production Systems
      • Annual: market gardens, raised bed gardens, wicking beds.
      • Perennial: agroforestry systems like food forests, forest gardens, silvopasture, multi-species orchards, fuelwood and biomass plantings, reforestation. Grazing plans.
    • Propagation Systems: Automated Misting Beds (for propagating plants from cuttings) and Air Pruning Beds (for propagating trees and other perennials from seed).
  • Energy Systems
    • Generation: Off-grid 100% DC solar systems, micro-hydro systems, micro-wind systems.
    • Storage: Battery banks and mainframe distribution wiring
    • Water Pumping
      • Mechanically-Driven Pumps: hand pumps, nose pumps, wind-driven pumps, waterwheel pumps.
      • Water-Driven Pumps: ram pumps, river pumps and bunyip pumps.
      • Electric Pumps: DC and AC

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What conditions must be met in order for 7th Gen to help grow, construct or install a specific system on my property?

In order for 7th Generation Design to take on installation of specific elements or systems on your land, the element in question needs to;

  1. Have a net-positive effect on the overall ecosystem health of the property and its surrounds,
  2. Be integrated into a larger plan – a system of systems. We don’t do one-off installations and we don’t “fight fires” and we don’t put lipstick on pigs. If there is an underlying design flaw decreasing energy efficiency and resiliency, and increasing the cost of maintaining and operating the system, we will first need to address the root cause of that friction – generally this is done through some form of Whole Site Design, whether through us, another regenerative design outfit, or done yourself.

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Education Services FAQs

What kinds of subject matter are in 7th Gen’s teaching wheelhouse?

Generally anything you see written about here on the site, anything on our blog or within our portfolio of past projects. Any part of the Resilience Through Function Design curriculum is fair game, including the design process itself.

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