The tag line is “A step by step guide” and that’s exactly what this book is. Aranya takes you through the entire design process, even including chapters on dealing with clients. It is handbook-sized to fit in a coat pocket, so you can have it with you as you spend time on site. It is full of pictures, diagrams and flow charts which will be helpful to folks who like to “see” what the author is saying. He also includes lots of explanation of and connections to the principles of permaculture and lots of quotes from various gurus of the subject.
The contents page describes three segments but it’s really one large central part with a brief opening section on Observation skills and the Design Process and a final, ‘stick-on’ called ‘Beyond land-based designs’ which deals with personal space design and working with multiple clients, as in community based projects. There’s also a nice, if short, glossary, for those new to Permaculture and a section with useful books and resources. This lists all the classic Permaculture writers and texts.
The main sections deal with everything from the initial client interview (even if YOU, like me, are your own client) and observing the site, right through to submitting your design proposals and the implementation stage. This is truly a step-by-step, hands on, how-to-do-it guide. It is very clearly written. The paragraphs are short and easy to absorb. Each step makes complete sense and fits into the overall sequence of the work. A nice touch is that he refers to various forms he uses and various ‘tools’ at different phases of the process and he is generous enough to provide online blanks so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. Of necessity, some drawings are reduced to fit on an A5 page and therfore are hard to read in detail. some of these are available to download too. Brilliant.
Overall a very helpful book. I loved it. It has helped me further my plans for my own site and that’s what I wanted from it. Good value. Good read.
P.S. (Aug 2014) Subsequently I have returned to this book again and again for specific “How to’s”. You can’t say better than that.