Quantum Land Design – Sustainable ecological solutions through modern applied technology.
Our business model is partnering with land owners by offering services and expertise to apply technology to a land concept by intelligently analyzing, designing, implementing and maintaining the project throughout a single or every stage of its life cycle.
Starting a permaculture farm can be both an exciting and intimidating process. Many of the clients that we work with are very knowledgeable with the core principles of permaculture, and have enthusiasm unmatched by any other customers that we typically work with – which we love! However, understanding the “pieces” of permaculture is one thing; putting them together to create the sustainable ecosystem you desire is another. One of the best guiding tools we have for permaculture farm development is the Keyline Scale of Permanence, developed by the father of permaculture, P.A. Yeomans, which is:
Once you’ve selected a region to develop your farm, understanding the land – its shape, characteristics, etc., is the really the foundation on which your farm is built. If you understand the land – your chances of success exponentially improve. However, if you don’t, you will be facing an uphill battle from here on out, as how you understand and harness the shape of the land will cascade down through everything else.
This is where we can help – the team at Quantum Land Design are land design experts. From aerial hi-res photography & mapping, topographic/contour mapping, watershed mapping, swale and keyline planning and cultivation, catchment areas, pond design, etc. planning through the actual implementation process via GPS controlled earthmoving equipment and UAV/drone photogrammetry and LIDAR applications. We have the capability to help you through the entire process or just single phases – it is completely up to you!
Here is the full process that we typically go through with clients. It is important to note that we will do as little or much of this as the client wishes. Our goal is to partner with you and make you successful. While the process may appear to look formal, we will mold it to fit your needs.
This can be as sophisticated as a CAD drawing or as simple as a sketch on a napkin or just a thought in your mind. But the land concept is YOUR vision of the land that incorporates your holistic goals, what you ultimately want out of the land. Our initial meeting will primarily focus on this topic before we ever put pencil to paper. Once we understand your vision, it makes our job much easier in making it a reality.
Once we understand the vision for the land, the next step is capturing the “current state” of the land, typically done through a land survey. This is possibly the most critical step in planning your farm, as a survey will tell you everything you need to know about the shape of your land, typically communicated in the form of a contour map. An accurate survey is an invaluable resource for planning and is an area not to skimp on. While there are several ways to perform surveys, we use UAV/drone aerial mapping techniques which are a fraction of the cost and time of a traditional land survey while not sacrificing quality. In addition to a contour map, UAVs can also create 3D land models, point clouds and high resolution orthophotos for easier visualization and planning. An orthophoto is a geometrically modified picture that removes any perspective from a photo and can be used for taking accurate measurements. Here are example of point clouds and orthophotos from Grant Schultz’s Versaland in Iowa:
Versaland 4D Point Cloud
In addition to capturing the current state of the land through the techniques discussed above, we can also perform a feasibility study to identify major costs in the project. At this point, the study will be rough as the design is still in its infancy stages, but it may give you an idea what costs may go into the project.
Now the fun part begins – designing the elements that will make up your farm. This is typically a collaborative process and may go through several iterations. Here we start bringing everything together – ponds, road access, buildings, keyline designs, etc., to see how everything will work as a system. Before we move to the next phase of the project, we want to have a high level of confidence that our design won’t have major changes. At this point, it is still easy to move dams or ponds, but becomes much more tedious and time consuming down the road. Also, at this stage, we will perform another feasibility analysis, pulling together accurate costing on every phase and aspect of the entire project. At end of this point, we will create a CAD drawing showing what the project will look like. Here is an example:
Permaculture farm - Preliminary Design
The design is complete – it’s time to make this a reality. This final stage of construction is an area where we have saved clients a lot of money in past projects. Whether you are installing a road or building a dam, there are certain parts of your project where you will need to bring in an outside contractor to perform the work. Anytime dirt needs to be moved, contractors will be conservative with their numbers as their labor estimates are typically based on an educated guess on cubic yards of dirt that need to be moved. However, we can significantly reduce these bids by providing extremely accurate cut/fill volume reports and by balancing the work site (cut=fill). If you have a local excavating contractor that uses GPS controlled equipment, we can create all the required machine files which will further reduce the costs. It is our experience that by having us involved in this stage of the project, we have seen savings upwards of 40-50% of the initial earthworks costs. This is saved money that can be used elsewhere on your farm. Here is an example of a cut/fill report for a pond design:
Pond Design - Cut/Fill Report
Some of our clients have the budget available where they can perform all required work in a single phase. However, several of our clients have limited budgets, where they need to phase out construction costs over a 2-3 year period. For those who are using multiple phases, we can help layout out a plan to phase your project in the most cost effective plan possible. Moving dirt equals money, so we’ll work with you to develop the most economical means to phase your project by minimizing earthworks cost yet still taking into account the overall vision of the farm.
On completion of this phase, we will supply you with detailed CAD and PDF site drawings, 3D surface models, requested bidding documents and proposed contour map.
Just to re-emphasize, the process described above is a generic “typical” process. We’ve learned that every project is unique, and our goal is partnering with you to make you successful. To use our services, you don’t need to use us for every phase of the process – we don’t mind being used “a la carte”. Every client has different strengths and weaknesses, and we are looking to fill in the weaknesses, not offer services for a strength where it isn’t required.
What next? Give us a call at 505-515-3510 ex: 700 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to working with you!