Design Project: Implementation Plan Catch Up


If any of you remember the Implementation Plan that I posted back in December 2014, I’ll make this a catch up post which will pretty much be along the lines of feedback and tweaks.

I scheduled breaks in April and July, thinking that my family would have a holiday in April, and that winter illnesses would hit us in July/August and would need the rest. It was a good thing I scheduled the April break as I sliced my left index finger with sharp kitchen scissors doing a craft activity. Yeah, ouch. Luckily I didn’t need stitches, but I needed lots of healing time.

The schedule for May and June assume that the patio cover has been installed and therefore the surrounding land is ripe for scaping. That hasn’t happened yet so tasks 14-23 have been pushed back.

So what happened?

I had a plumber install 2 water saving toilets to replace the old single flush toilets (permaculture principle #6: produce no waste)

I joined the Diggers Club (from my husband as an early Mother’s Day gift)

A box of goodies from the Diggers Club

A box of goodies from the Diggers Club

I assembled a new rabbit hutch for Nibbles the guinea pig and Miffy the bunny

Assembled rabbit hutch with some flyscreen modifications

Assembled rabbit hutch with some flyscreen modifications

I had Miffy desexed, poor little munchkin

I planted poppy seeds and lettuce

Poppy seedlings - bonus seeds from the Diggers Club

Poppy seedlings – bonus seeds from the Diggers Club

Lettuce seedlings

Lettuce seedlings

I sheet mulched a section of the side of the house

Controlling the weeds and improving the look of the side of the house with sheet mulching

Controlling the weeds and improving the look of the side of the house with sheet mulching

I planted a couple of salvia plants in the front yard

Salvia to fill in gaps in the front garden

Salvia to fill in gaps in the front garden

AND got the wheels in motion for the patio cover! After lots of back and forth with the Operations Manager at For Life Patios to clarify details, I signed off on the Patio Building Plan in July. Very exciting! And then I worried about the state of our exposed aggregate concrete being rough, losing stones, and unsealed, and that in all likelihood, whatever we decided that we needed to do would need to be done before the patio could go in. Cutting a long story short, I found a company, Policrete, that does concrete grinding and sealing, and that looked like our best option for beautiful, comfortable, long-lasting flooring. The guys at Policrete were able to do the work in July and relieved my mind before For Life Patios needed the check measurements for the patio cover. Then patio materials started arriving near the end of August, and organising the construction has been my major activity since then.

What I learnt from that

I probably need to space out tasks involving trades in terms of the time it takes to find suitable contacts, organise quotes, finalise the scope, and schedule the work. Often the work is also weather-dependent, which means anything could happen in Melbourne.

Reflecting on the schedule and my point above, this implementation plan will probably be a 2 year plan.

I’m really glad I have resisted the temptation to start sheet mulching or edging new garden beds near the patio. Anything I did would have been trampled, covered in concrete dust, and otherwise ruined. Hardscaping is messy work.

I’ve enjoyed watching Nibbles and Miffy in the playpen outside on suitable weather days.

Miffy the dwarf lop bunny and Nibbles the guinea pig enjoying some time outdoors

Miffy the dwarf lop bunny and Nibbles the guinea pig enjoying some time outdoors

Sadly, Nibbles passed away earlier this month after being part of our family for nearly 6 years. She was very comfortable in her outdoor visits and went straight to grazing the grass and depositing her fertiliser. She’s buried next to her sister Boo in our backyard. I’m holding off using the new hutch until Miffy has a buddy bunny she’s happy to live with.

Seed raising soil is helpful for sprouting, but doesn’t contain enough nutrients for continued growth. This means another potting stage to nurture the growth until it’s hardy enough to plant.

What about the plan?

You can see why I’ve said this is feedback and tweaks to the plan. It’s happening slowly, but surely, as they say.

What about you?  What have you found impacts on your project timelines?  Do you find re-potting seeds is a task that goes on the back-burner or do you have a process to save you time?


Design Project: Implementation Plan, Budget and Maintenance


So now I have a design, the next stage of the project is P for Plan a Schedule of Implementation, Maintenance and Feedback from the CEAP process. How does the design become reality?

Sweet peas holding on to each other to support their growth.  Everything is a work in progress :)

Sweet peas holding on to each other to support their growth. Everything is a work in progress 🙂

Implementation Plan and Calendar

Implementation Plan and Calendar

I have used Excel to mock up a Gantt chart for the end of 2014 and the months continuing to October 2015. I have shown the tasks, who is doing the work, the status, and the month the work is scheduled for. I have also included a list of recommendations in terms of the order of work and reasoning behind the timing. Following the Care of People ethic, I have scheduled in a break in April and in July. I have noted that feedback and tweaks will be ongoing during these tasks. Most tasks are able to be handled by us, the owners. A few tasks will need to be handled by tradespeople as they are bigger or require more expertise. Potentially, the paving work could be handled by a tradesperson as well if that’s easier and cost effective.


Design Project Budget

I have listed the budget items to be read in alignment with the implementation plan. I have listed the projects, the items required for the project, the cost per unit, the quantity, the cost, source of the estimate, and some comments.

I have noted some general items to support soil improvement, and added a contingency of 10% as this is a concept budget, not detailed design. There are some works for the patio that my husband and I have been discussing that are also not in the scope of this design or budget, and I have noted that at the bottom.

Maintenance Notes

Maintenance Notes

I have taken a higher view of the key maintenance tasks and included some ideas on how to save time on them, because we all want to save time on these things and then we’ll have more time to spend enjoying the sights, sounds, smells, feel, and tastes of it all.

A Few Final Headings to Close Out The Project…

1. Feedback loop

I don’t need a formalised process for this as I’m the designer and client, and my husband and I regularly share our thoughts about the state of our property and ideas about what we’d like.

2. Surprises

The big surprise came when I was working on the PASTE analysis and discovered that the daphne is poisonous.

I have also been surprised that this has been a lot more work than I expected and I hope this means that I’ve done more than I needed to in order to complete the project.

I can’t recall being particularly surprised by anything else given that I am very familiar with the property and have ample opportunities to make observations.

3. Project Lessons Learnt

Project start up took a lot longer than I wanted between the winter viruses taking a toll particularly for my daughter, and familiarising myself with processes for permaculture.  It took me some time to determine what was required and how I wanted to complete the work, and I had a frustrated husband who thought the project would be ready in time for spring implementation.  Oops!  I have learnt to share any progress with the client (or husband) as it comes rather than waiting until an item is finished.  That way, I’m sharing the learning journey and can receive more feedback about whether things fit into expectations or vision for the design, and can adjust accordingly with little time wasted.

I have also learnt that there are gaps in documented processes for permaculture, and that processes don’t necessarily fit into a project framework.  If in doubt, I suggest asking the client what level of detail they are looking for.

What’s Next?

My next step is to provide all these design project blog links to my supervisor at the Regenerative Leadership Institute for review and (hopefully) approval. If they need anything else, I’ll blog that and send them the link. Wish me luck!

The Design Project series

Making a Start

Creating an Example

Design Project Site Observations and Maps

Design Project Developing my Process and a Promise to VEG

Design Project Client Interview

Design Project Tools for Analysis

Design Project Key Functions and a Design (nearly!)

Design Project Applying Permaculture Principles and a Design