Zones and sectors is a principle of permaculture practise. It is also used in other fields to break down a bigger picture into small pieces. I am using zone planning for quite a few projects as it is a birds-eye view of a bigger picture. This makes life easier to plan placement of elements such as buildings, trees, fences, security, water catchment, crop rotation and highlights efficient use of energies and resources.
You can draw up to five zones on a simple map of your plot, using space and energies as the zones. Zones do not need to be physical boundires such as fences or structures.Instead you would you use zones to use your energies most efficiently such as placing things that you frequently use around the house in Zone 1, such as a herb garden, and in zone 2 place an orchard. The pond will less frequently be used and will be in Zone 2. The Cottage will be in Zone 2 and the House in Zone 1. Zone 1 is usually situated around the house, as it is the most intensively used place, controlled and maintained that require most of our attention. The rest of the zones carry less importance until you get to Zone 5 which is not maintained, or barely maintained.
By breaking up even the largest site into smaller sections, it’s much easier to design. Dividing up the site into zones does this for us, sector planning involves observation of nature to see where the elements of nature come into our site design. You can now easily plan efficient use of energies such as wind, rain, sun and even the slope of your land. Priorotise placement of elements around your property to maximise on natural resources.
Below is a youtube video clip of Zone planning for a compost heap.