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There's an acronym, WASPA,which is really popular in permaculture circles. It stands for water, access, structures, plants and animals and lays out the order in which you should implement your design for ultimate ease and flow. Let me step you through the thinking and considerations.

1. Water: Implementing water first up can include large scale earth works where you have big machinery coming through your property. As we're on an 5h forest pasture we will build water harvesting systems, including swale paths. You really don't want to be trying to do this work once you have other things in place, like fencing, as you'll end up having to rip it out and put it back again - a whole world of pain, which is best to avoid.

2. Access: Access is super important and determines how you move around the site. If you get it right, good access paths can improve efficiency drastically as well as double up with water harvesting systems. Implementing access paths can often happen at the same time, or very closely after water systems are put in place. When working with large machinery, you can double up by carving in water harvesting methods and access roads/paths at the same time - this is what we will do with our swales.

3. Structures: Structures can include tool/machinery sheds, fencing, animals shelters and cisterns. At our property there is an existing house with a shed and a (horse)barn. The new fencing is one of top priorities (after Water) on our place; it allows us to grow and harvest crops without feeding all the local wildlife (deer!). Well worth the investment in time, money and energy.

4. Plants: Now, and only now, should you be looking to plant vegetation - edibles and otherwise. In our area, if you plant your crops before you have put your fencing up you might as well declare your garden a deer, hare and rabbit feast. Your plants will also benefit massively from having good water systems set up and access paths for easy harvesting and maintenance. It all fits together beautifully. The first plants we put in will be lots of annual green manures to improve the soil.

5. Animals: Last, but not least, animals enter the system. For animals to thrive and not just survive they need a space which is well suited to their needs, otherwise it's simply not ethical or appropriate to have them in there at all. We will start with chickens and (walking) ducks at our property, then we will add pigs to the family too.

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