Design From Patterns to Details

The fibonacci sequence, or golden rule as some identify, can be found across nature and integrated into intentional human design.

Before we design a system for a certain functioning and/or process we must first observe its nature. By identifying patterns before moving further into the details of a project, the process can be most efficient and effective. For example, within the University of Michigan East Quad Permaculture Satellite Garden project stakeholders first developed concepts based on student, faculty, and staff interest as well as concerning property layout before identifying structural and educational components.  This process must precede focusing on which breed of heirloom tomato to grow in the raised beds or any other detail oriented aspect of the project.  Let’s face it, the garden cannot have any tomatoes if there aren’t raised beds.


Kenneth Rapp, University Landscape Architect, designed the East Quad Permaculture garden from patterns…


to details…

Revised concept

“By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.

Every spider’s web is unique to its situation, yet the general pattern of radial spokes and spiral rings is universal. The proverb “can’t see the forest for the trees” reminds us that the closer we get to something, the more we are distracted from the big picture.” -Holmgren’s Permaculture Priciples