Orchard Design: Survey #4 – Client Interviews



Not everything has a straight line. In fact in my humble opinion, most things are pretty wonky.

My client interviews weren’t exactly wonky, but they were pretty varied. I had planned on setting up quite formal interviews but as it happened, aside from the Skype I had to set up with Abi’s sister and her husband in America, things just came out in conversation between myself, Abi and her Mum, plus a few neighbours.

Here’s the main points I thought relevant to the Orchard Design:

Rachel & Andre in America

  • Broadly in agreement with the plans and ideas – happy specifically for the orchard design to go ahead.
  • Most concerns lay around not putting anything into place that would lock down options for the future or devalue the land in any way – such as;
    1. intensive farming
    2. large scale livestock
    3. mining
    4. bulk change of use of the land
  • Our interview prompted an interesting discussion about what permaculture is and the capacity that Abi and I would have to work on the land, meaning that all of the above concerns would be out of the question
  • Also talked about water supply and use
  • Also talked about pests and smells – but more relating to large scale livestock operations which aren’t part of the plan


  • Was less concerned about plans for permanent structures than her survey questionnaire might have come across as indicating, and in the community use aspects, which came across as very positive and high priority on the form.
  • Discussions around maintaining privacy for her Mum and the access arrangements, meaning we can’t be designing something that allows lots of people access over her Mum’s property
  • Really more interested in the short to medium term in getting the Yurt up and in place as a semi-permanenent structure and a place to hang out, cook, camp and do yoga
  • Very up for the Orchard plan (bit of a no-brainer this one)

Abi’s Mum

  • Talked about how the land used to be an orchard in the past
  • Appeared keen on the idea of progressing a plan to improve access to the field from her garden and through the fence, creating a gate at the South West end, at some point in the near future
  • Happy to see the land coming back into use


  • I’m getting more and more excited about the idea of planting trees!
  • Access and water are my biggest concerns


  • Neighbours #1 – really positive about the field being brought back into use. Discussions around the fact it used to be an orchard. They remembered this from a long time ago and one of their trees in their garden used to be part of that orchard. Very friendly and supportive of the plan, and this is a couple who have a direct view across the field, so one of the most impacted in terms of ‘view’.
  • Neighbours #2 – positive about the plans, for both the Yurt and the orchard. No particular other comments, and this is a family with a direct view across the field so again one of the most impacted.
  • Neighbour #3 – very positive about the plans. More of an indirect view of the field but an old friend of the family and very happy to hear that ABi & I are moving back into the area and making use of the field.

With each new morsel of information. the idea takes shape, it builds on its predecessor concepts, it strengthens. These are just observations and records of conversations, but they add weight and provide direction and flow to the design. Conversations aren’t linear, they spiral; coming back to the same point only slightly bigger and more expansive.



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