Video Lesson Summary:

In this lesson, you’ll get the tools and instructions on how to do a series of site-specific assessments so that you’ll get an understanding of your land’s natural tendencies, capabilities, and potential limitations.

The ultimate goal of the site assessment is to find out how the landscape itself might enhance or obstruct your long-term design goals. To do the site assessment you’ll use a framework adapted from the keyline scale of permanence.

In the site assessment process you:

  1. First, collect all the relevant information about the site through research, observations, and surveys.
  2. Then you make some conclusions (assessments); identify the site’s potentials or limitations in relation to the fulfillment of your design goals.
  3. As a final step in the process, look for any inconsistencies with our design goals and redefine them if necessary.

Action Steps:

STEP 1. Sort out existing information about your site – set up a folder directory on your desktop computer called ‘Site Assessment’ with ten subcategories/subfolders. Put any intel you already have about your site into the relevant subcategories. Download the folder directory template here. (Est. time required: 5 – 15  min.)

STEP 2. Prep for the collection of new intel about your site – download the Google Earth and site assessment spreadsheet template files. (Est. time required: 5 min.)

STEP 3. Use the site assessment instructions below to gather as much information as you can, put information into the spreadsheet and make sketches in Google Earth. (Est. time required: variable)

STEP 4. Do the site assessment and re-evaluate your goals if necessary. (Est. time required: 30 min.)

STEP 5. Proceed to the next module: Concept Design (Whole Farm Layout)

Peer Support Discussions:


  1. Casey Williams

    Hi William, I noted that in the video, you mention offering two versions of the site assessment worksheet — the full-on version and a minimal version. I just see one site assessment spreadsheet linked here. Which version is this, and where do I find a copy of the other version as well? Thank you! I’m really enjoying this course, despite still being at the beginning! 🙂


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