Looby Macnamaras Design Web!

Permaculture has been explored and written about in many ways and there are growing numbers of resources, delving into theory, techniques and practical examples for how to design productive systems. The Design Web, developed by Looby Macnamara is a brilliant tool, particularly built for creating designs for our zone 00 (ourselves)

There are 12 anchor points; all of which can be expanded upon and worked through. The great thing about this method, is that it offers a non-linear path to a design. You can start wherever you like, and there are many different paths you may take: all of which can offer insight and inspiration and lead us towards our vision and goals.

For example you may start with vision, and move on to look at the barriers that you may face. What could stop you from acheiving your end goal? Once this area has been analysed you may move to ‘ideas’ and begin looking at the ideas for overcoming these barriers. This might lead you to your ‘action’ planning!

Within each of these anchor points are a number of exercises and ideas for where to go next. A great deal of wisdom emerges when you move through a process in this way. Much more than if you were to sit and ponder generally about what direction you might take. The process actually helps to see exactly what it is we want, and how we will get there and builds a really holistic design.

Let’s look at one anchor point as an example


You could start by making a list of your personal resources

  • These resources could be physical. ie. what ‘things’ do you have at your disposal which could be of help?
  • Resources could also be people. Who do you know who would be willing to help? Do you know anyone with skills specific to what you need? Maybe it’s not even a person you know, but someone you have heard of, a friend of a friend or someone you’ve read about. You’d be surprised how people are willing to help, even when you don’t know them personally!
  • What personal attributes, skills or personality traits do you have that will be of benefit to you here?
    By seeing this written on paper, you’ll also build confidence in yourself and kick start your momentum. A list is a great way of visualising just how much and how many resources there are!

The mind-map of self

  • This is just another way of visualising all your resources. However this method allows for a great deal of creativity, colours, being fantastic and visual which can bring even more inspiration. It also allows you to draw in links between resources, allowing you to see useful patterns.


  • Sit in a quiet room where you won’t be disturbed for the duration. You can put on some calming music if you like, burn a little incense or essential oils and sit or lie comfortably.
  • Concentrate on your breathing. Feel the breath moving in and out, filling your lungs, moving past your nose and lips. Focus on your breathing for some time and relax your body from head to toe.
  • Imagine you see yourself. There is a door in your chest at your heart centre. You move towards it and enter. You find yourself in a beautiful garden. It is peaceful and bright. You can feel the light washing over you as it fills you with warmth and a sense of well-being.
  • As you walk through the garden you see a figure sitting at the table. That figure is yourself. Or you could describe it as your higher self. It is your intuition, purity and light of love that is your soul. The figure turns to greet you.
  • In your mind you may now formulate a question. It may be something like “What resources do I have that could help me with this?” or “I would like guidance to see what can help me here?” Once you have your question and you have focused on it, let the question go.
  • Look into the face of the figure as it stands before you. Concentrate on that feeling of unconditional love that it has for you and everything around you. Focus on that love. Let it fill you and be still.
  • After a while an answer will quietly come to you. If you do not recieve an answer straight away, sit and enjoy the feeling of love that is all around you, and whenever you’re ready thank the kind figure and go to leave.
  • You walk out of the door in your heart centre and see yourself sitting/lying there. You sink back into your body and begin to feel the weight of your limbs. You become aware of the sights and surrounding and whenever you’re ready, you can write down any insights you gained. Don’t worry if you didn’t recieve an answer straight away..you have now asked the question and the insight could come at any time.

Helps and patterns

  • All the anchor points really link together and the patterns anchor point could also expand our ideas of Helps. A good place to look for help is in the established patterns. Go out and find the patterns in nature, look everywhere. Branching, spirals, rolling hills. How can these patterns inform your design? Do they give you any wisdom or ideas?
  • What have others done that is similar to what you want to do? How can these patterns inform your design? Is there anything out there that can offer you some guidance? Maybe do a little research.

Helps I don’t have, but could get.

  • What could help you that you don’t have now? Maybe it is attending a course or buying a book. Perhaps you can find resources on the internet including videos, blogs or forums. Is there something you could get which would help you to acheieve your goal?


This is just one of the 12 anchor points. You could try all these techniques, select a few that you think will help, or even create your own! After looking at helps you may move onto ‘ideas’, ‘action’ or perhaps the ‘barriers’ anchor point-