This is the beginning of the process, where observation is the main activity. There are two key aspects to the survey stage of a design - surveying the land, and interviewing the people.

In this category...

Group Survey / Client Interview

This can help you to understand the needs and resources of a group that you are working with, or you can use it to ask yourselves important questions about your own wants, needs and resources.

Knowing your pace

You can work out the length of your own pace by marking out 50 metres, and walking there and back and counting the number of paces. 100 divided by your number of steps equals your pace in centimetres. Do it a few times to be sure.

Making a Base Map

The base map can be thought of as the foundation of your design. It will include a scale e.g. 1:100, site orientation (showing north), site title and location, and key features.


PASE stands for Plants, Animals, Structures and Events.

Some people include Technologies too, making it PASTE.


The PASE sheet can be used in 2 ways and usually both approaches are helpful:

Plant Surveys

It is invaluable to identify what plants are on your site before you begin any major changes to the site.

Soil Surveys

It is important to identify and understand what your soil is like before you begin your project. Soil maps provide general information about an area.

Using a Water Level

water level is a device used for matching elevations of locations that are too far apart. it uses water inside a clear plastic tube with two measuring sticks on either end.

Using an A Frame

The ‘A’ frame is designed to help determine the most level points between the two legs. It is used to map contour lines – a level line across your property

Finding a contour line with the A-Frame

Wildlife Surveys

It is invaluable to identify what animals are on your site before you begin any major changes to the site.