Back to those grade 8 math problems. Except this time imagine that the X represents the who, what, when, where, and how of designing and managing your property wishlist into reality:

Solve for x:

1 + 1 + x = y

Can you solve this equation?

The answer is NO.

You can’t solve for x if you don’t know your y.

Said another way….

You can’t solve for x if you don’t know your WHY.

Designing and managing land is no different than trying to solve a math problem. If you have more than 1 variable it is impossible to solve the equation.


In all of our consulting work and in all the questions we ask our clients, this is by far the most important question and always the first question.

If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favorable. ~Seneca

All of the who, what, when, where, and how are the elements, techniques, and tools of land design and management.

They are the details.

The means to an end, not the end itself.

If you have not defined that end, if you have not clarified your vision, values, and resources, how will you know which direction to start out your journey, or how will you even know if you ever made it to port?


Step One of our land design process consists of 3 exercises that it will help you to figure out your “y”:

  1. Create a detailed inventory of your current forms of capital that you own or have access to. E.g. land, animals, money, friends, skills, tools
  2. Create a list of your fundamental values. E.g. financial freedom, privacy, nutrient dense food, community,
  3. Create qualitative statements about the future vision you have for your resources so that can meet your fundamental values. E.g. We are resilient in the face of global fragility; we are surrounded by a community that supports us and bring us joy.

Once you have clarified your values, your current resources, and your ideal vision for those resources so that you can meet your fundamental values it is easy to solve for the last variable.


Solve for x:

1 + 1 + x = y

(No possible solution)


Solve for x:

Know Values +

Known Resources –

Know Vision = x

(Where x = who, what, where, when & how)

Ironically, Step 1 of our process is about addition through subtraction.

It’s purpose is to constrain the infinite number of design and management variables and possibilities available to you down to a select few options that are a fit between what values and resources you have so that you can start make informed decisions instead of random shots in the dark.

Get started with the action items above and you’ll be well on your way to designing the property of your dreams. Watch out for our next email, which is about the diagnosis (it’s kinda like visiting the doctor!).



Rob & Takota

p.s If you missed our first email about the importance of process, you can get caught up here

p.p.s To some, sailing across the pacific ocean might seem more daunting than managing land, but far more property owners sink on their voyage towards their vision. If you feel like you need a life raft…


Hit the button below to inquire about a custom solution or program for you & your land…


Twelve-week group guided session (online), start in the Spring and Fall.


Don’t hesitate to call us (403-770-9789) or request a callback below.


Start typing and press Enter to search