Permaculture.  Interesting word – Ecofriendly living!  So, what is it?  I decided to find out – WOW!  I opened the door to a whole new perspective and a potential life-long journey!

Permaculture Institute, Permaculture Principles,  a trailer video of a documentary in the works called “INHABIT – A PERMACULTURE PERSPECTIVE” (by Costa Boutsikaris) and an Organic Gardening article wet my appetite to learn more!

Permaculture can be a lot of things.  It’s a lifestyle.  A few permaculture ideas that caught my attention:

  • Let nature be your teacher in designing your permaculture forests and gardens.
  • Mimic the natural patterns you see in nature to provide for the greatest diversity of plants.
  • An approach to finding solutions for sustainability in all our undertakings.
  • Design natural homes.
  • Design abundant food production systems.
  • Incorporate backyard animals in a sustainable way.
  • Build and preserve biodiversity to protect wildlife, pollinators, soil invertebrates.
  • Regenerate degraded landscapes and ecosystems.
  • Harvest rainwater.
  • Permaculture focuses on the interconnections between things more than the individual parts.
  • Permaculture combines the best of natural landscaping and edible landscaping.

Organic Gardening provides some practical guidelines for developing a permaculture design:

1. Copy nature’s blueprint and enhance it with useful plants and animals.  Mimic the natural patterns you see in nature to provide for the greatest diversity of plants.  Picture a forest with its layers of vegetation from the tall trees down to the smallest plants.

2. Arrange plants into “guilds” of plants that work well together.  For example, pine trees with dogwoods with blueberry bushes for a guid for acid soil.


3. Make use of native plants adapted to the site.  Plan for diversity.

4. Divide your yard into zones based on use.  Place heavily used features, such as an herb garden, in the most accessible zones.

5. Identify microclimates in your yard and use them appropriately.  For example: try sun-loving herbs like creeping thyme on rocky outcroppings; plant elderberries in poorly drained spots.


I admit…it’s a journey to learn about permaculture and incorporate it into my suburban landscape.  But I do know it’s going to be fun to try!  If I wet your appetite to learn more, you might check out Gaia’s Garden Book, The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach, and Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist: How to Have Your Yard and Eat It Too.


Photo Credits:  Lawn by Peter Kaminski; Abundant garden by Ruth and Dave;

Bluberry by Muffet; Creeping Thyme by Andrea_44; Elderberries by David~O

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