Creating a Permaculture Design: A Step by Step Guide

First off, it’s important to note that Permaculture is a theory of ecological design which seeks to develop sustainable human settlements and agricultural systems, by attempting to model them on  natural ecosystems.

May 2011, I received my permaculture Design Certificate, via the Permaculture Institute USA, which is a non-profit organization founded by Bill Mollison and Scott Pittman in 1996.  *For more details on this certification, follow this link:

As part of the certification course, I worked with a team of 3 other students to create a permaculture design for a local business, by completing a number of specific steps assigned to us by our instructor Doug Crouch of TreeYo Permaculture.

Although this project was primarily for learning purposes, our client was very pleased, and actually plans to use many of our design ideas.  *The steps we followed provide a nice framework for permaculture design, and I will use them as a reference as I create a design for Rukmapura Park Hotel;  they are as follows:


1. Visit the site for first impressions. (Take notes and photos).

2.  Consider the ethics and principles of permaculture. (Keep them in mind as you begin to form ideas.)

3. Create a goal outline.  (What is the scenario? *What is your vision?)

4. Create a goal statement.  (What will the fully implemented design provide?)

5.  Do a functional analysis of design elements. (For every design element, consider its products, behaviors, needs, and intrinsic characteristics.)

6. Ask pertinent questions about design elements. (For example:  What kind of soil does a particular plant like? –What are some companion plants? –How much sunlight does it need?)

7. Make an overall observation and interpretation.   (What is there already? –What can be done with/to it?)

8. Identify local resources.  (What community and economic resources are available to help with your design and mission for the site?  *These might include markets, farms, restaurants, schools, sawmills, breweries, dumps, etc.)

9.   Come up with a design concept.  (What transformations will be taking place?)

10.  Create a schematic design.  (Make sketches and bubble diagrams that focus on the functions of design elements and the relationships that exist between them. *Permaculture ethics and principles, as well as on and off-site resources, and social, environmental, and financial obstacles serve as a sieve for ideas.)

11. Begin your Master Plan.  (Decide what elemets will definitely be used and grown within the landscape, and how to place them in such a way that they are most beneficial to the enitire system.)

12. Draw up the Final Design.  (create an accurate, to-scale map of the final design which depicts the size, shape and location of the patches and elements that we laid out in our schematic design.)

 13. Determine phases of implementation.  (1 – 2 years, 3 – 5 years, 6 – 10 years, 10 – 25 year plan) —Create a written document explaining how the design will evolve over the years.  Include strategies for planting (succession),  sequential installation of elements,  and construction projects.  Also address needs and upkeep and how to meet these needs.  Finally, come up with a plan for evaluation (a way to determine the progress and evolution of the site).

LAST:  Present the design to your client.

Gallery | This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Creating a Permaculture Design: A Step by Step Guide

  1. Diana Krystofiak says:

    Are you working on steps 10 through 13 (14) for your senior project? Will you send your summative paper for the end of your internship? You are officially finished with your internship on the 15th.

  2. Also, sent the summative paper via email two days ago…. And just sent it again 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s