The aim is to create systems that are ecologically sound and economically viable, which provide for their own needs, do not exploit or pollute, and are therefore sustainable in the long term. Permaculture uses the inherent qualities of plants and animals combined with the natural characteristics of landscapes and structures to produce a life-supporting system for city and country, using the smallest practical area.
Originally coined by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the 1970’s, permaculture is a way of providing for life’s necessities, which also respects nature. While there are many kinds of activities that are considered to be “permaculture”, the term itself refers to an overall design approach guided by a number of ethics and principles. It is through the application of these principles that an activity becomes permaculture. Where gardening and landscaping are concerned, permaculture is about creating relationships that enable a landscape to be self-sustaining and low-maintenance.
Features of a permaculture-designed landscape could include a rainwater catchment system, sheet mulched garden beds, or a solar thermal greenhouse. In the case of the latter, it is a system which allows for temperature regulation without the use of fossil fuels. Some of the features that make this possible include barrels of water to capture and retain heat, air vents to regulate temperature (located at ground level and up above, to move air via convection), and a fish pond to provide CO2, which feeds the plants. By storing energy, reducing waste and making the most out of renewable resources, these activities further contribute to creating a permacultture landscape.
To some people permaculture is just plain common sense. It’s about making the most of what’s around you to work with nature, instead of against it. For example, if there is an area of your yard that is often soggy or pools water: consider installing a holding pond, or water-loving plant varieties instead of fighting tooth and nail to dry it out. By accepting the uniqueness of a landscape, recognizing its strengths and opportunities and taking advantage of these to turn problems into solutions, permaculturists create gardens that are both self-sustaining and in-synch with nature.
Contact us today to book your consultation and learn more about how permaculture can be integrated into your landscape.