Permaculture, What Is It?

Maybe you’ve heard the term permaculture.  What is this, you’re probably wondering.  Well, permaculture is a design discipline, like landscape design, architecture, or graphic design.  It is the application of a specific set of principles to the design process.  There are also specific techniques involved in the process.  The main difference between permaculture and other design framework is that the focus is ecological restoration and/or the establishment of self-supporting ecological systems on a site.

One of the things that’s exciting about this is that this design discipline can be applied to any size property or landscape.  Over the almostimage: permaculture, what is it? 16 years that I have been a professional permaculture designer, I’ve created ecological outdoor living spaces that have ranged from a suburban side yard to a fifty-five acre rural acreage sloping from mountains to riverfront.  The key in my approach is always to restore the functional capacity of a site, no matter what size or condition it is in.

Most people have a sense that their yard could be improved, but most don’t know that the problems they are experiencing with it are due to the landscape being degraded.  This is often not their fault.  Previous owners may have added pesticides or damaged the soil with tilling.  Most sites in Southern California suffer from drought.

For this example, from the perspective of permaculture what is seen by the mainstream as drought causing problems is actually drought caused by landscape mismanagement.  I’ll say that again.  Drought is caused by landscape mismanagement.  We know trees attract rain.  See my post about desert permaculture for further details.  A student of my Aesthetic Ecology workshop series shared a photo of this from a trip he took across the U.S. which clearly showed clouds collecting over the only trees in the vicinity.  Most folks might not notice anything special in this image, but the correlation is obvious to those of us who nerd out to this stuff. 🙂

In Permaculture, What Is Most Important?

There are other aspects of course to what permaculture addresses in the landscape.  But this gives you an idea of how in permaculture what is normally overlooked by traditional designers is of primary importance.  When you consider whether to go with a permaculture designer versus a traditional company, ask yourself whether you prefer more of an ornamental landscape or an ecological outdoor space.  A traditional plan often uses plants and hardscape (nonliving) elements focused on looks without functional considerations.

Eco-Logic specializes in combining landscape architecture with permaculture design, which allows us to provide master planning incorporating aesthetically-pleasing yards that fit within existing neighborhoods while restoring a landscape’s ecological function.  This benefits the home or building owner by reducing electricity, water, and maintenance costs.  Learn more about the benefits of permaculture to YOUR specific property by getting a free written strategy and estimate HERE.