Permaculture and Sustainable Design

The word Permaculture is derived from permanent culture and permanent culture. It is a process that shapes and looks after the land in a way that will help it to maintain itself in a fully sustainable way.

Although this was studied and presented by founder of permaculture Bill Mollison many others led the way in pioneering conservation projects and extensive permaculture design courses to bring it into modern day and produce a strong backbone for future permaculture design.

Some of the simplest and most effective methods are to simply shape the land so that water run off is slowed down considerably allowing it to be absorbed and made use of. This can be in the form of terracing cut across hills or ditches (or swales) dug into surfaces to allow them to fill up and slowly trickle over.

For residential use or to plan a sustainable permaculture design in any space zones are used to record what goes where.

Zone 1 - The kitchen garden, plants that need regular maintenance.

Zone 2 - Compost bins, animals that will need regular feeding.

Zone 3 - Plants and shrubs grow with low maintenance but still producing fruit.

Zone 4 - A wilder part of woodland but still maintained.

Zone 5 - No management is needed for this area. This will be woodland and will be the most sustainable part of the whole process. Eventually this can spread allowing you to be as self sufficient and sustainable as you wish.

There are many more methods such as aquaponics that go hand in hand with these processes and can present anyone struggling financially, suffering health problems or even looking for a cleaner lifestyle with a whole world of new opportunities.

Parts of Africa, Australia and many other deserts in the world have been transformed by the methods used in permaculture by shaping the land to hold any water that may fall and green what was once sand. It has also showed people living in third world countries ways to make the most of their surroundings and sustain it to bring consistent promise to poverty stricken regions.

Not only is it the poor that are learning these beneficial lifestyle changes but everyday city dwellers who are looking for ways to save money and water in an ever more populated city are harnessing these methods in an attempt to permanently improve their quality of life.