Permaculture for The Suburbs

Let’s discuss permaculture and how it's used in Canberra suburban gardens.

What is permaculture?

It's a design system that mimics natural ecosystems. Used to create a low-maintenance, self-contained, productive and permanent human supporting system.

It's based on the fundamental ethics of care for the earth, care for people, and return the surplus to both.

There are 12 permaculture principles.

Permaculture Principals.

Permaculture Principals.

  1. Observe and interact.
  2. Catch and store energy.
  3. Obtain a yield.
  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback.
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services.
  6. Produce no waste.
  7. Design from patterns to details.
  8. Integrate rather than segregate.
  9. Use small and slow solutions.
  10. Use and value diversity.
  11. Use edges and value the marginal. 
  12. Creatively use and respond to change.

A designer, guided by these ethics and principles and the Permaculture design system. Uses observation and analysis to design/re-design your property to match your needs and wants.

Strategies to do this could include recycling, water harvesting, polycultures and perennials, organic gardening, animal systems, season extension and fertility building.

Accompanying each strategy are techniques that combined into beneficial relationships that form a resilient web of productivity for your garden. 

Some of these techniques could include: 

  • Food forests.
  • Greenhouses.
  • Companion planting.
  • Raised garden beds and vertical gardens.
  • Wicking beds.
  • Keyhole gardens.
  • Herb spirals.
  • Grey water wetlands.
  • Swales and paths. 
  • Worm farms and composting.
  • Rain tanks or barrels.
  • Bee’s and other beneficial insects.
  • Chickens systems.

By using this system a permaculture designer can design a functional, productive eco-system that is perfectly suited for you and your needs in your own yard.

What are the benefits?

There are many benefits of a permaculture designed garden:

Fresh nutritious and delicious home grown food.

Fresh nutritious and delicious home grown food.

  • Fresher, more nutritious and more delicious than supermarket produce.
  • Low maintenance.
  • Highly productive, have enough to share with your friends.
  • Multi-functional.
  • Less reliance on nonrenewable resources.
  • Less waste going into landfill.
  • Lower water bills.
  • Self-sufficiency.
  • Connection to nature, your own private refuge.

How can I get a design done? 

You could learn about permaculture and do your own design, there are many courses to choose from. Starting with the ‘Introduction to Permaculture’ course or there’s a two-week intensive called a 'Permaculture Design Certificate'. There are also many books and online resources available.

If you’d rather have a design done for you, hire a professional permaculture designer with experience in your local area.

When should it be done?

A permaculture design can be done anytime, however, it’s a good idea to have one done before you make any big decisions about your property. It’s easier to move forward if you have a good plan for how your garden will end up.

There’s no better way to enjoy and benefit from nature in your own suburban yard than with permaculture garden.