What is Permaculture? Embracing the Permaculture System on Your Farm

Have you ever wanted to create a garden that is sustainable, produces no waste, and is benefitted from the natural ecosystem? Then permaculture gardening is what you need.

Permaculture is about designing agricultural ecosystems that are sustainable and self-sufficient. It is founded on ecological principles and strives to develop productive, effective, and resilient systems.

Permaculture has five main zones: the house, the garden, the orchard, the farm, and the wilderness. Each zone has a different purpose and is managed differently.

But before we dig into the details of permaculture gardening, let’s discover what permaculture is!

What is Permaculture?

Permaculture is like natural ecosystems that can be designed and used to develop sustainable human habitats.

The word permaculture is a combined form of permanent agriculture and was first coined by Australian ecologist Bill Mollison in 1978.

The three ethical pillars of permaculture are:

  1. Caring for the land
  2. Providing for people
  3. Sharing the surplus.

These principles are applied to design systems that are efficient and sustainable.

“The Permaculture Principles” by Oregon State University Ecampus on YouTube.

The Core Principles of Permaculture

There are many different ways to approach permaculture, but some core principles remain the same no matter what permaculture design you are undertaking. These core principles are:

Observe and Interact

This means getting to know your environment and understanding how it works before you start to change it.

You need to be observant and patient to learn about the patterns and relationships in your natural ecosystem.

Catch and Store Energy

This principle is about using renewable resources and making the most of your resources. You can do this by harvesting rainwater, using solar energy, or growing your own food.

Produce No Waste

In a permaculture system, nothing is wasted since everything has a purpose. You may, for instance, make compost from your kitchen waste for your garden. 

Design from Nature

Nature is incredibly efficient, and permaculture design aims to imitate these patterns. Companion planting or community gardens, which involves growing several plants together because they have mutually beneficial effects, is one method for implementing this.

Integrate Rather than Segregate

In nature, everything is connected – there are no isolated systems. Permaculture design seeks to mimic this by creating systems where different elements work together to benefit the whole.

For example, integrating chickens into your vegetable garden beds can help control pests while providing fresh eggs.

Use Small and Slow Solutions

Big projects often have unintended consequences, so it’s best to start small and scale slowly.

This principle also applies to time – it’s better to take your time and do things right than to rush into something you might regret later.

Use Edge Effects

The edges of an ecosystem are often more productive than the middle – think of the edge of a forest where there is more sunlight and more variety of plants than in the interior.

In permaculture design, we can use this principle by planting things like fruit trees along the edge of our property, where they will get more sun than if they were in the middle.

Use Biological Resources

Biological resources are living organisms that can be used for various purposes, such as growing food, fuel, or medicine.

Using biological resources instead of synthetic ones helps to close the loop in our ecosystems and makes them more self-sufficient.

What is Permaculture Gardening?

Permaculture gardening incorporates elements of both organic gardening and traditional gardening, with an emphasis on sustainability.

These gardens are solely based on the permaculture concept, designed to be self-sufficient to provide for the gardener’s needs with minimal input.

To start with a permaculture garden, you won’t need any heavy equipment or supplies. You will only require land to make your garden and regular planting supplies.

One may also include their home backyard or balcony in the permaculture garden design. After all, it’s all about how you manage the farm and produce healthy food within a sustainable agriculture system.

To help you get started on permaculture gardening, below we discuss the details about how to work on a permaculture garden design.

How to Start a Permaculture Garden

The best gardening idea for landowners to work on is a permaculture garden. In order to preserve the local ecosystem stream, these gardens are simple to create and maintain.

But what supplies will you need? What steps do you need to follow? Here’s everything you need to know.

What you need

Quality topsoil or compost

Organic matter such as; green manure crops, wood chips, leaves

Some plant perennials or annual seeds

Step – 1: Set a Design

Permaculture gardens are planned with definite objectives in mind. Think about what you want to use your garden for – food production, habitat creation, or both – and design accordingly.

Step – 2: Fix a Location

The first step in starting any garden is finding the perfect spot. A spot that receives at least six hours of sunlight each day and has well-drained soil would be best.

Step – 3: Prepare the Soil

Try sheet mulching, also called lasagna gardening, to improve the soil’s fertility. All you will need is to add organic matter to the soil i.e., compost, manure, or leaf mold.

It’s best to include as much organic material as you can!

Step – 4: Select Plants to Grow

You can plant anything, but some common permaculture plants include fruit trees, vegetables, herbs, and flowers.

Consider their growth habits, root structure, and needs for water and light.

Step – 5: Observe and Care

Permaculture gardens require less maintenance than traditional gardens, but they still need some care.

Be prepared to observe them from time to time and water, weed, and mulch regularly.

“Permaculture For Beginners!” by Perma Pastures Farm on YouTube.


Permaculture is the science, art, philosophy, and practice of working with, rather than against, nature.

It is an approach to sustainability that can be applied to everything from designing your home and urban setup to growing your own food.

If you’re thinking about starting a garden, try these strategies and create a permaculture garden for the good of both you and the environment.

Frequently Asked Questions about Permaculture and Permaculture Gardening

What is the concept of permaculture?

Permaculture is about designing agricultural ecosystems that are sustainable and self-sufficient. 

It is founded on ecological principles and strives to develop productive, effective, and resilient systems. The objective is to satisfy human needs while protecting and regenerating the natural world.

Permaculture design principles can be applied to all aspects of human habitation, including food production, housing, energy consumption, waste management, and economic systems.

What is an example of permaculture?

Examples include structures that encourage outdoor plant life, balcony or backyard native plants garden, and environmentally friendly energy-saving measures like installing systems for gray recycling water.

What are the five zones in permaculture?

Permaculture has five main zones: the house, the garden, the orchard, the farm, and the wilderness. Each zone has a different purpose and is managed differently.

What’s the difference between agriculture and permaculture?

In agriculture, the land is managed primarily to produce crops, to maximize yield. This often involves monocropping, heavy machinery, and chemical inputs.

Permaculture is a more holistic land management approach to creating a sustainable and self-sufficient ecosystem.

How do I start a permaculture garden from scratch?

To start a permaculture garden from scratch, the first step is to assess your site and develop a design.

Once you have a design, you must prepare the site by clearing any existing vegetation and amending the soil as necessary.

Then you can then begin planting your permaculture garden and care for them using permaculture principles, such as mulching and companion planting.

How do I turn my lawn into a permaculture garden?

You must first assess your soil to convert your lawn into permaculture gardens. You can plant your desired plants if you have good-quality soil.

How much does it cost to start a permaculture farm?

Depending on the size and breadth of the operation, beginning a permaculture farm might cost various amounts. However, some basic costs are associated with any permaculture farm. These include the cost of land, seeds, and labor.

By Zoe Smith

My name is Zoe. I'm the Editor here at Urban Farm Store. I'm completely in love with our farm and my cute little garden! I hope to make the world a better place by minimising my own impact on the environment. Let me teach you how!

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