Creating a Backyard Permaculture

Gardening has long been a cherished activity, allowing individuals to reconnect with nature and cultivate their own little piece of paradise. However, as our understanding of ecological systems deepens, a more holistic and sustainable approach to gardening has emerged.

Below Huw Richards gives us his breakdown:

Permaculture, a design philosophy rooted in ecological principles, offers gardeners a transformative way to create thriving ecosystems that harmonize with nature while yielding bountiful harvests.

Below we delve into the world of permaculture techniques, exploring how gardeners can apply them to design and nurture flourishing gardens.


Understanding Permaculture: Foundations and Principles:

Permaculture, a term derived from “permanent agriculture” or “permanent culture,” was coined by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the 1970s.

It is a philosophy that embraces the idea of designing human systems in a way that mimics the patterns and relationships found in natural ecosystems.

At its core, permaculture seeks to create regenerative and self-sustaining environments that meet human needs while fostering ecological health.

Central to Permaculture are its 12 guiding principles (for a more in-depth look you can read this article)

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:

6. Produce No Waste

7. Design from Patterns to Details

8. Integrate Rather than Segregate

9. Use Small and Slow Solutions

10. Value Diversity


Applying Permaculture Techniques in Your Backyard

If you’d like to see an example breakdown with a video example of how to build a food forest in your backyard you can read this article

We’ve broken down the steps to applying permaculture techniques in your backyard.

1. Polyculture Planting: Unlike traditional monoculture, where a single crop dominates a space, permaculture promotes polyculture—mixing different plant species together. This discourages pests and diseases while optimizing resource use.


2. Companion Planting: Certain plants have natural affinities that benefit each other when grown in proximity. For example, interplanting beans with corn and squash creates the famous “Three Sisters” guild, where the crops support each other through symbiotic relationships. I plan to create a whole page on companion planting in the near future, so please do keep an eye out.

3. Hugelkultur: This technique involves creating raised beds filled with decomposing wood and organic matter. As the wood breaks down, it releases nutrients, retains moisture, and enhances soil structure. I’ve written an indepth article on this that can be found here.

4. Keyhole Gardens: Circular raised beds with a small notch or keyhole, keyhole gardens maximize planting space while providing easy access to the center for maintenance and harvesting.

5. Sheet Mulching: Also known as lasagna gardening, this involves layering organic materials like cardboard, compost, and straw to suppress weeds, retain moisture, and build fertile soil.

6. Vertical Gardening: Growing plants vertically, whether on trellises or walls, maximizes space and light utilization. This is especially useful in small gardens. We recently wrote an article on How to Grow Zucchini Vertically as a great example of how to get started.

7. Guilds and Food Forests: Emulating the structure of a natural forest, a food forest incorporates different layers of vegetation, from tall trees to ground covers. Guilds are supportive plant communities that enhance each other’s growth and productivity. We touch on this in another article in more depth: Designing Your Dream Permaculture Food Forest in California

8. Animal Integration: Introducing animals like chickens, ducks, or bees to the garden ecosystem can contribute to pest control, pollination, and nutrient cycling.

Permaculture offers a groundbreaking approach to gardening that goes beyond mere cultivation—it’s about nurturing interconnected, sustainable ecosystems that thrive in harmony with the environment. How to Start a Permaculture Homestead (with Videos!)

By applying the principles and techniques of permaculture, gardeners can embark on a journey towards creating resilient, productive, and truly thriving gardens that give back to both humans and the planet.

One response to “Creating a Backyard Permaculture”

  1. […] Hopefully these are are ideas that you can take forward and build your own permaculture in your backyard. […]

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