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Creating a sustainable home with Permaculture

Have you ever wondered where to locate the best veggie patch?

Wanted to create a microclimate to grow warmer climate plants or even wondered what to do with a shaded area that grows not much more than moss?

Permaculture may be your sustainable design solution.

Permaculture is essentially a design system for creating sustainable human environments. Created in Australia in the 1970’s by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren it is now recognised worldwide, being used throughout a variety of cultures and climates. Permaculture is defined by a set of principles that deals with interconnected systems of plants, animals, buildings and infrastructure (water, energy and communications) and can be used in both city and country. The core goal is to create systems that are ecologically sound and economically viable which provide for their own needs, do not exploit or pollute and are therefore sustainable in the long term.

The design principles are practical and use common sense. Principle ‘Each element performs many functions’ is a great tool on its own. Do you want a windbreak for your existing fruit trees? Why not choose an element that is also a soil conditioner, wildlife habitat, attracts bees, fire control, food or fuel? By designing and choosing elements with this in mind creates an integrated design that supports adjacent systems and provides greater benefits.

The 'Energy Efficient Planning' principle relates to locating systems that need frequent attention close to areas that you visit daily as part of your standard routine. Seedlings and herbs are best near your back door or kitchen window, where fruit trees needing minimal attention can be further away from the house. The delineation of these zones of high attention to self sufficient are a great start to the master planning of your site.

Have you heard about Permaculture?

I love that it can give a holistic connection of your home to your site. We will explore how permaculture can work for you in future blog posts, whether it be on your balcony or your suburban backyard. Happy to answer any questions that pop up too!

Till next time,


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Fiona Golding is an Architect at Live Architecture, a Warrnambool-based studio, specialising in sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes.


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