The 12 Principles of Permaculture

Understanding the 12 design principles of Permaculture is essential for anyone who wishes to adopt and implement this creative design process. While Permaculture may be applied to virtually any ecology, the techniques and strategies used to do this may vary according to the circumstances. However, the 12 principals can serve as a basic guide in applying this gardening method universally.

Observe and Interact

The first step is to observe the local environment for the length of a year, in order to gain a better understanding of the weather patterns and other crucial details. Taking note of the particular characteristics that make a site unique is also part of the process.

Princples of Permaculture 2

Catch and Store Energy

The next principle is to capture the unique energy of a site, in order to rely less on drawing from outside influences. This means harnessing the natural elements that may contribute to growth, such as sunlight and rainwater

Obtain a Yield

Growing as much as possible at a site is always optimal. However, the rewards yielded from a garden may not always be as tangible as food; they might also include the other benefits afforded to the community that depends on a garden for food (such as wisdom passed along through the generations).

Permaculture Yield
Permaculture Adjustment

Apply Self-Regulation and Respond to Feedback

Accepting responsibility for action is paramount to the success of the process. Only in accepting feedback can certain patterns be redirected for the better. Self-examination and self-regulation are vital to the Permaculture concept of making improvements to the current environment.

Use Renewable Resources

Using renewable resources is critical to the sustainable environment. This concept might be applied to energy, conservation of the soil, cultivating perennial crops, and saving seeds. Once certain plants are no longer productive, their remaining materials might be used to help produce other types of plants.

Permaculture Compost
No Waste with Permaculture

Produce No Waste

Wasting any resources is not a practice in accordance with the basic principles of permaculture. Anything that can be reused or recycled should be treated as such. Composting completes the circle of life and growth in the context of a garden.

Design From Patterns to Details

The successful patterns in nature should be emulated whenever possible. Taking examples from nature – whether from the direct environment or from other sites – is generally a solid and sustainable strategy for success.

Nature and Permaculture

Integrate Rather Than Segregate

Instead of separating the components of a garden, the Permaculture principles reflect the concept of companion gardening. When various plants are positioned together, they may grow in cooperation instead of in competition with each other. This creates a more balanced and functional ecosystem.

Use Small and Slow Solutions

By working to create more resilient ecosystems, the quick payoff is exchanged for the more viable, long-term solution. Yields may not be as fast when a garden is first being developed, but the output will slowly and steadily increase over time.

Yield of Permaculture
permaculture garden

Use and Value Diversity

Applying the element of diversity to a garden makes sense because it makes the garden less vulnerable to dangers such as pests and disease. If some of the plants at a garden site are negatively affected by a specific factor, a diverse garden should not be completely destroyed by this development.

Use the Edges

When a Permaculture garden is being designed, every inch of space that can be used should be utilized. If the space at a site is maximized, then the potential for maximum growth is fostered. This principle might not work well in a traditional garden, but it is ideal for a sustainable Permaculture environment.

Garden of Permaculture
Changes in Permaculture

Creatively Use and Respond to Change

Change is undeniable in nature, and this should be embraced by the Permaculture gardener. All of the factors that work well one year may not result in a successful garden in the next year. Using and learning from the inevitable changes to an ecosystem will help to create an even stronger garden.