Permaculture: Back to Basics

Are you about to venture into creating your own stunning and highly beneficial permaculture garden? Go back to basics and let nature do most of the groundwork. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind as you trudge dig in…
Often people’s interest in permaculture is purely inspired by aesthetics and influenced by conventional gardening principles such as colour, light, function and privacy. It is understandable that you would want to retreat to a beautiful space – but resist the pull to make it only about this aspect of gardening.

What is Permaculture?

The term “permaculture” was coined in the 1970s, a contraction of the words “permanent” and “agriculture”. The word permanent highlights sustainability; the idea of an ecosystem taking care of itself. Agriculture is mainly about growing food. Permaculture principles have come to include a cultural component as well as bringing together building design and energy generation to social and economic systems.

More Than Beauty

The conventional approach to gardening often doesn’t do a great job in designing a permaculture garden that mirrors an ecosystem. Your garden should form part of the integrated system within your environment. It should stimulate biodiversity, clean the soil and filter water consistently throughout the year to improve not just the health of your space but contribute to surrounding nature, such as attracting pest-eating birds.

Make It Easy

It is important to design a garden in such a way that it doesn’t always require your input and attention, but that it effectively takes care of itself, as nature intended. Permaculture enthusiasts tend to impose plants, herbs and designs that, in essence, would work better in another space or climate purely because they are in-trend at the time, whereas one should instead choose plants that flourish effortlessly in the garden’s natural form. The emphasis is on working with nature, not to conquer it.


If you want your garden to effectively imitate nature, first take a step back see what’s already there. Instead of jumping in with a preconceived idea of what you envision your garden to look like. You’ll get a much better understanding of its cycles and the type of life it encourages over a few seasons. For example, if you have a low spot in your garden that is prone to seasonal wetness, put in a tree or plant that either filters the soil or enjoys wet conditions.

Natural Design

In nature nothing is lost – there is no waste. For your garden to mimic this principle, you need to consider each plant, design or elements needed and yielded to ensure that all aspects of your space function harmoniously in nature to ensure that the space requires as little upkeep from you as possible.
If you need more tips on sustainable gardens and permaculture check the Oaklands Country Manor blog regularly.