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The concept of Permaculture (short for permanent agriculture) was developed by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in 1974 and has since found recognition and applications worldwide. Permaculture is a clever design approach to agriculture, which is based on the observations of natural systems. Its aim is a productive, sustainable system with minimum energy input, where the interaction of different elements (light, shade, wind, warmth, water, nutrients, plants, animals, ponds, buildings and infrastructure) is designed to give multiple benefits for efficient and sustainable living.

Permaculture is gaining popularity in suburban areas and on small landholdings. This web article outlines the general principles of the concept, its usefulness to natural pest, weed and disease management and some practical hints for managing your landholding.


The garden is created to maximum returns with minimal effort.

Good planning is the first step to a permaculture system. Whether you start with a new, or already established property, plan your system to suit your lifestyle and ambitions. Your local permaculture society may be of assistance for professional advice and information material.

If designing a new house, the permaculture concept encourages ‘passive solar’ designs, which means a well insulated house with big windows facing north. The active areas (living, kitchen, dining) are on the north side and the sleeping areas on the cooler south side. Eaves and slat design can enable the changing angle of the sun in summer and winter to shade the hot north side in summer but allow solar heating in winter.

With this approach the addition of a thermal mass (brick or rock wall or water tanks) along the northern windows will act as heat storage and help moderate temperature changes inside.

Permaculture designs aim to integrate house and land. Deciduous trees or vines planted on the north side of a house provide summer shade but allow the sun in during winter.

Hot and shade houses can be attached to the house for food and seedlings production, and the difference in temperature between the hot and shade house may generate an air flow which assists in climate modification in the home.