Design and Patterns

Nature is abundant with patterns that efficiently and delicately balance form and function. Understanding and incorporating these natural patterns is fundamental to ecological design. Patterns of natural energy (wind, water, sun, fire) actually provide guidance for how to begin your garden design. They act as a container to structure your design and channel energy flow to serve your intentions.

Permaculture design embodies the ethics and principles of earth care, people care, and sharing the surplus. Delve into the details of design methods, processes, and approaches. Expand your design toolkit to co-create regenerative landscapes with nature, building thriving ecosystems that support the highest expression of human potential.


1. Lecture 11 - Design

If you haven't considered nature's designs before, it might seem a bit chaotic. But if you look a little closer, there's an intricate, intelligent order behind the chaos. Every design in nature, from leaf distance on a branch, to animal track patterns, to wind patterns, achieves an efficient balance of form and function. Learn about different types of patterns found in nature, that can enhance permaculture design.

2. Lecture 12 - Design

Every element of design serves a purpose and performs particular functions. Weeds become friends rather than enemies, and you develop a deep, comprehensive understanding of your garden and why it works the way it does. Larry continues his lesson on aspects of ecological garden design. Learn about different space designs, plant functions, useful and edible weeds, creating community through sharing, and urban/suburban garden design methods.

4. Lecture 14 - Patterns

Practicing the art of observation brings you in closer relationship to the land. You never know what interesting things you might find! In this lesson, Jay challenges you to observe the patterns in nature and reflect or journal about their potential functions. You will then be introduced to ways in which these patterns can be and have been applied in our everyday human world.

5. Lecture 15 - Patterns

Nature is rich with patterns that serve both practical function and aesthetic form. They are so finely balanced and precisely tuned that they take on a sacred nature. Here, we'll take a look at several ubiquitious patterns that are found in nature and human cultures, and how they can apply to enhance permaculture design.

6. Lecture 16 - Design

Maps are an incredibly useful tool that can tell you an infinite number of things, including trails, topography, tides, roads, climate, zoning, sky, land use, maritime, and much more. Jay leads the class through a mapping exercise demonstrating how a map can even be used in your own home, incorporating zones and sectors.

7. Lecture 17 - Design

Overcome the frustration and overwhelm of working with new land by learning about permaculture design methods and processes. This lesson teaches the Scale of Permanence through an interactive game, as well as niche analysis, keystone species, and design process.

8. Lecture 18 - Design

How do you know what to put in your garden and why? After Jay sings the "Permaculture Song", he shows you how to gain clarity on the different elements and functions of each piece of your design by drawing a diagram of needs, inputs, yields & outputs, behaviors, characteristics, and the connections between them. Ultimately, these niche analysis tools of design can be used to look at society-level structures such as holocracy and sociocracy.

9. Lecture 19 - Bird Songs

Bird songs actually contain important information that you can tap into. Learn how to recognize five basic bird calls: 1. Song 2. Companion Call 3. Fledgling 4. Territorial Aggression 5. Alarm. Understanding bird language is one method of pattern recognition and observation that is easy for anyone to develop, demonstrating the very important, foremost permaculture principle: Observe and Interact.

10. Lecture 20 - Design

Design that serves multiple functions is efficient in its use of energy and resources including time and space. Heat from a cob oven bench can be used for 11 different things! Learn more about multi-functional designs like carbon dioxide exchange between animals and plants in a greenhouse, sunken gardens for rain catchment, green roofs, upcycled building materials, and more.