The principles and strategies outlined below detail our approach to design for projects ranging from a small one person habitat to transforming the state of Texas. As these principles are applied to a given space and need, the patterns within creation can be observed. Integrating those patterns leads us to a design that brings an abundant sustainable harvest.  

Most of the industrial world is the product of a design that is limited to the principles of visual appeal, low initial cost and ease of construction. People want an apple as quickly as possible, for the least amount of money, that will store for the longest time, and can be shipped around the world. For long term sustainability we must look past such temporal elements. We must look at how the apple affects the person who plants and tends it, the soil that incubates it, the taste buds that taste it, the body that is nourished by it, and the waste produced along the way. We go all the way back to the beginning of time to learn, then move forward to plan your actions and what they will affect in next 200 years.

  • Work with creation rather than against it.
  • Sustainability always equals profitability (if your definitions are correct).
  • Each element performs many functions.
  • Each important function is supported by many elements.
  • Be efficient in energy planning: zone, sector and slope.
  • Use biological resources.
  • Cycle energy, nutrients, resources.
  • Scale the system as the system sustains (including plant stacking and time stacking).
  • Accelerate succession and evolution.
  • Diversity; including guilds.
  • Dominion does not equal destruction.
  • Utilize edge effects.
  • Permaculture is information and imagination-intensive.
  • The problem is often the solution.
  • Make the least change for the greatest possible effect.
  • The yield of a system is theoretically unlimited (or only limited by the imagination and information of the designer).
  • Everything gardens (or modifies its environment).
  • Capture and store energy.
  • Favor living technology.
  • Sustainability = Profit. The most regenerative system yields the most diverse profit over time.
  • Design for change. Plan for changes in physical and social conditions of site and society. A successful design is dynamic, a process without end points. Design for the endless horizon.
  • Experience is a profitable yield.
  • Cultivate connectivity. Find and encourage the relationship between ecological elements of the site.
  • Favor passive energy use over active. Rely on natural energy flows and harness them with as few inputs as possible.
  • Dis-aggregate the problem. Break site challenges into pieces, address them, and then put them back together in the plans.
  • Close energy and material loops. Minimize input of resources into the system. Waste equals food for the system.
  • Align actions with local ecosystem patterns as much as possible.
  • Internalize the site’s natural history and manifest it through site development.
  • Use disturbances as opportunities and gain leverage on the site’s evolution at opportune times.
  • Capture and store water, every drop – Slow, Spread, Store, Soak.