Permaculture Design Course

We are running a Permaculture Design Course in Cape Town that will specialise in Urban Permaculture Design in the context of urban permaculture systems. Learn how to design and pattern the urban landscape to ensure resilience in the face of the coming economic crises, load shedding and scarcity by creating a abundant and independent space in the city that will serve your needs and that of your family indefinitely into the future.

The course will be hosted at a the Love Green Urban Permaculture  Project in Noordhoek with visits to many sites in the region to experience and explore what amazing people are doing with permaculture design in the city. We will be developing a site in Hout Bay as part of the course where you will have a chance to implement urban scale food forests and vegetable systems.

NEXT COURSE DATES:  22 September to 4 October 2015

Why attend a Permaculture Course?

Empower yourself and learn how to become self-sufficient in any situation. The Permaculture Design Course teaches essential skills to meet the challenges of a world beset with climate change, economic meltdown and diminishing natural resources. Learn to design regenerative human living environments that will provide for your every need in a way that benefits everything and everyone around you… A Permaculture Design Course will change your life and set you on a pathway towards health, abundance, personal freedom and economic well-being without compromising the earth or your ethics.

The Permaculture Design Course is the international standard for entry into the world of permaculture. Because Permaculture is a design system, having a working grasp of the design process is critical to successful application of permaculture in one’s life. The Permaculture Design Course specifically focuses on design by practically exploring the ethics, principles and methodology that underpin permaculture design.

The process is dynamic and fluid and mimics the processes and patterns found in the structure of nature. By applying the design process and toolbox to any situation  an elegant, appropriate and integrated living system that self-p;erpetuates will emerge. We as humans cannot separate ourselves from our environment and permaculture design concentrates this reality.

The Permaculture Design Certificate Course

The Permaculture Design Course was developed by Bill Mollison to teach principles and foundations of sustainable design. All PDC courses offered throughout the world must follow the same format to assure that the integrity of certification process is upheld.


Permaculture Education Africa’s PDC follows the original certification course developed by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren plus includes layers of process and content that are appropriate to the African context.  Our courses meets all requirements for certification. Participants that attend all sessions of this class and complete the final design project will receive Certificate of Permaculture Design.


Love Green Urban Permaculture Project in Noordhoek

Permaculture Education Africa’s courses are usually held at The Klein Karoo Sustainable Dryland Permaculture Project (KKSDPP) on the farm Berg-en-Dal. This year we are holding one in Noordhoek, which will become a regular event.

The Love Green Urban Permaculture site is a typical suburban context that Tahir and Larissa have been retrofitting since 2010. The property is off the grid and has its own electricity and water supply nested in a urban food forest that is now starting to produce. There is still much to be done before all niches in the system are filled and the system reaches maturity but at this stage it is a thriving and diverse system with a range of interesting elements and systems that can be transferred into any permaculture context.

The site will be the base for the course and will host some of the practical sessions, specifically around vertical and container gardening, cold frames and other micro strategies that are needing implementation on the site.

We will also be working at a urban site in Hout Bay, owned by Nicholas Heinamann, Director of Afristar, a permaculture based development NGO. This site is a relatively blank canvas for us to design and implement a urban food forest and vegetable production system. This will be the site of much of our practical work and we will also be travelling around the city to explore other effective applications of permaculture design in the urban context.


Permaculture is the conscious design of human living environments that are reflections of the ecological principle that underlies nature. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. Permaculture design is a system of assembling conceptual, material, and strategic components in a pattern which functions to benefit life in all its forms.

“A design is a marriage of landscape, people and skills in the context of regional society”. (Bill Mollison)

The process of permaculture design spirals through every aspect of the human endevour

Without sustainable resource management there is no possibility of a sustainable human culture. Sustainable human cultural and economic systems are built on this sustainable resource base which makes available renewable natural capital as the core and energy source for society.


Permaculture is a broad-based and holistic approach that has many applications to all aspects of life. At the heart of permaculture design and practice is a fundamental set of core values or ethic which remain constant whatever a person’s situation. These ethics are often summarized as;

CARE OF THE EARTH: Look after our planet, and everything that lives on it.

CARE OF THE PEOPLE: Look after each other.

SURPLUS SHARE: Direct all surplus resources, time, and energy towards establishing to first two ethics in the world around us so that is may transform into a healthy, abundant and peace place for all.

PROMOTE LIFE: All forms of life have a right to exist. Our efforts as designers are directed towards enhancing and promoting life in all its wonderful and diverse forms.


The core of permaculture has always been in supplying a design toolkit for human habitation. This toolkit helps the designer to model a final design based on an observation of how ecosystems interact combined with human needs and vision .

– The development of integrated systems thinking and design skills that can be applied to any situation in any part of the world. Permaculture designers will have a range of principles, ethics and skills at their disposal that can be applied to the following:

– Design of urban homesteads, farms (small or large scale), community based natural resource management systems, sustainable community development programmes, village and city design (Ecovillage and Ecocity), integrated business planning and design, design of integrated and appropriate social and legal system. It is an ideal tool for regional and local planning for NGO and government workers in all fields of sustainable development.

– Development of integrated systems management and assessment tools to bring disparate and non-communicating elements of any environment together into organic processes that self replicate and evolve.

– Discover how to turn problems into solutions.

-Retrofit by applying Permaculture ideals and methods to existing systems. (Home, office, industry, forestry, schools, etc)

– Assess systems for sustainability.

– Develop business plans based on outputs from sustainable systems.

– During the course each participant will get hands on design practice by designing a site of your choice. You will have to bring along a scale map of the property you wish to design with contour lines, and a list of relevant data (see lower down in the page) so you will effectively interact with the design tools and processes within the context of your own life’ Designing happens in small groups providing essential training in working in teams and interactive group multitasking or if you prefer on your own, depending on the context of your design. We will run through the complete design process over the duration of the course and by the end of the course you will have completed a design and be well practiced in the permaculture design process. Effective knowledge of the design process is central to permaculture and the course process ensures practical experience in the following aspects of design…

Students recording design site observations onto map layers
Presenting course work designs

Site observation

-Mapping and map overlaying

-Landscape process understanding

-Infrastructure assessment

-Resource assessment

-Response to climatic and topographic factors

-Assessment of human needs and choices

-Ecosystem health assessment

-Identification of vegetation systems and units

-Working with survey instruments

-System component analysis

-Zone and Elevational Planning

-Water infrastructure design

-Land use design

-Integration of Design Elements and systems

-Building design

-Roll out planning

-Design for community.

The design will take the form of maps, pictures, text and models. Materials for the design will be provided.

– Upon completion of the course you will be provided with an internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certificate.


Tahir Cooper, Alex Kruger and Guests….

Tahir and Alex have been practicing permaculture for 20 years. They taught together for the first time in 1995 and have trained thousands of students over the years. Through their own respective journeys into permaculture they have designed a wide range of permaculture systems ranging from small scale urban gardens, ecovillages, farms to regional level marginalised community action plans, established and managed community projects and non-governmental organisations, consulted on ecological restoration and land rehabilitation projects across the country and abroad. Alex and Tahir bring this vast experience into the PDC environment, delivering a high quality transfer of knowledge, skills and intuitive understanding of permaculture producing high standard graduate designers.

Lead facilitators Alex and Tahir


COURSE CONTENT The course runs over 14 days with a rest day. The learning process is based on Permaculture principles and makes use of a wide range of group-based and creative accelerated-learning methods.urban

We take you practically through the design process in the context of an Urban Permaculture environment, which presents a diverse range of challenges and opportunities developing design skills, knowledge and experience set that can be applied anywhere.

By working in groups you will have the opportunity to cover material that is not possible through individual work and in the process of developing a real time design that will be implemented; you will also develop essential group working skills.  Many of the techniques and methods used in implementing Permaculture systems will be covered in some detail, but the focus will be on the design process.

Students working in small groups


  • Ecology and Integrated Systems Thinking
  • Sustainable Culture versus Consumer Culture, and the Emerging Culture of Energy Descent
  • Nature of Dryland Ecosystems or Brittle Environments
  • Nature of the Urban context from a holistic design perspective
  • Understanding Patterns in Nature and designing with with them
  • What is Permaculture?
  • Ethics and principles of Permaculture
  • Design Process. Land and Ecosystem observation skills, mapping, Sector, Slope and Zone planning…
  • Ecovillage and Community Design
  • Phases of Pioneering Succession
  • Soil:
    • Analysing and understanding soil
    • Principles of soil management
    • Conditioning practices
  • Water:
    • Principles of water management
    • Broad scale holistic water catchment systems Design: Infrastructure design and management. Keyline Design and other Run-off infrastructure design strategies for dryland production.
    • Domestic water management
  • Plants: their uses and selection for environment
  • Access roads and pathway design and management
  • Animals in Permaculture (focus on small animal systems)
  • The Sustainable Home and Natural Building (Cob, Rammed Earth, Straw Bale, Adobe)
  • Natural Energy Technology (Appropriate energy and technology solutions)
  • Food Garden design and management
  • Waste recycling
  • Vertical & Container Gardens
  • Aquaculture
  • The off-grid home
  • Converting swimming pools into water storage tanks
  • Urban community gardens
  • Food Forest Design
  • Staple food systems
  • Designing for different climates
  • Holistic Management

More information to follow shortly. Watch this space…

Students enjoying planting vegetables in companion systems


This thirteen day course cost is R7500, which includes the following…

– Vegetarian lunch & teas

– Permaculture Course Manual, course materials and electronic data, & field trips.

– Accommodation costs are not included – options to be posted shortly


Because space is at a premium in the training environments we will only be taking 16 participants.

Contact us to request your booking form for the course itself via email.

Your place is confirmed ONLY on receipt of your deposit. Your deposit covers the implementation costs of the course.

Please contact us by email as this is most easily accessed by us on the farm as we have no phones in our homes or cell phone signal.  If you cannot mail, please try the number below:

(023) 614 3024 (if you get the answering machine, please leave a message)


Floating Widgets