Permaculture Education Africa Design Services


We design or run assisted full designs on any scale applied to any environment.

We have 25 years’ experience in permaculture design from small-scale urban applications to Ecovillage, and Farm Design.


Design of specific land use systems such as…

  • Food Forests
  • Food Garden systems
  • Earth Restoration Programs for degraded land
  • Designing of the Sustainable Off- Grid Home
  • Wind Breaks and Living Barriers

These complexity of these modular services depends on the circumstances of the site (urban or rural) and a rollout plan needs to determined at an initail site scoping visit. During the visit the facilitator will assess the potentials and challenges inherent the site and the client request. We will then sit down with you and work out an appropriate approach.


A full scale permaculture design is a powerful planning and communication tool that saves countless mistakes, endless uneccessary costs and enables a development framework that will lead you and your site into long-term sustainability.


The approach taken by the facilitation team towards a full scale of permaculture design of any site is an integrated and participatory one involving in the very least the primary stakeholder of the site in question.

What this means is that you and or your partners will actually undertake the design under supervision of the design facilitator rather than the facilitator doing the design for you. The reasoning behind this approach is manifold.

  • Experience has shown us over the years that unless the client is at the centre of the design process and co-creating every step of the way, the chances of a realistic and effective design emerging that the client can himself or herself implement and manage are slim.
  • It is our intention to empower people rather than to develop dependency on us for the future realization of the design. The skills and knowledge set that emerge from such an approach are life changing and invaluable in every aspect of existence to make them essential. Permaculture is a complete and holistic approach to sustainable ecosystemic living; it is not just about growing things ecologically.
  • The costs involved in hiring design consultants to do anything other than a very basic design are prohibitive and most clients are unable to afford them as well as taking funds away from the real needs of developing a permaculture system. In other words, we are doing our best to make the process of design and establishment of a permaculture system as cost effective as possible. This is the most cost effective approach to take.
  • The actual process of designing a permaculture system requires local knowledge and a strong presence on the design site and this is not something the facilitators are able to provide or undertake. Design takes time as it is information based and that information accumulation is directly related to observing and interacting with the site on a daily basis and the general impact and effect that this has on the clients thinking and vision. This is impossible for the facilitator to do. You are the best designer for your site.
  • Thus, we have established a four-phase design process that will by its completion ensure a high quality, appropriate and effective design that has every chance of succeeding, as well as a highly capacitated client who has the requisite knowledge/skill set and tool box to fully enter a permaculture way of life.
  • The completed design process is regarded as a PERMACULTURE DESIGN INTERNSHIP by Permaculture Education Africa , and we issue the client with a certificate upon the completion of the design. The design itself can then be form the basis of a submission towards a Permaculture Diploma with a variety of Organisations that issue them (based in the UK and the US).
Each of the four phases of the design process are modular, meaning they are complete steps towards design, enabling the client move forward on their own without further participation by the facilitator at the end of any of the phases, if you so choose.


1 Day visit to the site by the facilitator to undertake a cursory site assessment and meet the client. The facilitator spends the day with the client with the purpose of achieving the following…

  • Undertaking an overall site observation in order to gain understanding of local climate, topography, vegetation patterns, soils & geology, site water patterns and availability, previous land-use patterns, title deed based servitudes and cadastral boundaries, major site challenges and opportunities, existing infrastructure, site based available resources, access infrastructure, wildlife and indigenous ecosystem health and surrounding influences on the site.
  • To meet all stakeholders, to distil a basic lifestyle and land-use vision, and to assess available skill and knowledge sets relevant to establishing a permaculture system on site, and to highlight areas of further appropriate skills and knowledge development required.
  • To develop a cursory, broad design strategy that will open the way forward for the main design.


A Scoping report that constitutes a basic summary of the day’s findings and suggestions towards a long-term design. This report is accompanied with a relevant appendix and a broad land-use map.


  • Facilitation fee of R350 per hour
  • Travel costs of R3.50 per kilometer
  • Vegetarian midday meal provided.
  • If the site is more than R350 km from Montagu then board and lodging overnight is provided.
  • The client covers all material costs (site maps and any other pre-arranged resources required for the visit).
  • Payment is made upon receiving the Scoping Report.



If the client does not hold a recognized Permaculture Design Course Certificate (PDC) or Applied Permaculture Training  (APT) Certificate,  then it is suggested that they attend a Permaculture Design Course run by Permaculture Education Africa at one of their training sites, either in Ladismith, Montagu or Cape Town (see this website for course details and dates).  This course should be completed before any further undertakings towards design on the site begins. The reasoning here is that the process of permaculture design is highly specialized, technical and requires a good grounding in permaculture theory, concepts, and above all a thorough understanding of the design process and all the concepts , principles and techniques involved. The process taught on the course is the same as used by the facilitator in supervising the clients own design and has been developed over 20 years of collective experience in design by members of Permaculture Education Africa. This level of information is difficultly to acquire and assimilate through reading and via the internet research. Without the requisite knowledge and design skills on the part of the client, effective permaculture design of the site and the follow up implementation and management of the permaculture system are challenging.


A recognized high quality Permaculture Design Course Certificate that is required globally as the entry into permaculture practice and in any commercial and teaching endeavor that uses the name permaculture.

This is the first step in permaculture design and emerges from the principle of Observe and Interact. This phase gathers all the relevant stakeholder, site based, regional and legal data that informs the design.


After completion of the PDC the client receives all the relevant reading and process guidelines in digital format from the supervisor. The client then in conjunction with the facilitator decides on a time frame for phase completion and the client begins their observations and interactions. Feedback and results are sent to the facilitator at the end of each stage in the observation process for review and feedback. The facilitator provides feedback via inputs into the observation documents and via Skype conversations. The following is a checklist that illustrates the stages of observation.

Observation Assessment Visit

Facilitator visits the site to do final assessment of results of observation phase in the context of the site and to shape out and work through the Design Phase process that follows. This is an opportunity for the facilitator and client to discuss and assess the range of design possibilities that have emerged from the selected Observation Data.


A complete data set that suggests the structure and content of the design forms the basis for all the major decisions taken. Good design is a synergistic marriage between landscape realities and the needs and vision of the people living on it. From this platform the design is developed via the design phase process

The facilitator provides digital data pack to assist the client in the following Design Phase.

The client then in conjunction with the facilitator decides on a time frame for the design phase completion and the client begins their designing.

The final phase of the design process is an emergent multimedia based representation of the real-time design. The design itself consists of a series of hand drawn or software constructed maps (if client is familiar with CAD based software), software based mind maps (software provided) and a digital design document created in either word or powerpoint.


Feedback and results are sent to the facilitator at the end of each stage in the design process for review and feedback. The facilitator provides feedback via inputs into the design documents and via Skype conversations.

 Final Design Assessment Visit

Facilitator visits the site to assess the final design in the context of the site and to provide feedback and suggest any further changes. The facilitator and client take the opportunity to map out the implementation phase.


A Multimedia design that becomes the primary guideline for future developments of the site. No implementation ever truly follows the design but rather uses the design as a touchstone template, a guideline over the implementation phase and as a powerful communication tool. Thus a good design is not overdesigned but rather elegant, simple and flexible enough to constantly adapt to new data and feedback (Creatively respond to change and accept feedback)

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Let us help you implement the Phases listed above.
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