Permaculture Design Course

Repeats every week every Saturday 10 times.
Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 9:00am to 5:45pm



’10 Saturdays’ Spring 2015 PDC


The Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) signifies completion of the 72-hour curriculum set forth by Bill Mollison in ‘Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual.’ This design course is equal to the courses taught domestically and globally as the basis for advanced training for permaculture internships & apprenticeships. Graduates can also use this course as their jumping off point to begin teaching permaculture modules, creating a portfolio of permaculture designs, and establishing a permaculture consulting practice. It is a life and world-view altering event for most students – living more kindly on their land, creating & caring for their community, conserving & renewing precious resources, respecting all beings, and designing & living in sustainable human settlements that work with and use Nature as the grand designer.

Permaculture Class in Session

Permaculture Class in Session




Our Spring 2015 Permaculture Design Certificate Course is currently open for registration. It is a “10 Saturdays” format course. This format is preferred by many people because it can fit snugly into a busy schedule.

Tuition is set as sliding scale, with the tuition ranging from $600-$800.  To secure your spot in the course please submit your non-refundable $200 deposit below. The sliding scale tuition allows for more individuals with limited means to participate in this class. But, if you can actually pay the full amount, that is preferred. After you have submitted your deposit the remaining $400-$600 will be paid, to the Austin Permaculture Guild, on the first day of class.

See the course schedule and other essential information below. If, after reading this page, you have any questions, contact the course registrar/web admin, Taelor Monroe at monroe DOT taelor AT gmail DOT com .


Class meets 9:00am – 5:45pm each day; arrive anytime after 8:30 to get settled in. (NOTE: If you can’t make all 10 Saturdays, don’t worry — you can make up the missed days at any of our future “10 Saturdays” courses for no extra charge.)

This course includes classroom instruction from Kirby Fry, Taelor Monroe, and Caroline Riley. It features hands-on projects (including your site design project), presentations by guest instructors, and field trips. For more details about the content, scroll down this page. We look forward to having you in our class!

Ellie the goat trying to sneak into class. See you there!

Ellie the goat trying to sneak into class. See you there!

Feb. 21- Day 1: Introduction to Permaculture Ethics & Principles, Sector Analysis, Zones of Use and Design Methods
Feb. 28- Day 2: Climate, Patterns in Nature, & Natural Regions of Texas
Mar. 7- Day 3: Soil, Earthworks, Trees and their energy transactions

Mar. 14- Break for Spring Holiday

Mar. 21- Day 4: Water-ponds, aquaculture & dams and Advanced Soil
Mar. 28- Day 5: Gardens & Zone 1 Design
April 4- Day 6: Trees & Perennial Food Forest Design, Zones 2 & 3
April 11- Day 7: The Built Environment & Energy and Grey & Black Water
April 18- Day 8: Wild Spaces, Animal Systems, Design Workshop-1
April 25- Day 9: Urban Permaculture, Invisible Structures, Design Workshop-2
May 2- Day 10: Design Presentations/Wrap-Up

Local Food Potluck Celebration at Barr Mansion TBD

The Spring 2015 Course will be will be held at the Whole Life Learning Center (WLLC). The WLLC was founded by Caroline Riley and her husband Michael Carberry. It is situated on 2 acres in South Austin located at 10801 Old San Antonio Rd, Austin, TX 78748. This property is based on  permaculture design principles and is complete with multiple berms and swales planted with native and cultivated fruit, nut, and support species trees, a large garden area, chickens, and a goat and donkey! It is truly a beautiful space, perfect for learning and soaking in the permaculture lifestyle.

Students presenting their design project at the Spring '14 PDC

Students presenting their design project at the Spring ’14 PDC

This is a commuter course. Along with classroom instruction, we have hands-on projects (including your site design project), presentations by guest instructors, and field trips. DRESS FOR THE WEATHER. Always come prepared to spend at least some time outdoors. Lunches are BYO/potluck.

The class day runs from 9:00 in the morning to 5:45 in the afternoon. Class starts promptly at 9:00. Arrive by 8:30 on the first day to get settled in, pay your tuition balance, chat over coffee/tea, etc. Bring your own lunch (and some to share with others if you like). Please help us achieve zero waste by bringing your own reusable cup, silverware, water bottle, etc.

Reading assignment: This course follows the internationally recognized 72-hour curriculum outlined in Bill Mollison’s Permaculture Design Manual. The certificate signifies completion of this curriculum. You aren’t required to buy or read the Manual, but please read Introduction to Permaculture, by Bill Mollison and Reny Slay, ideally before the class starts.

If you’d like to do additional reading, great! Other good introductory books are Gaia’s Garden by, Toby Hemenway; Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture by, Rosemary Marrow,The Permaculture Way by Graham Bell and One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka.

You may be able to find these books locally. In Austin, Monkey Wrench Books and Brave New Books are good places to start. Brave New Books tries to keep a few copies of Mollison’sIntroduction to Permaculture on hand. Keep in mind these books are not always in stock. You can also check your local library or check online.

If you can’t find them locally, we suggest you get them online via Permaculture Activist, which is run by permaculture teacher/designers and offers an excellent selection of book and video titles.


We are providing two full ride scholarships for this design course and one work-trade scholarship. The full ride scholarships require no payment and the work-trade agreement requires you to work for your tuition. If you would like to apply for any of these three available spots please submit a photo of yourself, resume and  letter of intention attached in an email addressed to Taelor Monroe, monroe DOT taelor AT gmail DOT com . The letter of intention should give a brief history of your current work in this world and how you think you can make the biggest impact in your community if you were to receive a permaculture design certificate.

Deadline: Only applications received on or before January 12th, 2015 will be accepted.

This course includes classroom instruction, hands-on projects (including your site design project), guest instructor presentations, and field trips. This is a certificate course with 72+ hours of instruction. That doesn’t always mean just lecture. We have many activities we will be practicing during class time. Site visits may include any of the following: exceptional local food gardens, residential sites, community sites, and forest gardens.

Students filling swales and creating the shelves in the pond.

Students filling swales and creating the shelves in the pond.

Day 1. INTRODUCTION TO PERMACULTURE: Introductions, History of Permaculture, Solution based movement, Permaculture ethics & principles, Design Methodologies, Creating a sense of place, Principles in practice, Site observation and analysis, sector analysis, reading flows

Day 2. PATTERNS IN NATURE, SITE ANALYSIS & NATURAL REGIONS OF TEXAS: World & local ecosystems: elements, patterns, climates: dry, temperate, tropical; Austin’s climates & eco-systems; Creating micro-climates. Nature’s patterns & designs. The bio-regions of Texas, larger climate and soil patterns

Day 3. SOIL, METHODS OF DESIGN, TREES & THEIR ENERGY TRANSACTIONS: Soil is Alive! Structure, types of soil, pH; Austin soils; soil analysis-exercise. Organic soil management. Growing soil, mulch, biomass, trees.  Trees and their energy transactions, Function of Trees Water — in and from the house: water audit & conservation; greywater source & uses; wastewater treatment & use; natural/artificial wetlands.

Day 4. EARTHWORKS, WATER- PONDS, AQUACULTURE & DAMS: Water –Slow it, spread it, sink it, from the sky, from the roof, in the soil, methods of in-soak. , Aquaculture: history, design strategies, water testing, plants and fish for the system and scale.Water – on the ground: small-scale dams & earthworks; dig a small swale section. Water — in the ground: ponds, dams, wetlands, & more. Plants, animals, fish.

Day 5. EVERYTHING GARDENS, ZONE 1 DESIGN:  What is a zone I garden? Intensive plantings, schedules, rotation strategies, succession, guilds, companion planting, propagation and herb gardens, garden design game, Animals for zone I, Creating guilds, Super guilds, Intro to Texas plant palette: natives, needs, benefits, guilds, and favorites.

Day 6. TREES AND PERENNIAL FOOD FOREST DESIGN, ZONES 2 & 3: We will be getting our hands dirty while learning about all of the layers of a food forest and exactly how to lay one out. We will cover History of Food Forestry, Succession review, forest tour and design story, propagation: cuttings and grafting, Food forest design game – to scale, adding to existing food forest

Day 7. THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT & ENERGY, RAIN WATER CATCHMENT, GREY & BLACK WATER: Local, efficient, renewable, reduced consumption. Green building; in location/design/construction; principles; materials; techniques; low waste; efficiencies; local; embodied energy; re-use, recycled content; volatile organic compounds (VOCs); landscaping/trees. In operation: energy efficiency, maintenance/caulking, habits/climate. Natural Building: intro to design/build: strawbale; cob, light clay, rammed earth; cob build exercise. Energy: off-grid, local, renewable house/farm case study; intro to passive/efficient/natural design, solar PV & water. Energy inventory & reduction. Intro to: renewable energy options, technologies, trends, costs. Water-Methods of storage: types, advantages, costs. Exercise: gallons/yr on your roof/property. Waste water treatment plans for grey and black water, covers multiple methods.

Day 8. WILD SPACES, ANIMAL SYSTEMS, DESIGN WORKSHOP 1:What is zone 5? Designing for animals for zones II, III and IV-goats, cows, horses, & chickens. Speaker will present more strategies for large scale animal husbandry. DESIGN BASICS: intro to professional-level design and presentation techniques. Relationships of elements, synergy, dependencies, multiple income/ resource streams, listen to stakeholders, learn history. Data and graphics: surveys, GPS databases, etc. Using measurements, scale, drawing board, ruler/t-square/triangle, pencil/erasure, pen, colored pencils. Producing your quality base map plus contours, flow map, bubble diagram, final site design, and in-color presentation.

DAY 9. URBAN PERMACULTURE, INVISIBLE STRUCTURES, DESIGN WORKSHOP-2Patio, small lot, larger lot. Permaculture in the city – principles and designs for city and suburbs; resources of the city; needs of the city; some model cities & their needs/solutions. Energy, waste, resources, pollution, need for community/cooperation. Invisible Structures, Building community, Legal structures, economics, delocalization strategies, creating communities, business model ideas, Create your permie community game. DESIGN WORKSHOP: work on your design starting with a detailed, to-scale base map, adding contours/slope, then separate flow map and bubble diagram before proceeding to site design and final colored design. Workshop is interspersed with short exercises/talks/breaks on design techniques and review of permaculture principles and past students’ designs. Students are encouraged to review designs and techniques with each other in the informal class setting.

Day 10. STUDENT PERMACULTURE DESIGN PRESENTATIONS, WRAP-UP: Design presentations; and next steps. Culture of Cooperation: student exercise/discussion of what they want to do and who with, where, and how. Yourself / your property, neighborhood/village/city, coop or eco-village, a nonprofit, city group, urban/suburban/country. Lists of ideas, opportunities, support groups/agencies, help from individuals, corporations, NGOs, foundations, government programs. Discussion of giving, giving back, social/economic justice, invisible systems and barriers to overcome, helping others and community and environment. Short valedictory address by each student.

GRADUATION CEREMONY & POTLUCK : an evening of celebration and exhibition of student designs. Also honoring local food and local growers. This community event draws a wide swath of the central Texas Permaculture and eco communities: designers, builders, business owners, and alumni of previous classes, etc.


Posted by PermieCate on Tue, 12/16/2014 - 7:31pm

Event Location

Whole Life Learning Center
10801 Old San Antonio Road
Austin, TX 78748
United States

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