A rising trend in both professional architecture and in human lifestyles is the ideal of permaculture. From agriculture to urban living, the concept has been taking hold and spreading. It’s captured the environmental and peace movements and is spreading to others as well.
This lifestyle can be both satisfying and more economical.
What Is Permaculture?
Permaculture is an approach to cities, towns, and individual buildings that focuses on natural, ecologically-based relationships. In permaculture, all systems of man’s society – from agriculture to architecture and lifestyle – are synnergized in such a way as to create as eco-friendly and sustainable system as possible.
Patterns in nature are often utilized to minimize the work (energy) required to do many things, such as heating and cooling, while aesthetic use of plants and landscaping are used to maximize the ecology around a building or settlement.
Using Permaculture in the Backyard
Most of the eco-friendly things that have been discussed to provide a more organic, sustainable lifestyle are a big part of how permaculture can be used in a home. To begin transforming your own life and home, the back yard is a good place to start.
Evaluate how your yard impacts the environment around it. Do you have a lot of lawn? Are you composting or burning yard waste? How much water is used to keep your lawn green? What types of fertilizers and weed control chemicals do you use to maintain the lawn? How much maintenance (especially with chemicals and paints) is required to keep your yard and its buildings and assets in good shape?
All of these things and more can be reduced or eliminated in permaculture, which not only improves your lifestyle, but also lowers your yard’s impact on your pocketbook.
Easy Ways to Use Permaculture Practices
First, establish a compost system (bins, piles, or racks) for your yard. Make it large enough that you can throw clippings, kitchen scraps, and more on it, but small enough to be utilized effectively. Install rain barrels and a collection and distribution system for water runoff around your home. In most areas, the average rainfall is enough that the water captured from a rooftop can supply all or most of the water needed for a healthy family garden.
Eliminate as much of the wasteful, energy-intensive lawn around your home as possible. Consider combining zeroscaping (zero impact landscaping), gardening, and beneficial growth (semi-wild plants, plants meant to cleanse the air, or fruit-bearing trees or shrubs). Putting these together and eliminating the majority (or all) of your lawn will greatly benefit both the environment and your yard maintenance schedule (and costs).
Gardening to supply some or all of your family’s vegetable needs is a fun hobby that most enjoy and it reduces your impact in many, many ways – all while saving you money. Further, the compost you’re now creating will supply your garden with the nutrients it needs to keep on going almost permanently.
Consider other permaculture-based landscaping ideas. Make your yard as eco-friendly as possible and the bug will catch and you’ll soon be doing so all around your house.
For more resources on urban permaculture: