Category Design

Designing An Urban Sanctuary


Designer: Taj Scicluna, in collaboration with Linton Cummins

Client: Lordy Dannaoui

Location: Yarraville, Victoria

Aim: To design an urban sanctuary of edible and medical plants.

Background: The property is in a region with a history of industrial use, close to the city of Melbourne and the estuary of the Yarra River. One person and three cats currently reside on the property, which is 960 square metres, consisting of a fairly flat and open area.

A Complete Guide To Permaculture Courses


Undertaking a permaculture course is a very rewarding experience. Not only will you gain skills and knowledge, but you may end up viewing the world in a new way. You will also interact with a group which is interested in similar things as you, and learn from practitioners with plenty of experience.

There is a wide range of permaculture courses on the market in Australia. This article outlines the main types. It also summarises what you should look for when choosing a course.


The PDC is the classic permaculture course. PDCs have been running since the early 1980s, and many participants describe the experience of a PDC as ‘life changing’.

Australian Natives: In A Food Forest Garden


Well-designed food forests and forest gardens are a versatile food production solution that, in addition to producing food, are able to provide for a wide range of animals and fungi that create the connections between the plants in our garden.

As well as being focused on food for the people who are involved in the project, the plants that are selected for a food forest garden need to provide food and habitat for beneficial birds, insects and other animals. Without these supporting elements, these creatures will not inhabit a forest garden and instead of a designed plant community that mimics the patterns and processes of a natural ecosystem, there will simply be a collection of plants.

While there is a wealth of information about the plants that can be grown to produce a fruit or food yield for people, there is much less available about the support plants to incorporate into a food forest garden. The books that are available on the subject generally feature species from the northern hemisphere, and it can be difficult to understand where Australian species fit in.

Permaculture Design Process


For us at Good Life Permaculture, permaculture design incites deep excitement of what’s possible, but it also humbles us: landscapes and people-scapes are vast, complex, ever-changing and unique. I think that’s why we hold onto permaculture so strongly. Permaculture is the best tool I’ve found to date (I’m always open and looking) which: helps navigate not just landscapes, but life; grounds you in a solid ethical framework; but still allows you to be responsive, and work in any context.

We design from urban to small farm properties, and offer a sliding scale of design options which allow everything from a one-off site visit for a casual chat, through to detailed concept designs with fat, written reports. In recent months we’ve started collaborating with Tasmanian building designer Jane Hilliard, from Designful. Together we design both the house and landscape to develop the ultimate, integrated package for clients to work with. Combining the house and landscape allows us to design holistically, something that any permaculturalist craves. The following steps through a recent collaborative process for a property in central Hobart.