Reading Landscape With David Holmgren

Permaculture invites us to slow down and really take stock of what is happening in a place before we go about changing or developing it. Whether a garden, farm or something else, we start by asking what is unique about this place and how did it get to be the way it is now? Finding answers to these questions is not always easy and is a once-strong skill modern humans have mostly lost.

Permaculture co-originator David Holmgren has a name for this skill. He calls it ‘reading landscape’, and after decades of practice he’s become really good at honing in on the unique character of a place through direct observation.

This article shares some of the things David does as he reads landscape. Even though these observations are based on David’s experiences of reading large rural properties, they are equally applicable in your backyard or any place you’d like to get better acquainted with.