Course

Ecological Garden Design

This course will take you through the entire process of landscape transformation. You will learn the overarching philosophy to keep in mind, the pieces of a sustainable (and edible!) garden, and how to bring everything together. The course focus is permaculture design principle applied to smaller spaces, generally a quarter-acre or less, and includes practical steps that are immediately actionable.

From the get go you will map out a garden, adding to the design with each subsequent module. The main form of instruction is weekly lectures. Also, the course includes a wealth of useful sources for map creation, sector drawings, companion planting, additional reading, etc. The course will start towards the end of winter 2021 and will extend to the middle of spring. Following along with the course, by summer 2021 you will have built the foundations of a thriving ecological garden that produces food from year one. You will enjoy seeing your garden mature and you will be well equipped to nudge the landscape to wherever you may envision. Last, but certainly not least, the course gives access to a discussion board, where you will have the opportunity to ask questions and interact with peers.

Course Outline

Start Date: February 2021

End Date: June 2021

Each module is covered in 2 weeks:

Module 1 – The Philosophy: An Introduction

Module 2 – The Philosophy: Applied Design

Module 3 – The Pieces: Soil

Module 4 – The Pieces: Water

Module 5 – The Pieces: Plants

Module 6 – The Pieces: Animals

Module 7 – The Connection: Garden Communities

Module 8 – The Connection: City Gardens

Course Details

Module 1 – The Philosophy: An Introduction

  1. Garden types
  2. Systems and principles
  3. The garden as a mature ecosystem
  4. Succession

Module 2 – The Philosophy: Applied Design

  1. Patterns
  2. Edges
  3. The design process
  4. The sector map
  5. Map making
  6. Bringing it all together: the herb spiral

Module 3 – The Pieces: Soil

  1. Some numbers
  2. The story of a leaf
  3. To till or not?
  4. To fertilize or not?
  5. Theory to practise: composting and sheer mulching

Module 4 – The Pieces: Water

  1. The five water conservation methods
  2. Water harvesting
  3. Irrigation systems

Module 5 – The Pieces: Plants

  1. Roles to fulfill
  2. Weeds as pioneers
  3. Trees
  4. Complementarity
  5. Example plants

Module 6 – The Pieces: Animals

  1. Roles to fulfill
  2. Pests
  3. Attracting insects
  4. Attracting birds

Module 7 – The Connection: Garden Communities

  1. Diversity and microclimates
  2. Designing your polyculture
  3. Garden guilds – functions and examples
  4. The seven layer food forest

Module 8 – The Connection: City Gardens

  1. The advantage of numbers
  2. Sectors in the urban context
  3. Tempering harshness
  4. Space saving techniques