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Design From Pattern to Detail

Everything in this world is a pattern or part of a pattern. Work with not against nature’s patterns to create sustainable farms, houses, and communities: e.g. land shapes, water movement, ecosystems, and weather patterns. Plan what you what to achieve and produce, and create a design with all the elements included. This may only have basic detail, but it will show the best use of the land and integrated systems: how everything fits together and the connections between different areas. It can be a house, farm, or community design. This is the pattern, like a spider web.

Then add the detail. Each part/section of the overall design can then be looked at in detail, down to which flowers to plant, what building materials to use, what fish go in the fishponds, and what food to grow for the chickens, etc. When designing the details, keep referring back to the pattern to see if that needs to be changed and improved, and keep looking for integration opportunities too.

Here is an example for raising chickens:

• Patterns are−the best location, chicken food production, resources in and out, integration opportunities, production goals, etc.

• Details are- what fruit trees, bamboo, other trees to plant, what materials to build the chicken house with, etc.

Without the pattern, the details could be in the wrong place so that: • They do not fit together. • They are not efficient. • Maintenance and costs are much higher. • Work has to be repeated. • Resources and time are wasted.


It’s a wonderful open-source practical permaculture reference guide book with 2000 beautiful illustrations and comprehensive language which enables even a beginner to understand the permaculture design, food sovereignty, and environmental regeneration strategies and techniques. The vision of this project is to make knowledge comprehensible and accessible for everyone to accelerate sustainable practices in every corner of the world. It is especially useful when working with poor, low literacy, and disadvantaged communities and schools.

This edition was developed from the Permaculture Guidebook from Timor-Leste produced in 2008 and published by Permatil (Permaculture Timor Leste-NGO). It is used by farmers, families, community groups, government departments, schools, universities, agricultural colleges, and NGOs in Timor Leste, and re-used and translated in more than 10 countries.

Please find the link below to download this book and learn more about their work on their website.

Design from Pattern to Detail: About
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