Permaculture principles

Going back to the metaphor that the Permaculture ethics are like the rules of the games, the Permaculture principles are more like the guideline to get better at the game. They aren't the answer; you have to figure that out for yourself.

As with any game, different people have different guidelines. 

How the principles have developed

Permaculture was originally co-created in the 1970s by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. It was based on observations of natural systems and long-term human communities.

What started out as a short list of principles has developed into various lists depending on which book you read. However, in 2002, Holmgren published an updated list of twelve principles. These have gained popularity, and we recommend the version published on the Permaculture Association's website.

Holmgren's 12 Permaculture Principles

  • Observe and interact
  • Catch and store energy
  • Obtain a yield
  • Apply self regulation and accept feedback 
  • Produce no waste 
  • Use renewable resources and services
  • Design from pattern to detail
  • Integrate rather than segregate 
  • Use small and slow solutions
  • Use and value diversity
  • Use edges and value the marginal 
  • Creatively use and respond to change

The principles are applicable across a range of situations. They can be applied to anything from designing your garden to designing an organisation.