Examples of previous Designs


Coed Hen Ddoeth, Forest garden and Sustainable Woodlot in ancient Oak Forest

     Permaculture plan 

coed hen ddoeth 1plant list 1Introduction

The mature oak forest of Coed Hen Ddoeth has some superb old trees of oak, larch and scots pine with a mixed under story of alder, hazel, birch and a diverse ground flora of mosses. Although the forest is currently under great stress due stock infestation, there are great opportunities for regeneration with restoration of surrounding dry stone wall and erection of fencing. The forest may already contain some rare species but a through survey will be needed to ascertain this. There is great opportunity for supporting a wide range of species bird, insect, mammal and plant due to its varied habitat and topography including cliff faces, streams, wet woodland, exposed hilly sites and sheltered areas. There is also great opportunity for sustainable timber production and food generation utilising existing stands of trees and good microclimates on the upper south eastern edge of the woodland for food production. To utilise the landscape to its fullest and take advantage of this wide variety of habitats I have suggested management strategies and the appropriate projects to be implemented with firstly consideration of wildlife, energy efficient planning to make implementation as simple as possible for you, and the climate, topography, soil condition, wind and water. I have included a base map showing the whole site with a key labelling each aspect. A floral key to be used for identify planting patterns and I have also included further detail on the different zones in close ups of each area. I have then provided you with a basic outline of the action plan although this may change as we discover more about your forest.

The forest has two dwelling places, work shops, access routes and woodland rides designed to enhance wildlife, conservation areas, man made nesting sites, trout pools, lagoons, the means for propagating trees and plants, timber harvest, and food producing systems for both animal and man.

I have included a list of useful references to assist you.

 Action plan

This is rough guide of the tasks I recommend completing in your forest to achieve your aims. The order I have suggested provides a rough framework although many jobs will be carried at more or less the same time or continuously.


  1. Rebuild the walls Kick the fluffy maggot bags out! (sheep)

AS soon as you get them out your forest can begin to regenerate, saplings will start to appear and the ground flora will begin to diversify. To get the job done for free and quickly I could use my community interest company the Cynefin Permaculture Project to apply for a grant for you. Then we could join up with either the BCTV or syrcas Circus to teach courses in dry stone walling. This would benefit your local community and get the work done in no time. I could apply for the grant for you whilst I am in Guatemala during the rainy season as I won’t be as busy. And then hopefully it would be through by the time I return in six months. In areas where a wall wont do, use brash hedging made from left over’s from the logging and coppicing as explain further down.


  1. Mushroom logs

It is best to get these in early so they can be growing whilst you are involved in your other projects. There are many species of mushroom you can grow and you can also sell them at a high price! in particular chicken of the woods. Shitake and oyster mushroom, all three will grow in oak, the chicken of the woods will do best in a living tree. If you cut an oak down to leave a stump of about a metre and then drill holes into it and impregnate it with the spores and cover the holes with wax it will begin to grow fruit within six months to ay year. The fruits will be ready for eating in about 1-2 years. With the shitake and oyster inoculate freshly cut logs that were cut during late winter. And then store them next to your pools, after about a year soak them in the water to shock them into fruiting.


  1. Fell large Norway spruce in zone 2 workshop area

Be very careful of contaminating the stream with debris and sediment as you can seriously affect the trout if they are spawning in the area. Selective logging is better than clear fell.  You could lay some of the logs along the stream and pool and mound the soil up against them leaving a trench on the northern side. This trench will collect acidic run of from your work and the mound will prevent contamination. Then plant the mound with willow herb, meadow sweet, bull rushes, iris, sedges, grasses and reeds to support the bank and also to condition the soil back to its former glory. These plants will also filter and detoxify the water and provide shelter for the fish. You could do some transplantation but also spread seeds which you can either find or buy online from suppliers listed in the appendix.


  1. Build brash hedges

Use the brash from your felling to construct brash hedges in areas where sheep may be getting in. This type of hedging will be ideal along the western edge of your forest to protect it from sheep getting in from the other side. Brash hedges are constructed from your left over’s from logging and coppicing. They are made by sticking straight poles into the ground about a metre high and 60cm apart and wedge the brash in between. These will last for around four years as they are but if you transplant brambles along them so they scramble of the top they will eventually turn into a bramble mound which will last much longer and provide you and the birds with a delicious harvest. These hedges are also great nesting sites and provide a microclimate for forest flowers. These hedges can also be used to keep deer out of newly coppiced areas and orchards. They also act like a habitat pile being a good habitat for hedgehogs, insects and amphibians.


  1. Create lagoons

Once you have removed the spruce the water level will rise considerably and the willows will be too young to have much effect on it. Construct a series of lagoons in the spruce impoverished area to help with drainage, if you do install drainage pipes in the land to help with construction then divert the flow into these pools instead of the stream to stop the stream being contaminated. And safely set aside the clay for later use on your cob house. You could store it with old bale wrap or plastic to ensure it does not dry out to much. Then plant acid bog tolerant plants and trees on the banks such as willows, rowan, alder and reeds, bulrushes and irises, that will condition the soil, also plant willow herb and meadow sweet. Use rotten logs and branches, or any spare brash to make habitat piles in this wet environment and you will be surprised at how many newts make there homes under them.

  1. Build access road in zone 2


  1. Build workshops and wood processing area.


  1. Plant the area with weeping willows

You requested eucalyptus but they need very good drainage and alkaline soil, and as much sunlight as they can get if they are to grow fast. If you planted them here, they might just survive but would be very slow growing and would never really thrive. You would be better to plan some beautiful weeping willows. You can pop them straight in after you have felled and they will eventually soak up the access moisture, they grow really fast and thrive in the acid boggy environment. They will also look sunning and you can coppice and pollard them until your heart is content. They are also the second best tree for insects next to the mighty oak.


  1. Make compost toilets and tree bogs for workers

If your go to have a lot of people on site you will need toilets. Situate the compost toilets where you need the compost and where you will need them as a human. Humanure can only be used on trees and not on other crops to prevent pathogens. One scoop of humanure a year per fruit tree will make a great difference to the yield. Situate the tree bogs where the manure can be absorbed trees. i.e. in well drained ground amongst trees.


  1. Set up the polytunnel

The area will still be very wet so dig a ditch where the poly tunnel will go and mound up the earth and put the tunnel on the top so the plants won’t be standing on water. Build a bridge across the various streams and tributaries. Once you have your polytunnel you can start getting the trees and shrubs in. If you buy them young they will be much cheaper and easy to transport. Contact Bangor forest garden they can hook you up with contacts for unusual and useful species. You can also use the polytunnel to graft species, taking root stocks of strong native species and grafting on the desired high yielding species.

zone 2 1


  1. Fell Norway spruce on western side

By now you will undoubtedly be needing more wood for the next operations, when felling the Norway spruce on the western edge once again take care not to contaminate the stream. Plant the area with willow to be used later on for coppice. This area will also be very valuable for birds. .


  1. Build guest house and set up area for volunteers and your own temporary accommodation.


  1. Get a pig!

Borrow or get your own pig and use electric fencing to get it to plough zone 1 where your forest garden will be. Do small patches at a time and Get it to go under the trees where the old forest meets the clearing, after it has cleared an area sow the ground with vetches, clovers, yarrow, hog weed, foxgloves and comfrey, all those delightful woodland flowers that you can buy in a mix. Just make sure it contains lots of nitrogen fixers such as members of the vetch family and clovers.


10 Putting in the horse logging track in zone 4 the upper woodland ride.

You suggested you would like to get a vehicle track through here, but I would advise not to as there are many old trees and wonderful mosses and I feel it would damage the aesthetics of the area and also compromise the richness of the habitat. Therefore I recommend all work be done by horse. There is a lady in the area called Barbara who is a professional horse logger and she can also help you with your other materials. When you open up this track be careful not create a wind tunnel that will damage the other trees. And leave old trees removing the younger ones to allow room for growth.

zone four 111 The upper woodland ride planting

Create a scallop shaped ride out of the trees to create microclimate and aid species diversity. These warm small woodland glades will attract much wildlife. If there are alders here coppice them as they will release nitrogen into the soil. Sow bare earth with the seeds as described for the forest garden in zone 1. Then use all the available microclimates such as around rocks and between dead trees, areas with deep good soil to plant the tree species rowan, elder, and hawthorn, beneath them towards the centre of the ride plant gorse, bilberries and heathers. Planted in this way they will make a sealed edge preventing wind damage and enhancing the climate. Note: in the winter when your deer are hungry and chewing your bark cut the gorse back and put it threw a mangle and feed it to them. Gorse is more nutritious than oats! You will also be releasing nitrogen into the soil ready for the plants in the spring.


12 Hang up Bird, owl and bat boxes

Once that you are clear on which trees are going and which are staying and where your clearings will be you can hang your boxes. Ensure that they face a clearing to ensure a clear flight path. The barn owl boxes need to face into the field and the bat boxes south east. You can also position them around the tree so the bats can move if they are to warm or cold. North facing boxes are good for hibernating. Please see the appendix for full details.


 13 Build cob house

This is another task that could be completed by running a course in building with cob. Such courses are very popular and people will travel far and wide to gain experience in this skill. You could invite a professional to teach a course and have your house built in the process, using the clay taken from where the lagoons are going to be. Yet again you could utilise the Cynefin permaculture project C.I.C to achieve this aim.


14. Begin to plant the forest garden

Planting and maintaining the forest garden will be an on going job, but you can begin round about now. Mark out the area you will be planting trees in and plant gorse. These trees will act as nursery species for your more delicate trees, also coppice any alder you are going to coppice. Begin to plant your fruit and nut trees going from the outside edge inwards to prevent wind damage. Leave about four metres between each tree and plant the tallest trees in the centre and on edge of the old forest then gradiate down with the smaller trees. Interplant with shrubs to form a slope of foliage that gradiates into the mature forest canopy on the edge of the forest and up to the taller nut trees in the centre. This will minimise wind damage and maximise the growing area. These trees and shrubs will not only provide food for you but also for the other forest inhabitants, in particular the deer. Create an apple store to keep your apples fresh by making a north facing earth covered barrow close to the house. Please note that if you plant hardy species such as sloe, crab apple, and hawthorn they can become established and then you can graft on desired high yielding species later. This method may be cheaper and faster as well as the time staggering of valuable trees appearing will help to prevent loss. The hardy species will also create a microclimate for the more sensitive high yielding species. Please also note that the walnuts in the diagram have been guilded to prevent losses to other trees, as walnuts are allopathic (kill of some other species).

There are many different useful trees and plants you could include in your forest garden a good book to refer to is creating a forest garden by martin Crawford. This book will tell you about the many different species there uses and requirements.

zone one 1


15. Managing the Wet woodland BAP priority habitat.

This habitat needs very careful consideration as it has great potential for nationally rare species of insect and flowers please see the information sheet I have enclosed in the appendix. Sites like this are essential for some species such as the rare butterfly orchid and the moths that pollinate it. Sites like this can maximise there potential through coppicing the trees but leave old trees standing. This allows more light and warmth to the earth making it ideal for insects. Some light grazing through the area will also help diversify flora and prevent colonisation of brambles. Pile up brash to provide excellent habitats for insects, birds and amphibians. It would be good to have an ecological survey of this site to monitor how the species change over the years.


Notes on coppicing

Coppice should always but cut in cants and not in individual stools, the cants should be no less than 0.3 acres and no more than a 1.2 acre block. Your willow, rowan, alder, hazel and oak will all coppice, the hazel and the willow being the fastest yielding. Please refer to the book the woodland way be Ben Taw, this is a really good book on sustainable woodland management.


       16. Build dams

By now you will know your woodland quite well and you will be used to the rhythms of your streams, to enhance this habitat for trout you can create feeding pools by damming the appropriate sections. You can either use rocks and boulders to do this or willow faggots placed across the stream out let and staked into place. Providing they have contact with earth they will grow and provide a long lasting stable barrier. You can also use dead wood to block oulets which is valuable to many species of aquatic insect. When doing this it is important to ensure that the waterfalls created over the dam are not too high for the trout to gain access up stream and that they are wide enough for them to swim up. Please see the web page that I have provided in the appendix. You will also be legally required to apply for planning before you make any alterations to the water ways. See the environment agencies website for information on licensing.

dams and pools 1 17. Build the otter holt

Now that you have finished noisy disturbing operations in the lower reaches of the forest you can construct an otter holt if one does not already exist. The piles of rocks that have fallen down the cliff make an ideal habitat. You can improve it by arranging them to make a large dry shelter using wood as supports with rocks on the top, with an entrance and an exit hole. Then cover it with brash for additional privacy. Otters will not come if there is any disturbance to this area so make sure your access routes do not run near the holt.


18. Thin out mature woodland

Select small trees that will never grow to there full potential due to be shaded out by larger trees. Cutting down these trees will help the larger ones more room and allow them to spread out and reach there full potential. The small glades that will be created will be good for grazing dear and woodland flora.


19. Build badger set and fox den

Use large piping and logs to create a multi tunnelled badger set in the quiet part of the forest in the top southern corner. Feed them regularly with peanuts so they get used to you and you should be able to get quite close to them.

For the fox hole dig one chamber with a tunnel at each end and cover over the top with logs and soil. Do this as far away from your chickens as you can get.


20 The marmosets

The maromozets will happily live in the forest and if you are to get any primates I recommend these as they will not require a cage. Simply build them a heated shed kept at 25 degrees and they will be happy. They will roam freely in your forest but their range is so small that they wont go far. They will take advantage of all the food you have provided but you will need to offer them additional feed and minerals to ensure they stay in good health. I have located them next to your house so you can keep an eye on them and enjoy their company.


21 The deer

For your habitat roe deer are best suited, with all the food you will be planting they will thrive in the forest and will actually benefit the ground flora as long as you keep the densities low. However you will need tree guards on the fruit trees whilst they are young to be safe. Please see the website I have listed in the appendix.



These projects may take many years to complete but as you said you hope for this to be a life long project, I advise you to proceed delicately with your building works and try to have a gradual impact rather than immediate, also try to use small and slow solutions as much as possible so you can stop if you see something is of detriment to the wildlife. It would be good to set up a framework of assistance for you with various groups volunteering or completing courses to get the work done. The site like the one your are proposing has great community and wildlife value and could be used to inspire more people to create something similar and educate people how to. I would recommend that you get a species survey done so we can use it as a bench mark for the future and also to help prevent loss of any rare species. Also it would be worth following the stream up the mountain and seeing if trout are present there also. It would be good for you to make contacts with Syrcas circus in Llanfair pg as they have many useful contacts and access to tools. They manage a woodland sustainably there and run work shops on various activities. It would also be a good place to pick up volunteers. I will be at the end of an email if you need me. Good luck.







Handy books and websites and films


Perennial vegetables by Eric Toensmeier

Creating a forest garden by Martin Crawford

A begginners guide to permaculture by Rosemary Morrow

Getting started in permaculture by Ross and Jenny Mars

Gaia’s garden, a guide to home scale permaculture by Toby Hemenway

How to grow perennial vegetables, low maintenance low impact gardening   by Martin Crawford.




Wet woodland priority habitat

Wild woodland flowers http://www.solihull.gov.uk/Attachments/Woodland_Flowers_Leaflet.pdf



Seed shop www.seedaholic.co.uk

Heirloom seeds www.realseeds.co.uk

Plant data base www.plantsforthefuture.co.uk

Unusual seeds and plants www.b-and-t-world-seeds.com



Geoff Lawton, Soils

Free permaculture films and info http://www.permaculture-media-download.com/2011/08/permaculture-organic-farming.html

The Highley Family Permaculture Garden

juiliens garden




The garden which slopes south and is well sheltered with good loamy soil provides the ideal environment for growing fruit, nuts, vegetables, wildlife and children. It provides colour and intrigue throughout the year and fresh salads and herbs, sweet fruits and tasty nuts in the autumn and delicious tuberous treats in the winter. The garden has been designed so that it can be progressively altered to achieve the final plan.

New plants and shrubs will be incorporated amongst those already in place to ensure that diversity and beauty is maintained As the climax species mature and take up more room, occasionally some of the ornamentals may need to be relocated to another open area or left to die of naturally, although most will integrate happily among the new plants and shrubs. Initially the garden will begin with wild flowers but as the garden matures these will be partly taken over by food bearing pants. The wild flowers will still persist in the gaps between and at different times of year when there is less foliage. The garden has been designed so that flowers will always be plentiful providing a feast for bees and butterflies and for your eyes.

The beds and borders in the garden have been designed to minimise the need for watering as their shape naturally collects and stores rainwater. The plants and trees have been grouped in guilds so their nutritional needs have largely been taken care of. Once the garden is established you will only be required to harvest, mulch, liquid feed and water in zone 1prune, compost, mow, relocate or remove the occasional plant, enjoy and observe. Your time needed in this garden should be no more than 4 hours per month to ensure maximum fertility health and harvest is maintained. Everything you will need for your garden will be grown in the garden, it will function as a closed system recycling nutrients with you as its facilitor.



This details a description of the garden once fully matured as shown in the map provided. Please use the map for reference whilst reading this description.


The Patio Area Zone 1

The Air Potato and Grape

The patio area is the greatest sun trap in the garden, the south facing aspect and the shape of the house reflect the heat and sunlight back into the patio and store warmth in the slabs and walls of the house.

Vines climbing on the walls around the kitchen window and conservatory take advantage of this ideal microclimate. The Air Potato vigorously wraps its self around a trellis and produces delicious potato like fruits and under ground tubers.  A Grape vine wraps its way around a trellis and winds its way over the conservatory and takes full advantage of the south facing aspect. It produces grapes in good summers and edible leaves.

These plants live in a raised bed where red clovers grow as ground cover and fix nitrogen from the air to provide fertility in the soil and attract pollinating insects. Whilst the vines are young, strawberries also take advantage of this ideal position and their berries hang down over the raised bed and ripen in the sun. Where there was once one water butt there are now two, they provide a heat store and additional humidity for the vines.


The salad and herb patch

Perennial salads in this bed keep coming year after year and provide much sort after leaves from lemon flavoured sorrel, Siberian purslane, peppery chicory and two types of rocket. Chives provide a tasty accompaniment along with lemon balm. Thyme, sage, parsley and rosemary also grow here helping to ward of caterpillars and in an ideal location near to the kitchen for cooking.


The Annual Raised bed

The annual raised bed is close to the house so it can be tended to regularly and easily cared for. It comprises of two raised terraces which are an adaptation of the existing rockery. It can be used to grow all kinds of annuals such as carrots, potatoes, courgettes and tomatoes. Whilst it is not being used it is planted with red clover that can be used as a green manure to condition the soil before each planting. And also used as a cover crop during plantings to help retain soil moisture and suppress weeds.

 Columbine and good king Henry beside the swing seat.

In the shade area beneath the wisteria and next to the swing seat columbine boasts unusual blooms in the spring and early summer and good king Henry supplies b vitamin rich leaves that can be used for both cooking and salads throughout the year.

 The western side of the seating area.

Beneath the ceanotha and between the roses the giant silvery leaves of the globe artichoke add a dramatic contrast. The big beautiful purple thistle like flowers can provide a delicious treat to those who dare to attempt to cook them. Beneath them wild lungwort provides an effective ground cover and food for bees.

The honey suckle that was once rampant is now entwined on a trellis along the conservatory walls and winds itself amongst the grape.

The Water feature

Beneath the honey suckle a wooden barrel holds your anniversary gift. It sprays water into the air and its cascades down over smooth stones. Yellow iris and marsh marigold provide colour in the spring and purple water hyacinth conditions the water and provides attractive blooms in early summer.

 The Garden borders Zone 2

Raised borders down the sides of garden curve in and out providing more edge for growing space and more microclimates to satisfy the needs of a variety of plants. They have been designed to collect and store water as the edges are raised so that water and nutrients drain inwards.

 Western border

Walking down the slope from the seating area on the western side of the garden, giant Jerusalem artichokes provide bursts of yellow flowers in the late summer, and food for insects as well as many delicious edible tubers in the winter. Among them lupines grow, they fix nitrogen from the air and the slope of the garden helps these nutrients to be carried down to the plants below.

The fruiting cherry tree

The cherry tree takes advantage of these additional nutrients as well as the nutrients accumulated by the comfrey that grows along the border, it attracts beneficial insects and stops the grass from spreading and competing for nutrients. The comfrey is a very important plant in the garden and provides nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Its leaves and roots are edible and have medicinal uses and its leaves can also be used as a compost activator and mulch.


Mashua provides ground cover under the cherry tree locking in moisture and also conditioning the soil keeping it free from harmful pathogens. This perennial nasturtium has attractive round leaves and orange flowers, it forms delicious tubers underground that grow in abundance and can be harvested in the winter once the foliage has died down. Mashua grows vigorously and sprawls its way up the cherry tree and over the fence suppressing any weeds in its path.

Fruiting shrubs

Behind the cherry tree making the most of the additional moisture, black currents and redcurrants thrive above the mashua. More Jerusalem artichokes make the most of the shade from the trees and provide a later show of flowers. This border leads down the garden and ends with the shed once drab, it is now adorned with the clematus that has been rescued from under the yew tree.

 The eastern border

The eastern border of the garden edges each side of the path, and as with the western border lupines planted at the top fix nitrogen for the plants below, along with the wisteria and laburnum tree. Hop vines provide ground cover for the apple tree and wind there way amongst its branches. Their flowers can be used for beer and their shoots like asparagus.

 Fruiting shrubs

Raspberries grow either side of the path and can be picked by the children on the way to play under the willow tree. Geraniums provide purple blooms and suppress weeds underneath them.

A giant jostaberry bush makes its mark near the end of the trail providing delicious purple fruits in the autumn. Its fruits are a cross between a gooseberry and a black current but are surprisingly sweet.

 Compost and ground cover

Peppermint grows under the willow tree in the shade along with nettles that make a welcome addition when composted by adding essential nutrients and minerals. Or to ones own diet where they are truly the most versatile vegetable in the garden. Underneath the willow tree where grass will not grow, babies tears forms a thick green blanket and with stands the constant stampede of children’s feet.

 The bottom of the Garden Zone 4

Woodland plants

At the bottom of the garden where the yew tree, beach, willow and conifers cast shade and dry out the soil not many plants will grow. But some will, in the raised bed around the wendy house fox gloves boast pink flowers and purple flowered periwinkles thrive with a variety of magnificent ferns

And under the yew tree ivy grows in a dense carpet, with ferns and cyclamen behind the castor plant. The addition of rotten logs and rocks help store additional moisture and provide an attractive feature. The trees branches have been lifted and thinned to allow more light and rain water.


The Front Garden Zone 3

Insectaries in the shade

Looking out the window onto the front garden heathers provide a boast of colour throughout the year, food for bees and pollinating insects and also brighten up the most shaded part of the garden.

In the corner next to them the rhododendron that was once in the back garden now makes the most of the extra moisture and light and the harmful substances excreted by its roots stay with it as it is in the lowest part of the garden.

 Nut trees

Next to it hazel grows into a small tree and provides nuts in the autumn, at its base st Johns wart provides food for bees and suppresses weeds.

Next to the hazel a heartnut provides even bigger nuts and makes the most of the extra sunshine. An everlasting pea grows in and out its branches and flowers in the canopy whilst providing extra nitrogen for the tree.

 Fruiting shrubs vines and nitrogen fixers

In front of the hazel tree a mulberry bush provides dense green foliage and delicious pink fruits, perennial flowers grow beside it along with a blueberry bush. Additional nutrients are provided for these plants from lupines and everlasting pea.

Underneath the tulip tree Japanese wineberry provides a dense blanket of green leaves with red furry stems and bright vermillion sweet fruits in the autumn. Beside it a gogi berry sprawls its branches out and produces superfood fruits.

Intertwining between this trio, an everlasting pea provides additional nutrients and a show of colour. The Laburnum to the left of them also provides additional nitrogen.

Ornamental insectaries

On the eastern side of the driveway the arrangement stays the same accept for the addition of some well needed pruning and some lupines and lavender to provide nutrients and protection for the roses.

 Colour in winter and early spring

In the late winter and early spring bluebells, snow drops, crocuses, daffodils and tulips brighten up the garden and welcome back summer.

 Action Plan

This details basic instructions of how to achieve the garden described above, as you are aware there is much to learn and you will have to access various resources to achieve your goals so please utilise the list of references I have provided you with. And remember that the information I have offered here is only a rough guide, as the methodologies may need to be adapted according to how the garden develops and your limitations.


0 level patio and fix pergola

1 Prune apple trees

2 build cuped borders in back garden and add well rotted organic matter and compost.

3 plant fruiting shrubs in front and back garden.

4 prune roses.

 Early spring

6 Prune cherry trees and plum

7create water feature

8 get water butts

9 terrace the annual bed and sew with red clover

10 build the raised bed for the grape and air potato and plant.

11 Sew wild flower seeds and plant other perennials

12 thin out yew and beach

13 make hedgehog home

14 build raised area for woodland plants

15 plant up woodland raised beds near wendy house

16 keep building compost



17 chip bud graft your cherry trees.

18 harvest your salads and herbs

19 mulch around plants and keep an eye out for problems

20 harvest globe artichokes



21 harvest fruit and nuts

22 build compost


23 Harvest root crops

24Build compost



25 plan crocuses, daffodils, bluebells, tulips, snowdrops


 Creating the raised borders that collect and store water

Mark out borders, remove turf, turn it upside down and layer it over border. Fill borders with good quality organic compost. Sew with wildflower seed to include flowers that are beneficial for wildlife such as borage, hyssop, ox eye daisy, ladies bedstraw, yarrow, and valerian. These flowers will serve the purpose of suppressing weeds whilst your main plants are becoming established. (you can buy wild flower mixes from seedoholic.com)

They will attract much wildlife to you garden and will provide a wealth of colour through out the season. They will also help to lock nutrients in and condition the soil. You can obtain wildflower seeds from the websites listed in the appendix. It is important that you coat the up turned turf in wildflower seed, especially comfrey which serves as an effective grass break.

Sew the comfrey into the up turned turf by scoring lines in the turf with a knife and sewing the seeds inside. You can also do this with the wildflower seeds. Whilst these plants are becoming established you can then focus on putting your other plants in like the mashua, Jerusalem artichokes and fruit bushes if you didn’t manage to get them in before spring. When these plants are coming through clear a space for them to ensure they are not competing to much with wildflowers and use the wildflowers as mulch to suppress the growth of more wildflowers  around them as they are growing by weeding them out and laying them around your target plant. Just simply chop and place dead matter around the newly growing crop.

See diagram A

Managing nutrients

Your soil is your greatest asset! It is important that it stays covered to keep In moisture and nutrients, mulching is an effective way of doing this. When you plant something new and you have bare earth around it, mulch around it using partially decayed organic matter, wet card, paper or comfrey and nettle leaves. Both these plants are very good for the soil.

Your comfrey plants can be chopped and placed around fruit trees or any plant you want to give a boost to, the same goes for the clovers. With nitrogen fixing plants such as the clovers, everlasting pea, wisteria and laburnum every time you cut them they release nitrogen from the roots and the leaves used as mulch also release nitrogen. Just be wary you don’t damage the last two by pruning.

You can also make powerful liquid feeds with your nettles and comfrey which will be especially good for your plants in containers such as the air potato and grape. Simply ferment nettles and comfrey in a bucket of water for a couple of weeks. Add a few cup fulls of the mixture to a watering can and mix and dilute with water and add to plants to give them a real boost.

Your comfrey and nettles are great for accelerating your compost too. Add them to the compost and regularly rotate it to speed the process up.

 Increasing fruit yield

Prune your fruit trees to obtain maximum yield.

Guides for pruning are listed in the appendix.

 The winter -apple trees, don’t forget the one tucked away under the willow. Also make sure you remove the Loral next to it, the leaves are toxic if burnt and will not compost well so put it in your brown bin. Undoubtedly it will come back but at least the apple tree will be able to fill out. See appendix 1

 Early spring –the wild and fruiting cherries see appendix 2

 Late spring- the plum out front see appendix 3

 The summer- Graft high yielding cherry buds onto wild cherry trees so that you can obtain more good quality fruit. But leave some branches with wild cherries to distract birds. Or leave some cherry trees wild. Please see details of how to graft in appendix 4.

 The Annual Bed

Use the existing spare bricks to terrace the bed so that it is level. This will prevent unnecessary drying out. Move plants to another location in the garden. Such as beside the swing seat where the columbine and good king Henry are. Move the rocks to under the yew tree to help lock in moisture. Remove any weeds and then sow the ground with red clover seeds. These seeds will grow to form a dense matt of clover that will provide nitrogen for the soil. They live for three years and will prevent pesky weeds from becoming established. Once you have decided you would like to start growing, dig them back into the soil wait a few months for them to decay then sew your seeds or plant your seedlings.

Use spare slabs or bricks to build up a raised bed about 60cm and as long as you can fit in the space given. It needs to be about 50cm high, fill with about 10cm of gravel then add good organic compost until almost full. Put up a trellis going around the inside of the alcove and over the doorway of the conservatory. Instead of wooden trellis you can use screws and wires to make it more discreet and to get into awkward places. Then plant in your air potato near the kitchen window and the grape at the other end. Sow the soil with red clover and plant in your strawberries. Keep well watered until established and occasionally feed with comfrey brew.

The Annual Bed

Use the existing spare bricks to terrace the bed so that it is level. This will prevent unnecessary drying out. Move plants to another location in the garden. Such as beside the swing seat where the columbine and good king Henry are. Move the rocks to under the yew tree to help lock in moisture. Remove any weeds and then sow the ground with red clover seeds. These seeds will grow to form a dense matt of clover that will provide nitrogen for the soil. They live for three years and will prevent pesky weeds from becoming established. Once you have decided you would like to start growing, dig them back into the soil wait a few months for them to decay then sew your seeds or plant your seedlings.

The grape and air potato

Use spare slabs or bricks to build up a raised bed about 60cm and as long as you can fit in the space given. It needs to be about 50cm high, fill with about 10cm of gravel then add good organic compost until almost full. Put up a trellis going around the inside of the alcove and over the doorway of the conservatory. Instead of wooden trellis you can use screws and wires to make it more discreet and to get into awkward places. Then plant in your air potato near the kitchen window and the grape at the other end. Sow the soil with red clover and plant in your strawberries. Keep well watered until established and occasionally feed with comfrey brew.

The water Feature

This simply consists of a wooden barrel filled with rocks. A Water pump is in the middle and attached to the water feature. This pumps water through the feature and keeps it circulating round. The water feature is solar powered so it takes care of itself, athough it may need cleaning out from time to time. The plants in the feature need to be planted in pots or bags. To feed them use fermented nettle or comfrey liquid feed as described earlier. See diagram B and B.1

 Diagram B

Zone 4 The bottom of the garden

The yew and beach tree at the bottom of the garden have edible parts, the yew tree has edible fruits they are a delicious and superfood but be warned the seeds inside are deadly. Always spit out the seeds and only eat the fruit surrounding it. The beach also has edible nuts although I have never ate them my self as they take some considerable preparing.

To alleviate the problem of the yew and beech blocking out light and rainwater, remove the inner and crossing branches and generally thin out smaller branches. Then lift the crown so that the trunks are visible. This will make the areas beneath them a lot more hospitable.


Hedgehog home

Use the cut branches to build a hedge hog home. Arrange them in the sheltered spot behind the shed. Simply lay down the big branches first against the shed and fence. Lay them in such away so there is a pocket in the middle. Then lay the smaller ones on top. Every time you prune anything in the garden and have woody matter lay them on top of this pile and you will provide a home for hedgehogs as well as birds and toads. These animals are all very important in managing pests such as slugs and snails. See dia

Planting the woodland area

Use rocks and logs to build up this area. Use organic matter to build the soil layer, such as leaves, compost grass clippings etc. This will help give some well needed nutrients and help to lock moisture into the soil. Part the mulch and plant in the ground ivy and ferns and once the mulch has broken down plant with cyclamen too. The raised bed on the other side should flourish better once you have opened the tree canopy up. Also add more organic matter to the soil and mulch around the new plants.

 The beds in the front garden

The bed at the top does not need much preparing simply fold back the turf where the gogi berry will go, leaving a lip toward the downward sloping edge. This will help to collect and store water that would otherwise just run straight of the road and down the garden. Plant in the gogi berry and add lots of compost to the hole, plant in your Japanese wine berry underneath. As the Japanese winebery grows, pin its runners down to form a dense mat under the three trees. Once the gogi and wineberry have become established, plant in the everlasting pea underneath in the moist sheltered areas beneath the wineberry and gogi. Eventually the wineberry and everlasting pea will make there way around all three trees. Keep mulching them to make them grow faster and help suppress the grass.

With the second bed down simply add organic matter and mulch in your trees and fruiting shrubs. Keep an eye on the perennial flowers that are already there to make sure they don’t out compete them. If the shrubs do seem to be struggling which is unlikely simply relocate the perennial flowers to wherever you have room. Plant young lupines and everlasting peas in the spaces available in the spaces available.

 Watering the Garden

The water butts will collect rain  water from the roof, use the overflow from one water butt to fill up the other and the over flow from that to go back into the drain. Grow duck weed on top of the water butts. This will help to stop them from drying out and will prevent mosquitoes and midges from laying their eggs. You can also use the duck weed as mulch around your plants. It is very high in minerals and nutrients and will help to lock in moisture and surpress weeds, it also regenerates very quickly in the water butt. There will be little need for watering if ground cover is maintained. The raised beds around the patio will need the most watering simply do this using a hose from the water butts. Whilst the borders are getting established in the garden they will need watering too. Use the hose to water them at the top and water should slowly drain down to the bottom.

 Additional notes

Whilst you are converting your garden into a permaculture garden don’t be afraid to let areas go wild as I know your not. These areas are good observation points and can tell you a lot about your garden. You have a lot of nettles and bramble that come up. This is good it means you have high nitrogen! These wild areas are also of great benefit to wildlife, such as the passage way down the west side of the house where the brambles grow rampant.

 If you do not like some of the plants or shrubs I have chosen then please use the websites and books I have provided to choose others. The plants I have recommended are not a strict guide you may stumble upon other things you find for interesting that you would like to put in there place. As long as you consider their requirements and their interactions with the plants around them they will be fine.

 There are a lot of plants listed in this garden. Most of them you already have, they just need to be grouped together and put in the right place. Many of the plants such as ferns fox gloves, periwinkles and ground ivy you will undoubtedly be able to find in a friends garden.

 Principles and ethics

 Central to permaculture are the  three ethics: care for the earth, care for people, and fair share. They form the foundation for permaculture design and are also found in most traditional societies. Here are the 12 principles of permaculture as described by David Holmgren. It is useful to always refer to these principles as modern day conditioning can easily lead us back into unsustainable gardening techniques.

  1. Observe and Interact – “Beauty is in the mind of the beholder”
    By taking the time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
  2. Catch and Store Energy – “Make hay while the sun shines”
    By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.
  3. Obtain a yield – “You can’t work on an empty stomach”
    Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the working you are doing.
  4. Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback – “The sins of the fathers are visited on the children of the seventh generation”
    We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well. Negative feedback is often slow to emerge.
  5. Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services – “Let nature take its course”
    Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  6. Produce No Waste – “Waste not, want not” or “A stitch in time saves nine”
    By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
  7. Design From Patterns to Details – “Can’t see the forest for the trees”
    By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
  8. Integrate Rather Than Segregate – “Many hands make light work”
    By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
  9. Use Small and Slow Solutions – “Slow and steady wins the race” or “The bigger they are, the harder they fall”
    Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and produce more sustainable outcomes.
  10. Use and Value Diversity – “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”
    Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
  11. Use Edges and Value the Marginal – “Don’t think you are on the right track just because it’s a well-beaten path”
    The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
  12. Creatively Use and Respond to Change – “Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be”
    We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing and then intervening at the right time.


David Holmgren is best known as the co-originator with Bill Mollison of the permaculture concept following the publication of Permaculture One in 1978. (http://justlists.wordpress.com)






Handy books and websites and films


Perennial vegetables by Eric Toensmeier

Creating a forest garden by Martin Crawford

A beginners guide to permaculture by Rosemary Morrow

Getting started in permaculture by Ross and Jenny Mars

Gaia’s garden, a guide to home scale permaculture by Toby Hemenway

How to grow perennial vegetables, low maintenance low impact gardening by Martin Crawford.






www.b-and-t-world-seeds.com (for unusual seeds and plants)



Geoff Lawton, Soils


 Malcom and Pennies Permaculture project, with forest garden and horse grazing

A Symbiont gardens design by Catherine Griggs


zone 2 dyffryn



The design encompasses beauty and functionality whist providing both a rich harvest and special place to be. It utilises local materials, and puts a strong emphasis on working with nature by encouraging wild animals from the woodland to predate on pests species, and by maximising habitat for rare species of plant. It has also been designed to reduce day to day costs of running the farm by incorporating water catchment and additional horse fodder into the system. Within 3 years the project should be mostly self-maintaining leaving its occupants to enjoy its bountiful harvest of flowers, fruit, nuts, vegetables, eggs, Cheese, milk, herbs and beer. The project serves as a perfect platform to showcase the sustainable bio thermal heating technology that is being developed on the site.


Project aims

  • Minimise costs
  • Utilise available materials
  • Livestock integrated systems
  • Water storage
  • Aesthetics
  • Low maintenance food production
  • Self-perpetuating
  • Wood harvest
  • Swimming pool
  • Benefit wildlife
  • Benefit horses





Zones are labelled according to how often they are used zone 1 being the most and zone 5 being the least, zoning is used for energy efficient planning to ensure the minimum amount of energy is expended in tending to the garden and animals. This project has a strong emphasis on aesthetics so energy efficiency has been compromised in some areas.



zone 1 dyffryn



patch design


Zone 1

Zone one comprises of the kitchen patio doors that are adorned with wisteria, the guttering of the roof of the kitchen feeds into two large containers to the left of the house that store water. At this elevated level they are able to feed water to the majority of zones 1- 4.

The patio doors open out onto slate slabbed patio which serves as a heat store which helps to warm herbs that are contained around the patio in a stone walled bed that also helps to store heat in its thermal mast. Herbs are ideal for this situation as its high sunlight and wind so other plants may not thrive as well, they are also close to the kitchen for culinary use and provide lovely fragrance. Down the north side of the house a stone bed also provides a good environment for a hops plant that thrives crawling over the old stone building in the shade.

Just outside the kitchen door a worm bin is situated in the correct place to be fed kitchen scraps. The worms can then in turn be fed to the chickens which are situated in the stone building adjacent to the house as from here they can be tended to with ease. The ducks also live in this shed and can be let out to swim in the natural pool that forms at the bottom of the yard below the car park. The wood is also stored in the stone building for ease of access for the house.

 Adjacent to the chicken shed and wood store in a sheltered spot 3 foot below the patio are two compost heaps conveniently situated to collect kitchen scraps and poultry manure. They can be used on a rotational basis and then the compost can easily be transported to the rest the salad beds and green house along with compost from the worm farm which is ideal for seedlings or for giving soil a microbial boost.

The stone wall opposite the compost piles makes the ideal environment of a grape or kiwi which will benefit from the sheltered position and nutrient run of from the compost piles. Stone steps adjacent to the compost piles lead down from the patio towards a large rockery with a host of various succulents and alpines adorning its sides with unusual ferns nuzzled amongst the rock on the northern shaded side. The rocker serves the function of attracting beneficial insects and providing microclimate for a grape vine that entwines itself over a trellis built into the stone shed to the right of the rockery.


Facing west stone steps lead conveniently down to the green house that is used for germinating vegetables and propagating cuttings. The green house benefits from the south facing aspect with a stone shed insulating it to the north, the shed is used as a root store as its northerly aspect ensures it stays cool throughout the year. The water is collected from the roof into a large container on the eastern side. Around the outside of the green house Annual vegetables and salads are grown in raised beds to prevent flooding from high rains and maximise aeration of soil. Gravel or wood chip paths make ease of access between each bed.  A willow fence is tightly woven around the vegetable beds and provides an ideal habitat for insect eating birds and other pest predators such as toads, frogs and hedgehogs that hide in the leaf litter. The willow also helps to suck up access water that will run down from the hill the house is situated on.


Zone 2

Zone 2 leads past the green house and over the lawn westwards towards the horse meadows and barn where the horses are tended too. Apple trees grow here to provide an ideal treat for both rider and horse.

Between the horse meadows and lunging area, large vegetable patches are planted with main crops that take a long time to yield such as potatoes, brassicas, carrots, parsnips and turnips which have been inter-planted with guild species to minimise pest problems. Carrots are planted with onions and garlic to reduce carrot fly. Squashes provide ground cover suppressing weeds for corn and peas which entwine around the corn and provide it with nitrogen and intern the corn provides the peas with sugar. The vegetables are stacked and layered to maximise space, avoid desiccation and the need for weeding. On the left side of the vegetable patch gorse bushes provide a hedge that shelters the crops all year round from wind and also provides nectar for bees and other insects throughout the year. This thorny foliage also makes a great habitat for breeding birds that will pick pesky caterpillars from the brassicas. Horses leaning over the fence occasionally browsing on the gorse will help the gorse to release n2 into the soil from the rhizomes on its roots that are released when the foliage is trimmed.

On the northern side of the patch where apple trees already exist more will be planted and they can easily be fed with horse manure from the field and lunging area. Habitat piles also intersperse the veg patches providing an ideal habitat for pest predators such as hedgehogs, toads, frogs and newts that make their way from the nearby woodland using the hedges and habitat piles as high ways. A small tire pond serves as a great place to breed and rest for amphibians and dragon flies.

As the veg patches gets closer to the woodland further west they become more sheltered by the tall trees and provide a great place for experimenting with unusual perennial veg that needs less care and attention such as the delicious root tubers of the south American yacon and occa. Eventually the vegetables merge into nettles which make a great treat for the goats that live in a pen nestled into the north westerly side of the field. Here their manure is collected and piled up in the ideal place to feed the veg patch. The occasional squash also takes advantage of the high nitrogen levels and sheltered position. The goats have a small wooded shed that collects water that feeds into a trough. I this position they have a good amount of sunshine and are sheltered from the wind and frost. They can also be regularly led out to graze in the woodland which edges their pen.


Zone 3

Walking down the stone steps from the house leads to the second terrace with a beautifully mowed lawn with undulating borders of herbaceous perennials and shrubs including pink flowering camellias, sweet smelling viburnum, and beautiful butterfly attracting buddleia, amongst them delphinium,  monks hood and fox gloves boasts moody shades of purple and pink.  Anemones provide brilliant colour in the shadier areas and down below corn flowers, and forget-me-not’s keep in the moisture. Just below the house a circular stone patio provides an ideal place to sit and admire the rampant clematis that sprawls over a wooded pergola that provides shade in the summer and shelter from rain. This place provides an ideal vantage point for admiring the view and keeping an eye on the horses. Either side of the pergola roses thrive in the sheltered spot up against the wall. Purple clover and vetch intersperses the flower beds providing nitrogen and alleviating the need for weeding throughout the year. Southwards of this flower edged lawn a willow archway benefits from the rain run-off from the patio and provides a mystical passageway to the edible forest garden.


Zone 4

Here the ground cover consist of a wild flower meadow of vetches, camomile, clovers, buttercup, meadow sweet, daisy, self heal to name but a few, they enrich the soil when they are cut twice a year forming a mutually beneficial relationship with the edible woodland which edges the meadow with lush rich foliage. The canopy consists of tall poplar trees that serve as a wind diffuser for the house below these black locust provide fodder for the horses that lean over the fence to browse. The black locust then releases nitrogen into the soil for the other nutrient hungry trees. Holly bushes and gorse also serve as a windbreak and provide additional nitrogen and a great habitat for nesting birds.

Sheltered from the westerly wind towards the centre of the garden, fruit and nut trees make the most of the sunshine and provide beautiful blossom in the spring.  Species such as apple, pear, cherry, damson, crab apple, fig, sweet chestnut and hazel nut provide an abundant harvest. Kiwi, hops and air potato vines wind their way around exposed tree trunks.

Walnut is allopathic and can kill other trees but with a partnership of wolfberry, hackberry and current in its drip-line it can live in harmony with other trees, elderflower also makes for a healthy transition. Other berries living beneath the dispersed canopy are blueberry, cranberry, current, bilberry, Logan berry, gooseberry with raspberries that thrive in the shadier areas between the house and willow fence on the southern side. Strawberries, penny royal and Japanese wine berry provide a bountiful ground cover that suppresses weeds and grasses.

Lower down in the meadow towards the green house where rain tends to collect, a small pond provides a perfect habitat for dragon flies and other amphibians that feed upon the garden pests, bats also benefit from this pool and sweep down snatching emerging insects from its surface. Large rocks and rotten logs surround the pond providing an ideal hibernation site for its tenants. Ferns grow amongst the rocks and a slate path leads around the pool to a bench where one can sit, relax and enjoy the blossoms of the edible lotus flowers on the water’s surface. Giant gunnery provides shade and shelter, milfoil and bull rushes oxygenate and clean the water and iris grow abundantly around the edge and into the over flow, that leads around a gazebo made of interwoven willow which has its feet in shallow trenches that collect the water, allowing guests to keep their feet dry upon entry. Inside the gazebo a wooden platform provides a place to sit but also conceals the cesspit which can still be accessed via a trapdoor.


Zone 5

Zone 5 is the woodland on the western boundary of the land, this mixed deciduous woodland has been managed to have a staggered canopy layer to maximise diversity and yield. The mature layer comprises of sycamore, oak and ash which provides a great habitat for birds and bats. Small areas of willow, hazel and medium sized trees have been coppiced to allow more light though to the woodland understory, these small warm woodland glades provide the ideal opportunity for saplings to grow and woodland flowers such as the early purple orchid to flourish. Rare butterflies and birds such as the nightingale and spotted wood butterfly also favour this habitat. The new growth from the coppiced trees can then be used for fire wood and building or turning into charcoal.

The small stream that flowed through the woodland has now been damned creating a small pool that’s ideal for swimming during the summer and possibly for brown trout?! Butterbur and ramsons garlic cover the ground in the shady areas and make a delicious wild harvest not just for the goats; who are often tethered in the woodland and making a good job of keeping the brambles and nettles down.




Action plan

This action plan is based on five or six individual’s helping with building and gardening on a part time basis, it serves as a rough guide as the most energy efficient way to construct the project. Many of the projects stated such as building and planting will be on-going but can be started in this time scale.


6 Months

  • Build green house and set up worm farm and compost piles.
  • Set up water catchment system at green house and use compost generated from N-pods to propagate cuttings and grafts of trees and fruit bushes.
  • Set up worm farm and compost piles near kitchen
  • Fit guttering to house and install water catchment system
  • Deep mulch flower beds, borders and woodland edge with manure, cardboard and woodchip to leave for six months in preparation for planting.
  • Repair roof of stone building for chickens, ducks and wood store.
  • Create pool where the water collects at the bottom of the car park for ducks.
  • Get ducks and chickens and train dog not to kill them.
  • Slab the patio area using slate slabs collected from quarry’s and slate gravel. Use local stone piles to build up wall on first terrace and build herb garden and wisteria planter.
  • Use rotted down compost to fill herb beds and plant with herbs, also plant the wisteria near the patio window and hops down the northern passageway.
  • Build wall up on the second terrace and stone steps and gravel path down towards the green house
  • Build the trellis for the grape and rockery opposite.
  • Construct the raised annual beds out of reclaimed wood and fill with compost from piles and n-pods or fill with manure and soil and cover for 6 months. Lay gravel or wood chip paths in between the beds.

1 Year

  • In winter coppice willows and use branches to construct woven fence around the raised annual beds.
  • Build goat pen and begin grazing them on the 3rd terrace to help accelerate wildflower growth
  • Begin to Plant forest garden with n2 fixing trees, gorse, holly’s, poplar and ground cover species such as strawberry, ivy’s, Japanese wine berry and penny royal.
  • Begin to plant the borders of the second terrace on the western side.




 1 Year 6 months


  • Coppice trees in woodland and build dam, store wood in wood shed and use brash to make habitat piles in the woodland and near the veg patches in zone two (To encourage pest predators).
  • Graze goats in woodland in areas without orchids apart from just after the seeds have dropped. Then graze goats in orchid areas and allow poaching to help orchid seeds access the soil.
  • Plant fruit bushes and shrubs into edible forest garden.
  • Put up bat and owl boxes in woodland.
  • Plant gorse bushes down veg patch in zone two and apple trees.
  • Build tire pond veg patch in zone tow to attract amphibians and dragon flies that predate on slugs and caterpillars.
  • Plant guilded plants in veg patches in zone two and begin to save seeds. Also plant perennial crops such as the yacon, occa, asparagus and Jerusalem artichoke.
  • Build decking to cover cesspit from reclaimed wood.
  • Build pond either by compacting soil or using a liner and direct over flow around the decking. Plant with pond maintaining plants it will now serve as a pest control for the rest of the garden.
  • Construct willow gazebo planting into sunken areas in the overflow of the pond.
  • Build patio on second terrace using slate slabs and construct pergola using reclaimed wood.
  • Plant willow archway
  • Take cuttings and plant more trees and shrubs
  • Plant more flowers
  • Manage meadow on rotational basis cutting in the spring and autumn.
  • Mulch forest garden with foliage from N2 fixing Black locust
  • Weave willow archway , gazebo and fence back in on them-selves.


3 years

There should now be a bountiful harvest and most of the systems will be self-regulating apart from those in zones 1 and two.



Handy books and websites and films


Perennial vegetables by Eric Toensmeier

Creating a forest garden by Martin Crawford

A begginers guide to permaculture by Rosmary Marrow

Getting started in permaculture by Ross and Jenny Mars

Gias garden, a guide to home scale permaculture by Toby Hemenway








Geoff Lawton, Soils

 Rhiwlas Permaculture project, with worm farm and tree nursery

Rhiwlas Permaculture Project Plan

Rhiwlas Permaculture Project Plan


The project will be created on a three acre field in the village of Rhiwlas, North Wales. The field has previously been used for grazing and now consists mostly of grass with some gorse. It has a north westerly aspect with undulating contours and contains a stream that runs along the south westerly edge. A spring lies adjacent to this stream which has the potential to be converted into a well. The field also contains the ruin of a stone agricultural building.

With funding, the area will be turned into a family run business with the prospect of employing around eight individuals to manage a number of elements that will generate revenue. These include a pick your own food forest, fish lakes, water cress stream, annual veg production, unusual perennial vegetables, nursery poly tunnels, chickens, wood work shop, worm farm and yurts which will be used as dwellings for occupants and students partaking classes and courses that will  cover various aspects of permaculture. The project also aims to benefit the local community by providing allotments.

 Project aims

Help people learn to grow their own food and become more self reliant
Bring the community closer together
Create an environment that shows how both humans and nature can benefit each-other
Generate revenue whilst benefiting nature and the local community
Teach people how to teach permaculture and set up their own projects
Help local farmers reduce the amount of chemicals they use on the land
Provide the local community with healthy natural food.
Provide a space people that both the old and the young can come together to relax and  socialise


Zone 1

The dwelling place

This zone contains the home yurt and its garden. This garden will serve as a demonstrating area for permaculture students as it will contain examples of how permaculture can be applied at home.  The zone contains a solar shower that can also be heated by a wood burning stove. The grey water from the shower and the house goes to a reed bed system for filtration, the clean water enters a pond containing aquatic edibles. The zone also contains nursery beds, annual beds, a compost toilet, compost heap, kitchen wormery, root veg store, bee hives, herb spirals, and perennial beds, the perennial beds gradiate into a forest garden. Zone one and two are edged by a Swale to collect the nutrients and water draining down the slopes surrounding it. Because of the excessive rain in Wales the Swale also doubles as a diversion drain that leads into the stream to prevent flooding in zone one and two.






Zone 1

Zone 1




grey water system

Zone 2

Poly tunnels

Will be located near the entrance on the flat ground on the south west side of the stone ruin. In this location they are close to water and compost and provide ease of access for workers and costumers. They will be used as a nursery for trees and plants.

Unusual perennial vegetables

Perennial vegetables are essential for anyone wishing to be more self sufficient as they reduce the work required when annually replanting food plants. Many unusual varieties exist and there is a growing interest in obtaining them thanks to the website “plants for the future”, the vegetables can be sold either as plants or seeds for growing or eating. A garden for these perennial vegetables will be located best behind the poly tunnels so they are close to the sources of compost, water and the nursery, and will also provide easy access for costumers and gardeners wishing to tend them.


Chickens can also serve as a source of revenue by selling the eggs and chicks. The chicken hutches will be located on the north side of the poly tunnels. Their hutches built into the poly tunnels so both the chickens and the plants can benefit from each others warmth and gas emissions. The chickens will roam around free range around the poly tunnels feeding on various food plants such as millet, sunflowers and mulberry bush that have been planted to supplement them.

Zone 3

 Worm farm, tree nursery and annual vegetables

The worm farm will initially be installed on the North westerly side of the stone ruin. This will be the primary source of income that will pave the way for the other projects by generating revenue and providing soil fertility. Worms can be sold to generate cash and the castings can be spread on the ground and used to make worm tea to accelerate the process of succession on the land. Educational courses on worm farming will also be used to generate revenue.

It is advisable to start with just a sixth of an acre to begin with then gradually increase as experience is gained. The worm farm will be installed in the allocated area to serve the function of fertilising the soil closest to zone one and because the amenities for maintaining the worms are more readily available in this way. The north western side of the field is the most sheltered and will also contain the most fertility over all as it is the lowest part of the field and contains the nutrients that have drained down the slopes. In six months time when the worms are ready to be harvested the worm farm should be rebuilt in a paddock adjacent to the original patch. Then young fruit and nut trees can be planted where the worms once grew. This will allow the trees to benefit from the worms and will accelerate the process of re-establishing soil health. When the trees are hardened off and of a good size they can be sold to generate revenue. This process can be continued on a rotational basis around the north side of the field alternating with trees and worms.

Additional revenue can be earned by planting annual food crops among the trees. These annual food crops can then be sold in veg boxes.

Zone 4

Food forest

The food forest will contain a diverse mix of perennial shrubs and fruit and nut trees with a diverse herb ground layer and many different food producing vines. The many pathways that run through the forest will help warmth and light penetrate it. The trees will be spaced in a staggered fashion allowing the greatest possibility for light and warmth.

This forest will be teaming with wildlife and bursting with fruit and nuts, eventually it can be used to generate revenue using it as an unusual pick your own experience.

Guinea fowl will roam free in the wood but have a hutch on stilts that will be used for egg laying. These birds will serve the functions of providing delicious eggs, an alarm for the presence of predators and intruders and also as pest predators.

Water courses

The stream can be manipulated into a zig-zag shape to slow down the water flow through the site, this will help to provide ideal habitat for growing water cress that can be sold. Two lakes can be created using the stream. These will serve the function of cultivating native species of fish such as rainbow and brown trout. These fish can then be sold or used by anglers. Only native species of fish and plants can be introduced to the lakes to eliminate the risk of non native species invading the water courses of north Wales. The lakes will also serve the function of an aesthetic place to visit for locals and customers and will also provide warmth and additional light for the surrounding plants and trees.

Guest and student yurts and Tepee’s

The top right hand corner of the field will contain the Tepee’s and yurts that will be used for guests and students. This area is located in a wild flower meadow where the students can relax in nature and enjoy the view of the lake and also the spectacular view down the valley.

Community allotments

The community allotments will contain a number of raised beds, a tool shed, compost heaps, it could also contain flowering cherry trees for aesthetics and food. It could be located near the main gate for ease of access and because the terrain is relatively flat.

Zone 5

This zone stretches along the circumference of the field and contains a number of nitrogen fixing trees such as alders and gorse. This will allow the fertility to penetrate the rest of the project as it drains down the slopes with the rain. Other species such as birches and hazel will be planted to accelerate natural succession. Once these trees are in place the area will be left to revert back to its natural condition.

 Additional info

Willow and hazel will be used as wind breaks and privacy screens, and will be coppiced regularly to produce fire wood, and willow whips to sell. They will also provide a great habitat for nature and will provide nuts.

All dark damp areas can be used for mycology and the mushrooms and fungus sold for profit.

 Revenue summary

Educational courses e.g. wood work and permaculture.
Pick your own
Willow whips
Water cress

Action plan

1)      Apply for funding
2)      Apply for planning permission for yurt
3)      Apply for planning permission for worm farm
4)      Apply for planning permission for lakes and water courses
5)      Apply for planning permission for two poly tunnels
6)      Apply for planning permission for processing sheds
7)      Obtain regular delivery of organic matter from tree surgeons, farmers etc.
8)      Set up worm farm
9)      Build water courses and lakes and plants with water cress and wild aquatic plants.
10)  Plough the food forest area and yurt area and sew with a mix of native bioaccumulations e.g. comfrey, plantain, yarrow, borage, wild mustard, clover, bugle, chickweed.
11)  Build compost toilet
12)  Build well
13)  Create zone one using sheet mulch
14)  Create zone one pond and root store
15)  Harvest water cress
16)  Put up yurt
17)  Create community garden with raised beds, sheds and compost heaps
18)  Put up poly tunnels and get chicken hutch up
19)  Sell chicken eggs
20)  invite people to the allotments
21)  Start nursery with trees and perennial plants
22)  Build perennial garden
23)  Harvest and rotate worms
24)  Plant saplings in worm beds and food forest
25)  Plants annuals amongst saplings on nursery beds
26)  Plant perennials
27)  Introduce fish to lakes
28)  Apply for planning for guest yurts and tepee’s
29)  Apply for planning for ruin
30)  Apply for planning for processing sheds
31)  Put up yurts and tepee’s
32)  Start to run courses.
33)  Begin to sell annual veg and perennial plants

Invite people to pick your own food forest and potentially use wood work shop.

Handy books and websites and films


Perennial vegetables by Eric Toensmeier
Creating a forest garden by Martin Crawford
A beginner’s guide to permaculture by Rosemary Marrow
Getting started in permaculture by Ross and Jenny Mars
Gaia’s garden, a guide to home scale permaculture by Toby Hemenway




Geoff Lawton, Soils

 Zone 1 patch design plant list

1)      Nursery bed for young plants such as brassicas, tomatoes, squash, courgettes, sunflowers, artichokes.

2)      Cabbages, buckwheat, radishes, dill parsnip, calendula, lettuce: iceberg, romaine, butter. Fava beans, garlic.

3)      Carrot, onion, broccoli, chard, parsley, spinach, broad beans, rocket

4)      Herb spiral: rosemary, penny royal, basil, lemon balm, peppermint, thyme,sage.

5)      Strawberry spiral: strawberries, red clover, chives.

6)      Cauliflower, shallots, lambs lettuce, spring onions, beetroots, kale, sugar snap peas.

7)      Sun flowers, globe artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes, comfrey, french sorel, chickweed.

8)      Sweet corn, squash, berlotti beans, calendula.

9)      Asparagus, occa, yacon, winged bean, borage, physalis, clover.

10)  Reed mace, water cress, bitter hairy cress, phragmites australis, arrow root, water lotus, milfoil, duckweed, iris, fig, clover, vetch, borage, gooseberry, current, raspberry.

11)  Good king henry, fat hen, nettle, burdock, plantain, oyster mushroom, field mushroom, parasol mushroom, apple, plum, pear, cherry, hazel, alder, holly, gorse.

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