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My Diploma in Applied Permaculture
Neil Kingsnorth

I have been immersing myself in the fascinating world of permaculture design for many, many years now. I've been practicing it personally on land and in life, and professionally, both through teaching courses and by running a successful permaculture-guided garden design business.


At the same time, I've worked through the more formal routes of Permaculture education, achieving the Certificate in Permaculture Design and the Diploma in Applied Permaculture.  

Below is a short synopsis of my diploma portfolio. If you'd like to look at the full designs I created for my diploma, contact us and I'll send you a copy. 

My learning pathway

Undertaken near the start of the diploma, this design merges the use of a typical design framework (SADIM) with a coaching framework (GROW) to consider where I'm trying to get to with the diploma, and how I might get there.

The permaculture principles

It's easy to get lost in the different sets of guiding permaculture principles out there, I needed to make sense of them in a way that worked for me, particularly looking at how to integrate the widely used Holmgren principles with the principles that sat at the root of my own entry to permaculture (Bill Mollison's and Patrick Whitefield's). 

In this design I look across a few sets of principles and pull them together into my own, which I then used for almost all other designs in the diploma.

Broadscale smallholding design

Started early on in the diploma and completed last, this is the overarching design for the land laypout of our permaculture smallholding in Pembrokeshire. It includes considerations of aspect, slope, elevation, windbreaks, hedging and air flow, zoning, plant choices and more.

I worked this design up using a range of tools but I've presented it differently to the usual format, as a video, talking through the design. Here it is:

Hayley's food garden

A relatively simple design for a small food growing area in a fairly shady, private garden area in Lynn, Cheshire

My front garden

A design for a biodiverse and edible front garden of my old suburban home in Warrington.

Camping and Washing facilities

This design looks at how to create a toilet, shower and washing facility for our smallholding campsite, with a particular focus on managing the grey and black waste water with natural water cleansing systems. 

In the end, because of regulations around planning and time and budget issues, this design wasn't implemented and we created a different solution for the showers and compost toilets. The design itself it still valuable though. 
skills, accomplishments, and milestones gained. 

Permaculture Network Launch meeting

I used permaculture design to design the agenda for a launch meeting of the Warrington Permaculture Network. Here's how.

Harvesting Habits - Animals system design

Building on the broadscale design for Patch of the Planet, this design looks at how I can integrate domesticated animals into the functioning of the system. The design finds ways to "harvest" the natural habits of domesticated animals so that they can provide services to the smallholding by behaving as they want to behave. Within this is our principle of "minimal kill" - that we don't keep the animals with a primary intention of killing or eating them. 

An accessible permaculture garden

This design for a garden in Derbyshire needed to create huge abundance in a fairly shady spot, whilst also being accessible throughout for two members of the family that had serious mobility issues. 

The design makes a good stab at stacking functions, responding to various site microclimates and zoning a small space in a way that feels natural and harmonious.

Forest garden

I was asked to integrate a Forest Garden area into the accessible perma above, again addressing the need for ease of access. That was a complex and detailed design in itself and this final design for my portfolio is that design. 

Permaculture CV

Finally, it can help to see my "Permaculture CV" - a simple overview of my work and experience that touches on the field of permaculture.


And after all of that, this is me with my Diploma certificate.

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