Why Permaculture Landscaping?

Why choose Permaculture landscaping over conventional or eco-landscaping? Read on to find out more about the history and practices that make Permaculture the best fit for the modern yard. 

The Art of Landscaping

Humans have been altering the landscape around them since we first came together in settlements. All ancient civilizations altered and manipulated their environment to satisfy their needs for food, security and beauty, leaving a remarkable legacy on the land that can still be seen today.

In the modern urban age, landscaping has evolved to signify specifically the process of selecting and laying out plants, altering terrain, directing and managing water and adding structures to an area to enhance its appearance and create usable spaces for outdoor activities.

Some homeowners prefer a balance between hardscape (e.g., gazebos, pergolas, decks) and softscape (i.e., plants). Some prefer to emphasize outdoor entertaining spaces with minimal amounts of softscaping, while others prefer prominent water features. Each person’s tastes ultimately determine what goes into their particular design.

Conventional Landscaping

Conventional landscaping tends to use low-cost, non-native plant species amenable to industrial maintenance techniques like mowers and pesticides. Materials are often chosen for short-term durability and aesthetics and not for ethical and sustainable sourcing or recyclability. Conventional landscaping requires considerable and ongoing water and fertilizer inputs, replantings, repairs and replacements to ensure that it remains healthy and elegant.

With the global awakening towards the environmental crises facing mankind, we’ve seen the rise and growth of the sustainability movement over the past two decades. Many fields have seen a sustainability revolution, questioning and changing their fundamental assumptions. The practice of landscaping has not been immune to this re-evaluation and has been recognized as important in mitigating our contribution to global climate change and loss of ecology.

Eco-Landscaping

This has led to the emergence of Eco-Landscaping techniques and the re-evaluation of the plant species we choose, the water and chemicals we use and many conventional landscaping practices. A new awareness has grown about the environmental impacts of our aesthetic choices.

Eco-Landscaping attempts to replace harmful or wasteful conventional landscaping materials and practices with Eco-friendly equivalents to reduce the overall carbon footprint or environmental consequences of landscaping. It is an excellent choice for many projects -and certainly a move in the right direction- but all too often it tries to meet the same conventional needs with “green” products without fundamentally healing our relationship with our land and environment.

The Rise of Permaculture

In the 1970s, Australian agriculturalists Bill Mollison and David Holmgren began to question the assumption that meeting human needs must come at a necessary cost to the global environment. Around the same time, Japanese farmer-philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka began piloting a system of farming that didn’t just reduce impacts on nature, but imitated and integrated with it. Independently they wondered if our relationship to the lands around us -and to the global ecosystem- could be one of mutual benefit and common resilience.  

Permaculture was born out of the desire to create human systems in harmony with the world around them. It imagines the built and natural environments supporting each other, giving back more than they take. Permaculture landscaping takes this philosophy into our own yards, harmonizing them in partnership with the natural world for the benefit of all. Even in our backyards we can make an impact to clean water, reduce carbon emissions and foster homes for native species.

How does it work?

Because permaculture systems work with -rather than against- nature, they can be far more low-maintenance than conventional or eco-landscaping. With careful observation, the right site can be chosen for the desired element, like an orchard, a deck, a greenhouse or a garden bed. With the right element, site and planning, systems can often be allowed to manage themselves. For instance, choosing a native meadow and rain garden instead of a lawn eliminates mowing, watering, pesticide and fertilizer use. Siting fruiting shrubs near pathways makes for easy harvesting and pruning on your way to the house. Selecting hardy fruit trees for exposed spaces provides abundant fruit and shelter for more sensitive plants.

Permaculture landscaping is all about obtaining a yield for ourselves and for nature. This means that permaculture yards give back to us in the form of food, beauty, space and functions like composting and water harvesting. Permaculture landscaping is also edible landscaping, because if you’re planting shrubs, why not plant those whose blooms mature into delicious fruit? Permaculture yards also give back to our neighbours in the natural world, attracting bees and birds with flowers, food and shelter; hosting a broad diversity of native and useful plants and creating healthy soils to support all life.

Work with the pros

Spruce Permaculture has three years and over a dozen properties of experience delivering permaculture landscaping to Edmonton. We are a pioneering company; one of the first to provide this exciting service and laying the groundwork for more edible landscapes in our community. Our team has creative design expertise to work with any yard from consultation to design to implementation and maintenance. We have  a wealth of gardening and planting knowledge to make any garden of eden come to life. We work with wood, water and earth to bring calm, beauty and productivity into your backyard.

The Art of Landscaping

Humans have been altering the landscape around them since we first came together in settlements. All ancient civilizations altered and manipulated their environment to satisfy their needs for food, security and beauty, leaving a remarkable legacy on the land that can still be seen today.

In the modern urban age, landscaping has evolved to signify specifically the process of selecting and laying out plants, altering terrain, directing and managing water and adding structures to an area to enhance its appearance and create usable spaces for outdoor activities.

Some homeowners prefer a balance between hardscape (e.g., gazebos, pergolas, decks) and softscape (i.e., plants). Some prefer to emphasize outdoor entertaining spaces with minimal amounts of softscaping, while others prefer prominent water features. Each person’s tastes ultimately determine what goes into their particular design.

Conventional Landscaping

Conventional landscaping tends to use low-cost, non-native plant species amenable to industrial maintenance techniques like mowers and pesticides. Materials are often chosen for short-term durability and aesthetics and not for ethical and sustainable sourcing or recyclability. Conventional landscaping requires considerable and ongoing water and fertilizer inputs, replantings, repairs and replacements to ensure that it remains healthy and elegant.

With the global awakening towards the environmental crises facing mankind, we’ve seen the rise and growth of the sustainability movement over the past two decades. Many fields have seen a sustainability revolution, questioning and changing their fundamental assumptions. The practice of landscaping has not been immune to this re-evaluation and has been recognized as important in mitigating our contribution to global climate change and loss of ecology.

Eco-Landscaping

This has led to the emergence of Eco-Landscaping techniques and the re-evaluation of the plant species we choose, the water and chemicals we use and many conventional landscaping practices. A new awareness has grown about the environmental impacts of our aesthetic choices.

Eco-Landscaping attempts to replace harmful or wasteful conventional landscaping materials and practices with Eco-friendly equivalents to reduce the overall carbon footprint or environmental consequences of landscaping. It is an excellent choice for many projects -and certainly a move in the right direction- but all too often it tries to meet the same conventional needs with “green” products without fundamentally healing our relationship with our land and environment.

The Rise of Permaculture

In the 1970s, Australian agriculturalists Bill Mollison and David Holmgren began to question the assumption that meeting human needs must come at a necessary cost to the global environment. Around the same time, Japanese farmer-philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka began piloting a system of farming that didn’t just reduce impacts on nature, but imitated and integrated with it. Independently they wondered if our relationship to the lands around us -and to the global ecosystem- could be one of mutual benefit and common resilience.  

Permaculture was born out of the desire to create human systems in harmony with the world around them. It imagines the built and natural environments supporting each other, giving back more than they take. Permaculture landscaping takes this philosophy into our own yards, harmonizing them in partnership with the natural world for the benefit of all. Even in our backyards we can make an impact to clean water, reduce carbon emissions and foster homes for native species.

How does it work?

Because permaculture systems work with -rather than against- nature, they can be far more low-maintenance than conventional or eco-landscaping. With careful observation, the right site can be chosen for the desired element, like an orchard, a deck, a greenhouse or a garden bed. With the right element, site and planning, systems can often be allowed to manage themselves. For instance, choosing a native meadow and rain garden instead of a lawn eliminates mowing, watering, pesticide and fertilizer use. Siting fruiting shrubs near pathways makes for easy harvesting and pruning on your way to the house. Selecting hardy fruit trees for exposed spaces provides abundant fruit and shelter for more sensitive plants.

Permaculture landscaping is all about obtaining a yield for ourselves and for nature. This means that permaculture yards give back to us in the form of food, beauty, space and functions like composting and water harvesting. Permaculture landscaping is also edible landscaping, because if you’re planting shrubs, why not plant those whose blooms mature into delicious fruit? Permaculture yards also give back to our neighbours in the natural world, attracting bees and birds with flowers, food and shelter; hosting a broad diversity of native and useful plants and creating healthy soils to support all life.

Work with the pros

Spruce Permaculture has three years and over a dozen properties of experience delivering permaculture landscaping to Edmonton. We are a pioneering company; one of the first to provide this exciting service and laying the groundwork for more edible landscapes in our community. Our team has creative design expertise to work with any yard from consultation to design to implementation and maintenance. We have  a wealth of gardening and planting knowledge to make any garden of eden come to life. We work with wood, water and earth to bring calm, beauty and productivity into your backyard.

Book a consultation with Spruce Permaculture today and unlock the beautiful, edible potential of your space!

Book a consultation with Spruce Permaculture today and unlock the beautiful, edible potential of your space!

Book a consultation with Spruce Permaculture today and unlock the beautiful, edible potential of your space!

Permaculture gives us a toolkit for moving from a culture of fear and scarcity to one of love and abundance.

- Toby Hemenway