Permaculture Design for Conserving Water


This course introduces the ecological design approach known as permaculture and shows how it can be used to create water-wise landscapes in dry climates.

Permaculture combines concepts and principles derived from nature with research from ecology and sustainability fields to help design healthy landscapes, homes, and communities that reduce resource use, are low-maintenance, and are self-renewing. You will learn about specific techniques that work in a dry climate, and gain a general understanding of permaculture design and application.

Toby is well-known for his skill at taking technical, scientific information and making it readily available to everyone, regardless of science background. In this course, Toby offers 8, very clear strategies for achieving a water-wise garden. He covers a variety of techniques to help you carry-out each strategy. In addition, he introduces the many benefits, besides water conservation, that come with implementing each water-wise strategy.

By the end of the course, you will have the knowledge necessary to begin implementing water conservation techniques in your garden. Water is a precious resource. Toby gives you no excuse not to embrace water-wise gardening. So dig in and enjoy!

This course was created from Toby’s keynote address at Rethinking Idaho Landscapes, a forum presented by the Idaho Botanical Garden and the University of Idaho on February 22, 2014 in Boise, Idaho.

About Toby Hemenway

Toby Hemenway is the author of Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, which was awarded the Nautilus Gold Medal in 2011, was named by the Washington Post as one of the ten best gardening books of 2010, and for the last eight years has been the best-selling permaculture book in the world. Toby has been an adjunct professor at Portland State University, Scholar-in-Residence at Pacific University, and has taught over sixty 72-hour permaculture design courses. He has presented lectures and workshops at major sustainability conferences such as Bioneers, SolFest, and EcoFarm, and at Duke University, Tufts University, University of Minnesota, University of Delaware and many other educational venues. His writing has appeared in magazines such as Natural Home, Whole Earth Review, and American Gardener. He has contributed book chapters for WorldWatch Institute and to several publications on ecological design.

After obtaining a degree in biology from Tufts University, Toby worked for many years as a researcher in genetics and immunology, first in academic laboratories including Harvard and the University of Washington in Seattle, and then at Immunex, a major medical biotech company. At about the time he was growing dissatisfied with the direction biotechnology was taking, he discovered permaculture, a design approach based on ecological principles that creates sustainable landscapes, homes, and workplaces. A career change followed, and Toby and his wife, Kiel, spent ten years creating a rural permaculture site in southern Oregon. He was the editor of Permaculture Activist, a journal of ecological design and sustainable culture, from 1999 to 2004. He moved to Portland, Oregon in 2004, and spent six years developing urban sustainability resources there. Toby and his wife now live in Sebastopol, California.