SouthWoods Permaculture Design

 Permaculture Design and Education for Residential, Homestead and Broad Acre Living

Building Capacity in Soil, Water and Plant Systems for Families, Neighborhoods, and Community.

 Positions Available


Transitioning long fallowed fields to woodland pasture, perennial crops, and orchards requires a multilayered agro-ecosystem design.  After extensive site assessment accounting for climate, soil ecology, geology and existing ecological systems, we start by building low impact access to the functional spaces on the site and then develop water catchment systems for drought proofing.  Client objectives and goals are integrated into a new agro-ecology with over yielding and  multi-seasonal harvests, This is  required to support the stewards of the land and the ecosystem that supports them.   Plant selection is based on using species most suited to the climate and soils. Many of the plants are chosen because they build soil structure, provide beneficial habitat, and fertility supporting the anchor plants which are harvested for human consumption. Nutrients and organic matter is cycled back into the soil to maintain and build soil life.  The landscape is now diverse and rich with habitat.  It is an integrated forest garden, complete with small livestock to collect and spread nutrients across the landscape. A legacy landscape.



The Permaculture Train   Spend a beautiful summer day traveling to one of the Midwest's most beautiful Permaculture sites.  Tour Kinstone's ecological landscape,  naturally built architecture,  granite monolith's, and  food production systems.  Presentations on the train and on-site will explain the beauty of Permaculture lifestyles and systems in the landscape.

SouthWoods is located in the Spring Lake watershed and is a rich fertile island surrounded by wetlands. The permaculture principals are an integral part of every system at SouthWoods. They guide the decisions,  enrich the soil , conserve and collect natural resources, build flora and fauna diversityy, and ensure the sustained capacity of the residents.  SouthWoods is a living lab of design, plant systems and research. SouthWoods' PRI/Australia certified instructors teach the accredited Mollison PDC curriculum. Graduates earn the PRI/AU PDC certificate and are internationally registered and recognized. SouthWoods is the home of the non-profit PRI/USA, the fiscal agent and adviser for PRI master plan sites in the United States.






In 2006 during the summer solstice, Geoff and Nadia Lawton of PRI Australia visited our homestead for a workshop for PRI/Cold Climate. More images can be seen at the 2006 blog (contact us page). Geoff helped us refine the berm and swale design. Nadia introduced us to some of our native plants that also grow in Jordan.

Integrated Forest Gardening

The Complete Guide to Polycultures and Plant Guilds in Permaculture Systems

By Wayne Weiseman, Dan Halsey and Bryce Ruddock
Pub Date: August 2014


Permaculture is a movement that is coming into its own, and the concept of creating plant guilds in permaculture is at the forefront of every farmer’s and gardener’s practice. One of the essential practices of permaculture is to develop perennial agricultural systems that thrive over several decades without expensive and harmful inputs: perennial plant guilds, food forests, agroforestry, and mixed animal and woody species polycultures.

The massive degradation of conventional agriculture and the environmental havoc it creates has never been as all pervasive in terms of scale, so it has become a global necessity to further the understanding of a comprehensive design and planning system such as permaculture that works with nature, not against it. The guild concept often used is one of a “functional relationship” between plants—beneficial groupings of plants that share functions in order to bring health and stability to a plant regime and create an abundant yield for our utilization. In other words, it is the integration of species that creates a balanced, healthy, and thriving ecosystem. But it goes beyond integration. A guild is a metaphor for all walks of life, most importantly a group of people working together to craft works of balance, beauty, and utility.

This book is the first, and most comprehensive, guide about plant guilds ever written, and covers in detail both what guilds are and how to design and construct them, complete with extensive color photography and design illustrations. Included is information on:

• What we can observe about natural plant guilds in the wild and the importance of observation;
• Detailed research on the structure of plant guilds, and a portrait of an oak tree (a guild unto itself);
• Animal interactions with plant guilds;
• Steps to guild design, construction, and dynamics: from assessment to design to implementation;
• Fifteen detailed plant guilds, five each from the three authors based on their unique perspectives;
• Guild project management: budgets, implementation, management, and maintenance.

Scheduled Workshops:

Homestead Design On-line & Studio

Four On-line Tutorial Modules and three Studio Drawing Sessions

Advancd Permaculture and           Professional Design Residency      Applications being accepted: On-going starts for four - six week residencies start every two weeks.


Homestead and Harvest Design

The landscape is filled with possibilities. Hidden in your property are the ecological services to sustain an abundant lifestyle, for growing your food, collecting fresh rain water for drinking and reducing your dependence on purchased resources. This series will unlock the ecological capital that abounds within your landscape and the ecology that surrounds you. It will give you the skills and foresight needed to assess, concept, and design your property into a perpetual harvest garden.  Learn ecological landscape design language and technique while using the permaculture design process to create a ecologically balanced residence and abundant lifestyle.
Check the Education Page above for more details.

Call for further details on services and courses:  -    612-720-5001