Online Permaculture Design Course

29 May 2021 to 7 August 2021

Cost: R 7600 all inclusive

Partners Discount Price: Cost R 11000. {see FAQ below for more details}

We are running an online PDC, this is our pilot run based on over 16 years of teaching physical Permaculture Design Courses. The course runs as an event over 10 weeks and we will only be taking limited participants in order to facilitate a high degree of interaction between the students and teachers.

If you are interested in participating in this life changing event please follow the link below or go to the bottom of the page for more information on registering.



 How we teach the course

The course will be facilitated through a variety of modes and processes to ensure that the information gets conveyed and integrated that caters for the vast differences in the way we learn and integrate ideas, concepts and information.

The course will run over a ten week period and consist of weekly online webinars that are combined with the training materials we provide.

  • The course consists of weekly modules. The modules cover design themes.
  • Weekly Webinars to introduce a new theme and process and explain the tasks for the week, as well as a feedback Webinar at the end of the week.
  • Each module has a lecture series downloadable based in powerpoint.
  • There are supporting documents in PDF form as well as practical and research tasks to be achieved over the duration of the module.
  • Each module will have a series of video clips and movies to watch.
  • Each module rounds itself off with the participants having completed the practical work.
  • All training materials will be provided online and there will be additional voluntary reading work set-out.
  • As each module progresses the participants build a design with the final design being completed at the end of the course and submitted for assessment.
  • We will have a whatsapp group and a forum to communicate with each other over the duration of the course so we can foster a sense of community.
  • There will be a questions and answers session for every module.









What will we cover?

Learn all about Permaculture and Design your Property at the same Time

The online course covers the full permaculture design course curriculum through a variety of modalities. The outcome of the course will be a design done by you for a Site, Property, Business, Organisation of your choice, supported by the team in congunction with the unfolding curriculum. As we cover the curriculum, you will practically apply the teachings on a week by week basis as a course practicum and to ground the theory work you will be covering online.

Course Requirements

In order to participate in the course you will need the following tools, resources and abilities.

  • A computer and decent internet with enough speed to participate in Zoom Meetings, watch youtube and download movies.
  • Relative competence on a word document, basic ability to operate excel documents {very simple level of operating competence, mainly just listing}. We will provide links to online videos to explain how to operate the software to our level of requirements.
  • A to scale contour map of your property that is in digital or paper form. If you do not have one you can get a service provider to do a drone flyover with 1 mete contours. This is a very worthwhile investment for anyone who is going to move into a permaculture lifestyle.
  • At least a matric level of education and competence with basic researching and learning from texts, videos and lectures.
  • We would prefer designs to be done digitally on software of your choice. We can recommend open source software that will do the job but this is not a absolute requirement.
  • Designs can be done on paper and scanned or photographed and sent to us.
  • A cell phone with whatsapp.
  • Decent grasp of English.
  • Other detailed requirements relating to specific modules will be presented should we proceed with the course.
  • None of the requirements of the course are stringent and we do provide support along the way.

The primary focus of permaculture is self-reliance

One of the outcomes of the course will be to show you how to design systems to grow your own food and provide resources to serve your lifestyle on various scales, depending on your context. Due to the lockdown accelerated global economic collapse, we will need to be even more focused on self-reliance in food, water, energy and services. Permaculture Design is the ideal tool to apply to your perceptions, vision and action towards reaching the holy grail of life, self-reliance. We cannot trust governments and corporations to look after our best interests, only we can do that for ourselves and work together locally to ensure that our livelihoods, liberty and future prosperity is firmly in our hands. The design tools you will learn about in the course can be applied to all aspects of your life, to ensure abundance, health, gainful livelihood and increased potential in business for you and your family indefinitely into the future. Permaculture systems are resilient and are not subject to the ups and downs of the economy and society as mainstream systems are. This is because permaculture systems are embedded into nature, connected to local resources and people and as a whole provide essential products and services that people cannot do without.

Permaculture Concept

Learn all about permaculture, its principles, ethics, and how it applies to all aspects of our lives and that of our society.

Permaculture Design Process

Understand the step by step process of Permaculture Design. Learn how to observe and assess environments and sites, learn how to engage members of the the family or community into the process. Learn how to take the information you gather and craft it in a cultivated ecosystem that provides for all the needs of the people living in it in a way that is regenerative to nature and our culture.

Understanding Ecosystems and the Functioning of Nature

You will learn how to assess ecosystem function in your area and site, how to read the landscape and all the processes happening within it. We will look into the Pattern Language of Nature, how Climate Systems work, how to assess and understand the impact of land shape, water cycles, soils and plant ecosystems on your design thinking.

Themes in Design

Critical to understanding permaculture and applying it is to understand how to apply design into the themes of permaculture. These cover plants, animals, structures and buildings, water systems, soils, economics, society, and more.

Holistic Context

Essential to permaculture design is understanding the context of our lives from a Holistic perspective and developing a quality of life goal that guides what we are designing for and guides our decision making in design into the future. This crucial work by Alan Savory form the foundation of all good descion  making and gives a clear direction to designing.

Design and Management Tools

The course will cover the wide range of effective design assisting tools available to us in our process of designing homes, gardens, farms, neighbourhoods, businesses and more. We will use all sorts of interesting planning tools that enable us to properly time our interventions and activities in the establishment and management of our systems. These range from garden calendars, companion planting guides, mobile animal systems, agroforestry, swales, keyline scale of permanence, mapping, survey instruments, machines, solar systems and so much more. These tools and techniques are vast and context specific and learning about where and how to use them is vital to effective design and implementation.

Major Design Project

The main outcome of the course is the major design project. This is where you apply all you have covered and learn’t into completing a permaculture design based on the course requirements of a property of your choice. The course is the ultimate oppertunity to do a design supported by the facilitators and fellow students, where you can get expert inputs into your design process and have the structured environment of the course to ensure that the design is done effectively.

This process runs through the duration of the course and each module of the course, which runs over a week will result in a step of the design being completed so that by the end of the course you will have a permaculture design of your site that you can start implementing.


Course Curriculum Outline

Week 1

Introduction to Permaculture

  • The Permaculture Context

  • The History of Permaculture

  • The ecological basis for Permaculture

  • Self-Regulation

  • The Concept of Permaculture

  • Permaculture Ethics as a basis for action

  • The Principles of Permaculture

  • The application of Permaculture into Themes

  • Efficient Energy Planning & Zone Theory

Week 2

Ecosystem Understanding

  • Energy Capture and Accumulation in Ecosystems

  • Nature as a Pattern Structure and Process

  • Patterns in Nature

  • Accumulation and Distribution Patterns

  • Scale and Order in Nature

  • Application of Pattern Language in Design

  • The Ecosystemic Reality

  • The 4 Ecosystem Processes

  • Brittle and Non-Brittle Environments

  • Climate Patterns

Week 3

Understanding Landscapes

  • Land Shape and Keyline Classification of landforms

  • Pattern Dynamics of the Water Cycle in landscapes

  • Plant Ecosystems and Biomes

  • The Usual Suspects: Core keystone species in specific climate types.

  • Trees and their Energy Transactions

  • Animal Impact in Landscapes

  • The Predator Prey Relationship

Week 4

Permaculture Design Processes {the Land}

  • Observation and Design as distinct phases

  • Permaculture Design Process Principles and Core Concepts

  • Observing the Site Based Landscape

  • Intuitive Observation

  • Objective Observation

  • Mapping and Map Understanding, the Language of Maps

  • Types of Base Maps

  • Observation Value Overlays

  • Land Units and their Analysis

  • Sector Analysis

  • Slope Analysis

  • Regional Observation

  • Resources

  • Markets

  • Community

  • Data capture and Research

Week 5

Holistic Context of Design {the people}

  • Holistic Management Introduction

  • The Whole Under Management

  • Statement of Purpose

  • The Quality of Life Statements

  • The Forms of Production

  • The Future Resource Base

  • Developing the Design Directive

Week 6

Themes in Design Water

  • The duties of Water

  • The global water availability context

  • Water Sources

  • The Principles of Designing for Water Abundance

  • Regenerative Water Systems for the Urban Context

  • Regenerative Water Systems for the Rural Context

  • Surveying

  • Earthworks

Week 7

Themes in Design Soils and Plant Systems

  • The Living Soil

  • Testing Soils

  • Regenerative Soil Building Principles

  • Composting Systems Design

  • Compost Toilet Design

  • Animals as an agent of soil health

  • Mechanical Conditioning

  • Small Scale Approaches

  • Broadscale Approaches

Week 8

The Design of Cultivated Plant Ecosystems

  • The Function of Plants in Permaculture Systems

  • Core Permaculture Plant Niche Functions

  • Trees and Perennial Plants as the basis for Regenerative Production Systems

  • The Principles of Polyculture Design

  • Design of Pioneer Plant Layers

  • Species Selection and Functions

  • Annual Plant Systems

  • Food Forests

  • Agroforestry

  • Alley Cropping

  • Silvopasture

  • Wild Harvesting and Recharge Plantings

  • Shelterbelts, Barrier Systems and Fedges

  • Polyculture Design for Dryland Climates

  • Polyculture Design for Temperate Humid Climates

  • Polyculture Design for Tropical Humid Climates

Week 9

Themes in Design The built Environment and Energy Systems

  • Principles of Regenerative Buildings

  • Buildings as Energy and Resource Harvesting and Exchange Systems

  • Design for Dryland Climates

  • Design for Temperate Humid Climates

  • Design for Tropical Humid Climates

  • Efficient Energy Planning in House Design, the self-regulating house

  • Conservation of Energy usage

  • Energy Systems function and Design

  • Off-grid Systems

  • Grid Tied Systems

  • Energy Cycling

Week 10

The Permaculture Process, the Design Phase

  • Efficient Energy Planning

  • The Keyline Scale of Permanence {KSP}

  • Creating a Zone Map

  • Developing Components of a Design

  • Listing of Elements of the Design

  • Analysis of Element of the Design

  • Connecting Elements in Design

  • Applying Elements into Zones

  • Apply Sector Elements into Zones

  • Design of the Earthworks layer following KSP

  • Design of the Landuse layer following KSP

  • The Design Document

  • Presentation of the Design by Mid-April


Kent Tahir Cooper and Guests….

Tahir and has been practising permaculture for more than 25 years. He started his permaculture journey in the sub-tropics of Kwa-Zulu-Natal where he established and ran the peri-urban grassroots permaculture project Gardens for Africa. Over the years he has been involved in the following activities, programs and events…

  • In 2003 he moved the Klien Karoo where he founded the Berg en Dal Farm Permaculture Training Center.
  • He left in 2014, to establish and run Oudeberg Permaculture Farm with his wife Larissa Green, where they are now based.
  • Tahir has been teaching permaculture related courses since 1995 and has facilitated 25 PDC’s and a wide range of regenerative living related courses from Eco-village Design to Permaculture in disadvantaged communities.T
  • Professional Permaculture Design Consulting, assisting clients from South Africa to India where he has designed and a wide diversity of permaculture systems. Tahir specialises in farm design and management with particular skill, experience and success in establishing regenerative water harvesting and use systems from small to large scale that drought proof properties and enable water resiliance.
  • Completed a Diploma in Permaculture Design and Education from the The Permaculture Institute in the USA, various Permaculture Related Qualifications from respected practitioners such as Geoff Lawton {PDC}, Max Lindigger {Ecovillage Design} and Ali Sharif {Regenerative Water Harvesting Infrastructures} plus a Degree in Geography, a post grad course in Ethnobotany and more.

Tahir brings this vast experience and knowledge into the PDC environment, delivering a high-quality transfer of knowledge, skills and intuitive understanding of permaculture producing high standard graduate designers.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Will I get the same value out of a online PDC compared to a physical PDC?
  2. What are the benefits of an online PDC?
  3. How much time per day will the online PDC take?
  4. What qualifications do I need to participate in the online PDC?
  5. On what days will the webinars run?
  6. What is the duration of the online PDC?
  7. What site or property can I design on the course?
  8. What is the Partners Discount Package?

If these questions do not cover what you would like to know then please email and Tahir will assist you.


How to Register


  • Follow the link below or on the menu and fill in the registration form and click send.
  • We will send you an invoice so you can make your payment.
  • All amounts are due 7 days from receipt of invoice. Your spot will be held for these 7 days and thereafter only if payment is received.
  • Payment plans are available on special request and approval only and will be reflected in your invoice.
  • We reserve the right to cancel the course and will not be held liable for any additional costs incurred by potential participants.
  • A full refund of all monies paid to us will be made if we need to cancel the course for any reason what so ever.
  • There are limited places on the course, if we full up we will place you on a waiting list should there be a cancellation.

 Cancellation policy.

  • A full refund will be issued if a cancellation is made 30 days prior to the course commencement.
  • Cancellations less than 30 days prior to course commencement will only be refunded if a replacement booking is made and will be paid when the replacement booking has been paid for.
  • If no replacement booking is made then a 50% refund will be issued on the day prior to the course commencement.


  1. The online PDC and the physical PDC follow the same curriculum structure and both are equally valid and recognized from a certification perspective. The value of the course depends entirely on the attention and effort you put into it. The one system is not better or more effective than the other, they are both highly effective in educating and capacitating the participant in understanding permaculture and how to apply permaculture design into your life context.
  2. The online PDC offers many benefits that you will not find in a physical course.
    • Firstly the cost of the course is cheaper as there is no accommodation, travel and meals involved.
    • The course occurs over a much longer period, which allows you much more time to absorb, research and apply the information you will be learning about. There is far less pressure as the online course allows you to self pace. Therefore we can go into more detail and diversity of information and learning than in a physical course. The online course is a deep dive.
    • You will be working on your own, with the support of the team and other participants via our online forums and platforms. This means you can learn within your own particular style and access modalities, so the experience may well be more relaxing for people who do not learn well in a group context. There are plenty of sharing opportunities built into the course system so that anyone wishing to engage more closely with the participants on the course can do so.
    • You have the opportunity to design your own chosen site on the course and we use the course to facilitate you in the design of that site or context. The outcome of the course is a completed design of your site. This is not possible in a physical course, where you design in groups a chosen site at the training farm.
    • The online course has a diversity of practicals and research projects that you will do at home on your own, facilitated and monitored by the team. This means everything you are learning and putting into practice is done in the context of your personal life.
    • Not everyone has the time to attend a physical course. The online course allows you to attend a PDC in the comfort of your home and continue your life while learning about permaculture and designing your site.
  3. That depends entirely on how deep you want to dive. The essentail and compulsory work should not take you more than 2 hours a day, which entirely depends on how you pace yourself. We provide additional reading and research to do, should you want to, but the basics should not take more than 5 to 10 hours per week, excluding the webinars.
  4. A good grasp of English both spoken a written, an ability to read maps and basic arithmetic. We will provide preparatory reading lists for participants to follow beforehand, should you wish.
  5. The webinars will run on Saturday and Sunday mornings each week. The modules will start each week with a explanatory session on Sunday and finish each week with a feedback session on Saturday.
  6. Ten Weeks, running from  29 May 2021 to 7 August 2021.
  7. Any site that you would like. We will assess the design choices before we start the course to make sure you have not bitten off more than you can chew. We suggest you design your own home or that of a family member or friend that is most likely to get implemented.
  8. If you and your partner would like to attend the course and design your property together, then we offer a package that will allow both of you to fully participate in the course and share in the journey together, while saving money. Beginning the permaculture journey, which is an exceptionally transformative and empowering experience, together is invaluable in a relationship, family or business context and will ensure a harmony and collective focus in designing you future together. You will both have full access to all the course processes, tools and benefits and will both receive an individual PDC certificate. However you will both have to work together on the course exercises and major design project. This will enable both of you to participate in the visualisation and design of your reality together.

Pin It on Pinterest