Twelve principles for twelve months – January- Design from pattern to detail.


One of the most important elements of Permaculture are the twelve principles. The fact that there are twelve of them really appeals to me. Twelve hours on the clock, twelve years of childhood, twelve months of the year. When I did my Permaculture introduction course and learnt about the principles, I quickly related to a number of them, but others I still struggle to remember now even after being interested in Permaculture for a number of years.

I have decided to take one principle each month throughout 2014, and spend some time thinking about it and seeing how I am/ how I could apply it to my own life. I am hoping that this approach will not only help me to learn all the principles but also provoke interesting learning about my own life and how I apply Permaculture within it.

For January I have decided to start with DESIGN FROM PATTERN TO DETAIL. I want to use this principle in three ways, more may well occur to me as the month rolls on.

1. I intend to look at my plans for 2014, my diploma journey and personal objectives. I will consider what I want to achieve, learn, make, read, visit and produce. I will start with the pattern, a rough sketch of the year as a whole. Then I will begin to draw in the details. Plans for each month, each week and sometimes each day.

2. I will look at patterns and details in nature. My background is in Fine Art so I will start by looking from a purely visual point of view, finding aesthetically pleasing patterns and drawing or photographing them. Then I will consider how I could use these in my designing. I can see this being a project that will roll on well beyond the limits of January!

3. I will work on the design for my own garden. I will redesign the food production areas and develop a planting plan. I will be starting from a broad pattern of what I want to grow then narrowing down details to include locations of crops and good companions. It feels like the best time of the year to be doing this type of work, getting ready for springtime. I am looking forward to pouring over seed catalogues and images of gardens for inspiration and to brighten up these cold, dark January nights.


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