I am writing to you from Quebec City Airport.
I just finished setting up a client and their new property.

I want to tell you how I did it. 

Essentially, how Permaculture works (+ 3 example sites). 

Every client I help receives these 3 services:

  1. Analyze a property’s potential. (What it is now and what it could become.)
  2. Clarify client needs and wants. (If they aren’t crystal clear you likely won’t get them.) 
  3. Create design solutions. (Marry the property potential with your goals.)



Just as a doctor studies a patient, you want to know your property…
For indicators of issues, for a baseline of where it is now, and to strategize for health to come. 

But let’s use a more romantic analogy.
I think of it like dating… 

…hear me out.  

Every landscape is already trying to be its best self.
It’s worthy just as it is… but you need to decide if YOU want to saddle up with it.
Some landscapes are going to meet your needs better. And you, theirs.

Analyzing it is like going on the first few dates. 

Do you know your landscape? 
Do you want to see it succeed, so it, in turn, can help you succeed?

We all should want this.
When our environment thrives, WE thrive.

Nature is built on mutualism.
It comprises the majority of relationships found in any ecosystem.
A coral reef, a mangrove, a forest. 

Maybe we can learn from nature, eh? In service is abundance.
Who knew your property could be your Dr. Phil??

So step 1 is taking the time to see a landscape. 
It’s soil. It’s water. It’s wind. It’s sunlight. 

This informs both:
(a) what it is, and
(b) what it wants to become…

NOW we can input energy & speed up your land’s evolution and tweak its expression.
Can it be so simple to make a space with income, food, recreation, and so much more?


NOTE: At times we can also input our energy to resist nature.
Just remember… nature always wins.
(“Work” is a failure of design. Design the work out.)

PICTURE: Teaching a client how to do surveying to best use water on their property. 

Surveying Permaculture



All design sets to achieve something.
And it either fails, succeeds, or excels.

Whether it’s a bridge, a car, or our property.
Each should be carefully made for its users and purpose.

So what’s the purpose of your property?
To answer that you need to first answer, “What do you want in your life?”

… THEN we can design a property around it. 
If you aren’t clear, the design can’t be clear.

 …You will waste money and labour.
…Heck, you won’t even know when you “arrive,” or worse, you might marry the wrong property. 

No one designs a bridge with unclear expectations of its ability to be a bridge and safely get us from A to B… Why should we treat a property any differently?

So the real question now is…
What do you want?

PICTURE: This is your picture reminder to sit down and do some reflecting. These are big questions. 



Knowing our land and where we want to go, now comes the matchmaking awesomeness.

Yes, matchmaking! 
(Who knew Permaculture was so sappy with all this dating stuff?)

It’s time to match how we shape your thriving property system with your goals so you are thriving within it. 

And this is where Permaculture excels.
After all, it is the science of “interconnected system design”!

Whether it’s a home system within a climate system.
(ex. Passive solar strawbale house or earthship).

Whether it’s a food system within an ecosystem.
(ex. Food forest or Hugelkultur swale garden bed)

Whether it’s a business system within a social system.
(ex. Air BnB + casual U-pick property that doubles as a wedding venue)

The result of working all this integration and interconnection into a design is:

  1. Resilience (able to withstand shock)
  2. Efficiency (less money and work)
  3. Beauty (“If you aren’t copying nature, you are wasting your time” ~Leonardo da Vinci 

Want to see some examples?

1) Bernadette – A City Homestead of Food

We INTERCONNECTED the grass and ornamental trees by “removing” them…
… and turning them into compost, mulch, raised beds, and a Hugelkultur. 

We also put in fruit trees so they are interconnected with the house.
They make food… but also shelter the house from the summer sun and winter winds. 

We also interconnected her food with her community. Her sidewalk is edible.
Now kids leave painted rocks to exchange in her garden & she gives community tours. 

You can see pictures and read more of her property in this blog post called:
“How to Grow Food In The City”  >>>HERE<<<



2) Living The Off-Grid Dream – A Budding 160-Acre Demonstration Site

First, I identified every possible pond location on their dry hot mountain in southern BC. 
Over the next year, we will install the ponds that will have the most impact. 

We already put in the highest and lowest points to slow, store, and soak the water in.
In Permaculture we call these two points “Source & Sink”.

And I am just finishing making them their giant “pond” so they can fight summer fires. 
It’s called Paradise Pond and it’s also going to make a gorgeous wedding venue. 

After it’s done, we are moving onto a network to make their yellow dry summer mountain into an oasis. 

See pictures and read about the design & installation of these ponds in this blog post:
“Making Paradise: A Guide” >>>HERE<<<



Remember how I said I was in Quebec City, having just finished doing a consult for a client?
Together we are making a 3-step project for their property:

1) Income
2) Permaculture demonstration site
3) A community

Tell you more soon!


Looking for your call to action? 🙂

  1. Want me on your team? For buying land, creating a design, or install (might even be able to bring my students…).

  2. Want to become your own property designer and installer?

  3. Want to win a free tiny house? Get your friends and family to sign up! It’s about to wrap up!


Kenton Zerbin

(Kenton is a passionate educator for sustainable living who lives in an off-grid tiny house in southern BC. Kenton runs a wide array of workshops on tiny homes, sustainable living, and edible landscaping. He also does consulting and design for homeowners, communities, and businesses)

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