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Elizabeth Waddington

Permaculture and Sustainability Consultancy

Permaculture design, sustainability advice and environmental consultancy for individuals, businesses and organisations.

News and Inspiration

Why Trees Are So Important

In my design work, and in my own life in general, trees play a very important role. Most people are of course well aware of the role trees play on our planet in regards to the carbon cycle. But have you really considered all the many ways in which trees improve our environment and makeContinue reading “Why Trees Are So Important”

Forest Garden Tips

If you are familiar with my work, you will no doubt have noticed that I am passionate about forest gardens. This form of food production can provide generous yields for remarkably little effort once established. And of course there are many other benefits to forest gardening too – for our households, communities and the widerContinue reading “Forest Garden Tips”

Why Renovation/ Retrofitting Can Be More Sustainable Than Building New

When you think of sustainable living, it is likely that a number of different solutions spring to mind. You might think about a tiny home, that really cuts down your impact on the planet. You might think about a natural building, made of sustainable timber, straw bales, cob or adobe. Or you might think aboutContinue reading “Why Renovation/ Retrofitting Can Be More Sustainable Than Building New”

Increasing Yield in Any Garden

In permaculture gardens, one of our key goals is to obtain a yield. The higher the yield, the more productive, resilient and sustainable our gardens can be. Yield is theoretically unlimited… I recently wrote a short e-book for a client on how to increase yield in a polytunnel garden: How to Increase Yield: (without gettingContinue reading “Increasing Yield in Any Garden”

What is a Co-operative Paradigm?

Permaculture espouses the idea that a co-operative paradigm provides the best pathway to a stable, sustainable future in which permaculture ethics and principles are maintained. Within the framework of a co-operative paradigm, people can switch from being the cause for the world’s major problems to the basis for solving them. By finding a common seriesContinue reading “What is a Co-operative Paradigm?”

July in the Forest Garden

July in the forest garden is an abundant time. Soft fruits are the stars of the show. We have plenty of red currants, blackcurrants, raspberries, as well as the last of the strawberries and gooseberries. Harvesting and preserving are the order of the day. Even in a low maintenance garden like a forest garden, thereContinue reading “July in the Forest Garden”

Case Study: Community Resilience

For today’s case study, we’re returning to the New York permaculture design that we have already explored in previous weeks. But I wanted to zone in now on the community barn and surrounding lot. This area allows us to explore what a community needs for resilience. The multi-function space that the community barn will provideContinue reading “Case Study: Community Resilience”

Plastic Free Bedroom

I’ve previously written about how to reduce plastic waste and go plastic free in the kitchen, and in the bathroom. Next, let’s take a quick look at how to avoid plastic and reduce waste in another room of your home: the bedroom. In permaculture, we often talk about small, slow solutions. And that is justContinue reading “Plastic Free Bedroom”

Organic Pest Control Tips

One of the things that is often forgotten, even by organic gardeners, is that we need some pests to attract the things that eat them. It is very important not to be too zealous in your attempts to rid yourself of pests – no matter how annoying they may be. Often, people imagine that organicContinue reading “Organic Pest Control Tips”

Aquaponics and Its Role in Sustainable Food Production

As a permaculture designer, I understand that when it comes to designing food producing systems, one size does not fit all. In one location, a forest garden or agroforestry system might be the best solution. But for certain sites, especially in more arid climate zones – aquaponics is another very interesting, sustainable food producing systemContinue reading “Aquaponics and Its Role in Sustainable Food Production”

Plastic Free Bathroom

Moving away from single use and disposable plastics is something we can all do. But plastic is so ever-present that it can be difficult to know where to start. I find that it can be helpful to think about reducing plastic use inside your home one room at a time. I’ve already written a shortContinue reading “Plastic Free Bathroom”

Integrate Don’t Segregate

In our gardens and in our lives, integration can be integral to positive change. Lockdowns have left many of us feeling isolated and cut off from others. But in some ways, facing challenges together has brought people closer. Communities have come together – even as we have physically been kept apart. In a world ofContinue reading “Integrate Don’t Segregate”

What Are Nematodes?

Delving deeper into soil ecology can be a good move for an organic gardener. The more we know about our soil and what it contains, the better placed we will be to manage our gardens in an eco-friendly and sustainable way. One important soil dweller is one that many gardeners know nothing about. Nematodes areContinue reading “What Are Nematodes?”

Case Study: Losing the Lawn To Create a More Abundant, Productive Garden

In this case study, I want to share with you part of a design I created for one homeowner who wanted to overhaul her long, lawn-covered garden. It is designed to provide a restful and reasonably low maintenance space, which can be enjoyed by the family, and yet will allow for plenty of food production. Continue reading “Case Study: Losing the Lawn To Create a More Abundant, Productive Garden”

Midsummer Garden

Yesterday was a beautiful midsummer day. After a long country walk, I spent plenty of time keeping on top of things in the garden. Midsummer is a time of abundance – plenty of things are already being harvested, and everything seems so lush and green. Leafy greens – kale, chard, spinach, lettuce, etc. have beenContinue reading “Midsummer Garden”

Marvellous Moss

Mosses are very common in humid temperate climates. But many look past these incredibly useful and fascinating plants. Moss is considered by some to be an unwanted addition to a garden or outside space. But here, we actively embrace it. As well as seeing some on mature trees, we also see plenty on stones andContinue reading “Marvellous Moss”

Plastic Free Kitchen

Food packaging generally accounts for most of the plastic waste generated in most households, so the kitchen seems like a good place to begin. Reduce Plastic Packaging Reduce packaged food consumption by growing at least some of your own food. Buy unpackaged, local, organic produce wherever possible. Farm shops, wholesalers, local veg. box schemes.  TakeContinue reading “Plastic Free Kitchen”

Renewable Energy – Using Solar Energy is Not All About PV Panels

One day, you might be thinking, you’ll have the money to invest in photo-voltaic solar panels for your home. Many people want to start generating electricity renewably at home. But of course, this can be expensive. While you save up for this sustainable solution, it is worthwhile remembering that making the most of solar energyContinue reading “Renewable Energy – Using Solar Energy is Not All About PV Panels”

Tips For Small Space Gardening

The yield of a system is theoretically unlimited (or only limited by the imagination and information of the designer). (Bill Mollison, founding father of permaculture.) This idea can be an inspiration when it comes to gardening in small spaces. When you look at things a little differently, far more may be possible than you imagined.Continue reading “Tips For Small Space Gardening”

Nitrogen Fixing Plants in My Garden

Nitrogen fixing plants play important roles in a permaculture garden. Certain plants form symbiotic relationships with beneficial bacteria in their roots. These plants help to maintain a natural balance in your garden. For a green and eco-friendly garden, synthetic nitrogen fertilisers are never the answer. Nitrogen fixing plants are an important part of organic gardeningContinue reading “Nitrogen Fixing Plants in My Garden”

Case Study: Tropical Garden

The image above shows part of a permaculture design for a riverside plot in India, with an approximate location for a new home, with a natural swimming pool. A path leads down between fruit trees and a forest garden to a seating area and polyculture vegetable beds situated near the riverside end of the property. Continue reading “Case Study: Tropical Garden”

Case Study: New York State

I am currently working on a large design for a 52 acre site in New York State. The goals for this design very much adhere to each of the central ethics of permaculture. The broad goal was to maximise the capacity of the land in question to sustain wildlife and people, while minimising negative impactContinue reading “Case Study: New York State”

Planting for Pollinators

Pollinators are so important. But many key species that we rely on to pollinate our crops are in threat. The more we can do to protect pollinators, the better. Bees, butterflies, other insects and a wide range of other wildlife is required for healthy, strong, resilient ecosystems. The best thing we can do for pollinatorsContinue reading “Planting for Pollinators”

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