Advanced Permaculture Design Course

Advanced Permaculture Design Course

With Dave Boehnlein, co-author of Practical Permaculture &

David Shaw, Santa Cruz Permaculture

July 27 – August 3, 2024

Santa Cruz, CA

Do you want to gain more permaculture design experience? This 8-day Advanced Design Course is an excellent follow-up to a Permaculture Design Course. Join our experienced team of instructors while we practice together and share what we’ve learned over the years:

If you’ve taken a Permaculture Design Course, you know that this skill set has the potential to change the world. However, for most of us one 72-hour class isn’t enough to really deeply embed this knowledge into all our practices.

So, who is this Advanced PDC for? We’re looking for people who took a PDC and got fired up. We’re also hoping you went out into the world and tried to use what you learned. However it went, so long as you did something with the knowledge you got a yield of feedback. Whether your first permaculture design went well or had some hiccups, this class is a perfect next step as we will go beyond what usually gets covered in the standard 72-hour curriculum.

It’s also a great course for people who have, or want to have, a career in permaculture. This is an opportunity to be with other dedicated permaculturists and experienced instructors to help guide you to the next steps you need to sharpen your design skills to a fine point.

This advanced course will jump in assuming you are familiar with the basic permaculture concepts and ideas.  We will not be rehashing the permaculture design course basics, therefore, you may want to brush up on the foundational concepts and vocabulary etc. before you come.

Please take a moment and read about our learning outcomes and sessions below. If it sounds like a good fit for you, come join a professional team on an outstanding site for a week of in-depth skill development!

Registration includes catered meals and an online course reader, and participants are welcome to camp during the duration of the course.

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Upon successful completion of this course you will …

  • Be fluent with the design process and able to hit the ground running for any permaculture design project.

  • Have a deeper understanding of how context drives decision-making in permaculture design.

  • Have honed a variety of skills useful for improving permaculture designs you’re doing for yourself, family and friends, or in a professional setting.

  • Have produced a design for a real world client that can provide a start or a boost for your design portfolio.

  • Have gained a deeper understanding of the details required for some of the most frequently encountered design scenarios.


Course Topics

Pen & Paper Design Scenarios

Each day we will present you with a scenario that requires your best design thinking. These will not only teach you about designing in a variety of contexts, but also serve as a way to hone your familiarity with the design process.

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Implementation Skills Sessions

The best designers have at least some experience with a variety of installation and maintenance tasks. These sessions will provide you with some useful implementation skills that will help ground your designs in reality.


Element Deep-Dives

Certain elements appear in most, if not all, permaculture designs. Yet there isn’t adequate time to really dig into these elements in detail during a standard Permaculture Design Course. Here, we will go down the rabbit hole so you know much more about the nuances of designing commonly used spaces in permaculture landscapes.


Design Project Walk-Throughs & Open Studio Sessions

Dave has worked on professional permaculture designs for 15 years. He will share project walk-throughs to help you see how the process of permaculture design really looks on the ground. Then, we’ll offer a couple evenings where you can bring materials for your latest projects and get feedback on your designs from your classmates and instructors. Imagine a fast-paced brainstorm session with a bunch of people deeply invested in permaculture!

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Breakout Sessions

A series of breakout sessions will allow you to customize your learning experience. Several options will be offered during each breakout session so you can choose a topic that will be most helpful for you.


Real World Conceptual Master Planning Process

Threaded into the rest of the course, you will work with a team and produce a design for a real client in the area. You will present your design to the client on the last day of class. This will provide you with a real world opportunity to design something real and help someone out with your newly learned permaculture skills.

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June 27 – August 3, 2024

Advanced Permaculture Design Course

  • $1395 – Full Registration

  • $1295 – Early Bird Discount – Register Before June 20th, 2024 and Save $100

  • $1195 – Super Early Bird Discount – Register Before May 20th, 2024 and Save $200

  • $1195 – Partner / Spouse Discount – When one partner registers for the full course, the second gets a discount

  • $1195 – Teacher Discount – For K-12, College and University Teachers

  • $1195 – Youth Discount – Youth 18 years old and younger

  • Give the gift of permaculture! Purchase a gift card.

  • Please Inquire about Payment Plans, Low-income and Youth POC Discounts

Registration includes access to all course sessions, catered meals, and online course reader. Participants are welcome to camp on-site for the duration of the course.

Payment Options


Dave Boehnlein of Terra Phoenix Design and the Bullock’s Permaculture Homestead; David Shaw of Santa Cruz Permaculture; Lydia Neilsen of Rehydrate the Earth; John Valenzuela of Cornucopia Food Forests; Ken Foster of Terra Nova Ecological Landscaping; Rita Manna of Ecological Concerns.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I register?

Please use the PayPal link above. Registration includes access to all course sessions, catered meals, and online course reader. There is a PayPal Handing Fee included in the price. You do not need a PayPal account to register. Clicking on the Pay Now button will take you to the PayPal site, and then once you make your payment please fill out the additional form to complete registration.

Do I need to have digital design skills or experience hand drafting?

You don’t need any graphic design skills. Everyone can draw, and students will practice basic hand drafting. We’ll also have a session on digital design for people interested in workshopping that subject. The course is for anyone who has done a PDC, gone out and done stuff, and bumped up to some challenges and successes, and is ready for more. 

What is the refund policy?

If we cancel:

  • We will refund 100% if we cancel or postpone the course due to the coronavirus shelter-in-place directive, or low enrollment. 

If you cancel:

  • Up to four weeks before the course begins, you will be refunded excluding a $150 processing fee.

  • Less than four weeks before the course begins, you will be refunded 50% of your tuition.

  • No refunds are given after that date.

  • If you need to cancel but have someone who can take your place please let us know as far in advance as possible so we can begin pre-course communications with your proxy.

On the off chance that we need to cancel for some reason, we recommend booking a refundable airfare if you’re traveling from afar.

What is your COVID-19 protocol?

Please read our COVID update on our Courses page here.

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