Advanced Permaculture Design Course

At The Santa Cruz Permaculture Farm

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.

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.

Learning Objectives

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.

8-Day Intensive


  • Full Tuition: $1395
  • Partner / Spouse Tuition: $1195 (When one partner registers for the full course, the second gets a discount)
  • Early Bird Discount: $1295 (Register more than 30 days in advance)
  • Super Early Bird Discount: $1195 (Register more than 60 days in advance)
  • Teachers: $1195 (Special price for For K-12, College and University Teachers)
  • Youth: $1195 (Special price for ages 13-18)

Summer 2024

Tuition includes catered meals and on-site camping.
  • July 13  – 20, 2024
Previous slide
Next slide

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.

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!

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you can make up material you missed during the next session.

Please use the registration button above.

Cancellations up to two weeks before the course begins will be refunded, excluding a $150 processing fee. No refunds are given after that date.

Participants are welcome to defer their enrollment to the next session of the course.

The course is held on our 26-acre farm north of Davenport, CA, 20 minutes north of the Westside of Santa Cruz and 1 hour from San Jose or San Francisco. On-site camping and catered meals are included in tuition.
Course participants camp at the farm for the duration of the 8-day course. Our facilities are rustic, but comfortable. Building community around the campfire is a wonderful bonus! The farm is a gorgeous place where you will feel immersed in nature and enjoy spectacular stars at night and walkable beach access. There are restaurants and markets nearby in Davenport and Costanoa.
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.

8-Day Intensive


  • Full Tuition: $1395
  • Partner / Spouse Tuition: $1195 (When one partner registers for the full course, the second gets a discount)
  • Early Bird Discount: $1295 (Register more than 30 days in advance)
  • Super Early Bird Discount: $1195 (Register more than 60 days in advance)
  • Teachers: $1195 (Special price for For K-12, College and University Teachers)
  • Youth: $1195 (Special price for ages 13-18)

Summer 2024 

  • June 27  – August 3, 2024

Your Guides For This Course

David Shaw

David Shaw

Santa Cruz Permaculture
John Valenzuela

John Valenzuela

Cornucopia Food Forests

Lydia Nelson

Rehydrate the Earth

Dave Boehnlein

Terra Phoenix Design and the Bullock’s Permaculture Homestead

Ken Foster

Terra Nova Ecological Landscaping

Rita Manna

Ecological Concerns