Who? What? When? Where? Why?


The garden: from the space of our ancestors and predecessors to our own space to and future generations, from the depths of the soil to the reach of the heavens, from our back door to the wilds.


We moved in to Number 26 in June 2011. We implemented a first version of the back garden design in the winter of 2011/12. We enjoyed the summer and then moved out in October 2012 for six months while we renovated and extended the house. In that time we left the garden to its own devices and the builders, except for a little harvesting. We moved back in in April 2013 and began designing the whole garden: back again, sides and front.


Our home is in Hoathly Hill Community, on the border of East and West Sussex, UK. We live on the edge of the community, next to the car park.


I wanted to design our garden as part of the diploma:

  • to embed permaculture in my life and work
  • to gain experience in designing and gardening
  • to explore how permaculture can create productive, beautiful small gardens


We worked together as a family observing, evaluating, designing, implementing and reflecting. I got input from my diploma tutor, Pippa Johns, in tutorials and also supporting her and co-tutor Caroline on the Practical Permaculture Gardening course with Brighton Permaculture Trust. I got gardening advice from neighbourly gardeners, Emma Goodwin (running Hoathly Hill CSA scheme), Nir Halfon (friend, head gardener at Plaw Hatch Farm and teacher of permaculture and biodynamics), Jane, Jean-Laurent and Frieda (fellow community members). Inspiration from Martin Crawford’s forest gardening, Toby Hemenway’s Gaia’s Garden, gardening books from charity shops and libraries, Plants for a Future, companion planting, cottage gardens and visits to various gardens. Plants came from the Agroforestry Research Trust, Poyntzfield Herb Nursery and biodynamic seeds from Stormy Hall.


With intrepidation and joy!