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With this book, Dr. Ross Mars provides a high-level yet thorough introduction to the interwoven strands of Permaculture design:  definitions of terms, descriptions of principles, and suggestions to try from maximizing edge in gardening to using solar food dryers.
Where to get it?
Permaculture Principles.com (Australia)
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I give this book 9 out of 10 acorns.

This book is a fantastic introduction—it gets my vote as best Permaculture primer. Think Gaia’s Garden, without the glossy pages and photos, packaged in a small paperback, with line drawings...Okay, that might seem hard to imagine, but in a smaller, lighter-weight way The Basics of Permaculture Design is just enough “why” to support just enough “how” to get people seeing our lifestyles in a new way, and get mental gears turning as to new projects and patterns and decisions, covering a lot of what Hemenway’s books both did.

Content is very good, and presentation excellent: the path of information presented through the chapters seems to spiral out in a natural way, perfect for the curious beginner trying to figure all this Permaculture stuff out. The info-spiraling starts with a look at what sustainable/regenerative land use is in the first place, and how Permaculture gives us the tools—design principles—for benefitting all forms of life while cultivating crops for human needs. Then the author covers the basic of design principles and the steps of the design process.

I haven’t ever seen another book with a chapter specifically devoted to design tools. Martin Ducker provided the many illustrations for this book, and he did a great job with the black and white line drawings for each chapter, but there’s something particularly charming about his illustrations of pencil sharpeners and tape measures in Chapter 5.

Continuing through the book, we find a very large Chapter 10, on Designs for Urban Settlement. Sharing lots of ideas and projects for Permaculture in the city, this chapter might be one of the most useful in the whole book for most people. And the following chapter covers design ideas for rural properties, for those with more land to work with.

The last chapters spiral out into Permaculture design for communities, and appropriate technology, which are important topics to bring up to newbies who may only think of Permaculture as a gardening thing.

Suitable for a beginning book, it has a concise glossary before the bibliography and index. The last few pages are blank, perfect for the reader/new designer to make notes on! It's a portable size so this book can travel all over the property with the reader now inspired to do some design. This book is not overwhelming at all, even though it covers so much. It is encouraging and inspiring and well as fact-filled and usable!

We are only limited by our imagination. Each of us has the ability to make some difference in the world in which we live.
--Ross Mars, The Basics of Permaculture Design, p.3

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