- Awareness of the patterns that exist in nature (and how these function)
- Application of pattern on sites in order to satisfy specific design needs.
The use of patterns both in nature and reusable patterns from other sites is often key to permaculture design. This echoes the Pattern language of Christopher Alexander used in architecture which has been an inspiration for many permaculture designers. All things, even the wind, the waves and the earth on its axis, moving around the Sun, form patterns. In pattern application, permaculture designers are encouraged to develop:
"The application of pattern on a design site involves the designer recognising the shape and potential to fit these patterns or combinations of patterns comfortably onto the landscape" Sampson-Kelly. Branching can be used for the direction of paths, rather than straight paths with square angles. Lobe-like paths of the main path (known as keyhole paths) can be used to minimise waste and compaction of the soil.
It's easy to find examples of patterns in gardens. The British are famous for their patterns. And who hasn't driven by a corn maze, or even gotten lost in one?
Don't be fooled by thinking that patterns will take up too much space, or that making it pretty will make it too fancy. Permaculture is harmony in nature, and the patterns will help gentle your spirit.
Just give it a thought. Vikki