What we do


Our mission

‘Is to conserve and regenerate the natural & cultural landscape by empowering individuals & communities to develop transformative strategies and solutions that create holistic human settlements’

Elemental Permaculture synergizes the professions of Landscape Architecture, Education & Creative Learning, Environmental Restoration, Community Development & the Creative Arts with the guiding ethics, principles & practices of the Permaculture profession.

 “Permaculture is the harmonious integration of the built and natural environment that provides human settlements with food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.

 The philosophy of Permaculture is one of working with nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation; of looking at systems in all of their functions; and allowing systems to demonstrate their own evolutions”

(Mollison,B. Permaculture a Designers Manual 1988)

About us

Practicing professionally since the mid 1990’s Daniel Deighton and Aaron Sorensen  have been engaging individuals & communities in the design and establishment of Permaculture projects for two decades.

Our design process

Permaculture as a design system assembles & integrates the natural, cultural, social, material & structural components in patterns and functions to benefit all life………….The pattern is design and design is the function of Permaculture.’

(Mollison,B. Permaculture a Designers Manual, 1988)

As Permaculture designers we work from pattern to detail:

  • Considering the ‘wild energies’ or bio-regional patterns – including sun paths, prevailing winds, rainfall, temperature, seasons, fire, flood, tsunami, earthquake, eruptions etc – that shape and mould the landscape.
  • Reading the landscapes response to these elements & energies in the form of soil types & processes; landform; vegetation patterns & processes; water flows & cycles; and wildlife habits and habitat.
  • Observing how people interact with the landscape and the elements and the cultural practices & vernaculars that have emerged & reflect the character and identity of a place & people
  • Listening to the client and communities needs, aspirations and intentions
  • Facilitating the formulation of a project vision that harmonises with the needs, opportunities and constraints of the natural and cultural landscape
  • Applying the Permaculture ethics & principles to guide decision making and finalise a set of design elements and components that are appropriate to the site, place & people
  • Analysing the design elements and components to develop a spatial arrangement or zones of use that integrate well with one another and the needs of the site
  • Exploring creative responses to the sites natural & cultural patterns to develop conceptual designs for review, refinement and detailed design development with the client.

 Our projects

Working with government authorities; community organisations; business & industry; schools & educational institutions; property developers; and private home owners, our project range from:

  • Broadscale environmental restoration and native reforestation
  • Permaculture community Gardens
  • The Permaculture classroom- school program
  • The integrated home and garden
  • Masterplanning
  • Permaculture training
  • Community development

Environment restoration

Applying natural resource conservation and land-management strategies; natural forest regeneration & weed ecology principles; native revegetation techniques; and community engagement & capacity building we have implemented major forest restoration and reforestation programs in our region.

Commencing in 1991, our major project has been the revegetation of the Tom Thumb Lagoon Wetland Catchment. Covering over 10 hectares, a highly modified, degraded and deforested catchment has been regenerated with hundreds of thousands of native plants

Establishing a depot – equipped with office & amenities, tools & equipment, nursery, food gardens, solar & wind power – and funded coordinator provide a training and community centre from which ongoing management & reforestation continues.

20 years on and the initiative has become an award winning landmark project that models the role, benefits and importance of community, corporation and government agency partnerships in environmental restoration & community development.

Permaculture Community Gardens

Using a participatory planning and design process we facilitate community groups & organisations to vision, plan, design, build, establish & maintain Permaculture demonstration gardens on public and private land.

We facilitate ongoing training programs including community governance & decision making; strategic planning; Permaculture ethics & principles; and foundation training in Permaculture practices to engage and build the capacity of communities to transform their visions and goals into actions and outcomes

The Permaculture Classroom – School program

In 2003 we developed a participatory planning, design and implementation approach to engage, empower and build capacity of school communities to establish Permaculture Garden classrooms.

The program applies permaculture ethics, principles & practices in a designed outdoor Permaculture Classroom to inspire children to go to school; to realise the full potential of student growth & learning; & support teachers in the delivery of environmental education & other curriculum from the Department of Education & Communities (DEC) syllabus documents.

The Gardens incorporate and integrate Subtropical, Temperate & Mediterranean Food Forest Guilds; four season annual food gardens; active & passive compost production systems; native revegetation & environment restoration; stormwater & catchment runoff capture, storage & recycling systems; aquaculture & animal systems; installation art & interpretive signage; training & demonstration spaces; and outdoor garden kitchens.

We developed a Garden Ambassador Training Program to build the capacity of students & teachers from stage 2 (year 3-4) in foundation permaculture principles, practices & systems management. The Garden Ambassadors become peer educators, creating a culture & pedagogy of ‘Kids Teaching Kids’ to support whole of school engagement in the garden.

The integrated home & garden

Working closely with homeowners we develop detailed Permaculture designs that integrate the built and physical elements to create beautiful, harmonious & functional living environments.

The building is warmed and cooled naturally and sheltered from climatic extremes. The transition from house to garden beautifully links internal and external living spaces.

Household needs are met onsite through productive landscapes that supply fresh organic produce; rainwater harvesting for domestic and garden needs; and renewable energy systems that replace fossil fuels.

Waste products generated by the house are processed biologically and reintegrated onsite into the landscape. Garden elements are sustained by these household waste streams and by overflows from rainwater storages.

The landscape is botanically and biologically diverse and garden elements range from water gardens, wetlands, and forested creek lines through to functional and productive plant assemblages.

Natural resources of stone, wood, earth and water of local origin are employed structurally and artistically, combining to create a house and garden aesthetic of visual delight and ecological abundance.


With nearly 50% of the world’s population living in urban environments, the present model of urban development cannot be sustained – an urban ecology must emerge.

Designers and developers, business and industry, owners and builders, individuals and communities all have a role to play in this transformation. Our collective decisions dictate the amount of resources required, wastes generated & energy needed to build and power urban environments.

Collaborating with interdisciplinary design teams we apply Permaculture ethics & principles across professions and community to guide planning & decision-making on urban and regional development.

Drawing upon our experiences of ‘working at the detail’ – in environment restoration; in schools & communities; and with integrated home and garden projects – we scale up ‘what works’ at the microcosm and apply these at the urban and regional scale.

Permaculture Training

To achieve our mission of ‘…empowering individuals & communities to develop transformative strategies and solutions…’ we facilitate advanced Permaculture training.

Utilising creative adult learning facilitation & accelerated learning techniques that engage different modes of learning (including audio, visual & kinaesthetic), we aim to both inspire and build the capacity of individuals and communities to lead change.

We co-facilitate the delivery of internationally recognised Permaculture Design Courses (PDC) with Brogo Permaculture and the Sydney Permaculture Institute.



1995 – The Laneway Community Garden Port Kembla (ongoing)

1998 – The Garden North Wollongong (ongoing)

2004 – Macarthur Centre for Sustainable Living Community garden

2005 – Glengarry Cottage Community Garden

2006 – Cringila Community Garden (ongoing)

2007 – Todd Street Public Housing Community Garden

2009 – Kiama Community Garden (ongoing)

2012 – Greenhouse Park City Farm Project (current)

2013 – Figtree Anglican Church Permaculture Demonstration Garden (current)

2013 – Koonawarra Community Centre (current)

2015 – The Friendship Garden, Wollongong(ongoing)

2016 – Edgeworth David Community Garden (ongoing)


2001 – Elonera Montessori School, Wollongong

2003 – Cringila Public School – (current ambassador program)

2005 – Coniston Public School

2006 – St Patrick’s Primary School

2007 – Kemblawarra Public School

2008 – Warrawong Public School

2009 – Kiama Public school – (current ambassador program)

2010 – Warrawong High School – (current ambassador program)

2011 – Mt Terry Pubilc School

2011 – Port Kembla Public School – (current ambassador program)

2011 – Coledale Public School – (current ambassador program)

2012 – Balarang Public school

2012 – Albion Park Public School

2012 – Oakflats Public School

2013 – East Nowra Public School (current ambassador program)

2013 – St Patrick’s Primary School (current ambassador program)

2016 – Coniston Public School (current)

2016 – 5 Islands Secondary College (ongoing)

2016 – Tempe Public School

2017 – Warrawong High School (Public entry design)

2017 – Albion Park High School

2017 – St John’s Primary School, Dapto


1995 – Demonstration Permaculture garden Third Ave Port Kembla

1999 – Permaculture garden, Isabella Pl, Kiama

2000 – Sustainable living centre – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2001 – Integrated wastewater & food forest Tomerong – G Proust & K Upton

2001 – Permaculture garden – Gloria cres, Lake heights. R. Murphy

2002 – Integrated wastewater & food forest, Dugiong – M Deligt

2002 – Permaculture garden, Whimbrel Pl, Berkeley – N & P Cross

2003 – Integrated wastewater & food forest, Menangle – F Borkma

2003 – Freshwater ecology garden, Earl Court, Berkeley – V. King

2003 – Freshwater ecology garden, Dido St, Kiama – R&F Poulton

2003 – Permaculture garden, Johnson St, Kiama Downs – D&V Knippler

2004 – Permaculture garden garden, Kana Pl, Oakflats – TS Low

2004 – Rural Permaculture, Terara Rd, Terara – M. Moseley

2004 – Permaculture garden, Panorama Dr, Farmborough Hgts – M. Boothey

2005 – Permaculture garden, Taminga Crest, Cordeaux Hgts – R. Bignell

2016 – Permaculture garden, Hospital Road, Bulli –

2017 – Permaculture garden, Donald St, Fairy Meadow – L. Long

2017 – Permaculture design, Hawken Rd, Tomerong – J. Hunter


2000 – Condominium’s K8, K9, K10, Malaysia, Sri Hartamas Sdn. Bhd

2000 – Town housing Bukit Antarabangsa 2A,B, C Sri Hartamas Sdn. Bhd

2000 – Town housing Johore Baru, Malaysia, Sri Hartamas Sdn. Bhd

2000 – Mosque Master plan Bukit Antarabangsa, Malaysia, Sri Hartamas Sdn. Bhd

2000 – Permaculture Institute Bentong Farm

2011 – Taman Petanu Eco Neighbourhood, Bali, Indonesia

2012 – ECO Solutions Lombok, Indonesia


Tom thumb lagoon wetland

Native revegetation; Saltmarsh wetland rehabilitation; weed eradication; Tidal mudflat rehabilitation / mangrove establishment; Tidal pond development; Wildlife habitat creation; Visitor amenities

Coniston woodland

Bush regeneration / environmental weed eradication; Visitor amenities installation – timber boardwalk, seating, track consolidation

Korringulla wetland

Boardwalk; track consolidation; Environmental weed eradication; bush regeneration

Mt Keira ring track restoration

Track restoration; bush rock step reconstruction; erosion control; Environmental weed eradication; bush regeneration

Thermal Ceramics Unanderra

Creek line restoration; weed eradication; bank stabilisation revegetation

Bhp Wongawilli Coal emplacement facilities

Creek line revegetation

Lake Illawarra Authority / atcv – wollamai foreshore

Creek line restoration / environmental weed control; Creek line profile restoration and revegetation; Wetland construction / revegetation; Visitor amenities installation



Vjohn@wollongong.nsw.gov.au Wollogong City Council Environment


Stephen.Goodley@det.nsw.edu.au Principal Warrawong High School, Director the Permaculture Partners

MARIA.ELSON@det.nsw.edu.au Kiama School Permaculture Classroom teacher




Kokhong50@gmail.com Director, Ng Kok Hong www.ayermatahari

hs_wong33@yahoo.com CEO Sri Hartamas Bhd Malaysia; Executive Director of 3 public listed companies Malaysia; director of Permaculture Poultry Farm Malaysia


pbs@shoalhaven.net.au Directors, Gerard Proust & Kelly Upton Bushland Services

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