Forest Garden

My first permaculture design was for my parent's home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA. I converted their lawn into a forest garden in order to serve the health of the trees they had planted which would have soon shaded out the ability to maintain healthy grass.


Located in the Piedmont, my parent's place had a very long growing season (can you imagine- the header image is late March!) and heavy clay soil.

With only a brief experience helping out in a community garden in Tampa, I took to heart the permaculture design process laid out in Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier's 'Edible Forest Gardens' two volume series and got to work planning. The power of permaculture design and principles, clearly communicated, allowed even a novice like myself to have the confidence to start a big project.

Within a few months much of the backyard was set upon a new path with water harvesting, guilds, and even annual vegetable production.

Over the next few years I learned basic photography skills and documented the transition as carefull as I could because there was, at the time before major social media, a dearth of content related to permaculture online.

Eventually I complied a 147-page report on the project which was published on Permaculture News and even translated into Chinese for inclusion in a book on Natural Gardening.


The existing trees responded rapidly to the application of what are now known as soil health principles. The soil was covered, it had diversity, and all due attempts were made to increase the amount of sunlight being harvested. Native plants were introduced alongside classic permaculture pioneers like hybrid comfrey. Even classic chemistry soil tests demonstrated that the efforts had improved fertility in a very short period of time. Needless to say, I was hooked! In June of 2021 I moved to Finland.