Permaculture Design Consultation Services in Northern Michigan

We offer site design and land transformation services and will provide the help you need ….”to grow more fruits, nuts, berries, herbs and vegetables, than you ever thought possible on less land than you could imagine”…and to have a truly beautiful, “yarden”. 

Penny Krebiehl

Certified Permaculture Designer & Consultant, NMI Permaculture

Whether you just have a small urban backyard, or a 100 acre farm, we can get to work with you to design your site into an abundant food producing system that will last generations! We need more people like you!

About Penny

Penny Krebiehl has been sharing/educating through permaculture design since 2005, and is a graphic-recorder for courses and presentations, through the Mid-west & USA. Penny is a life-long Michigan garden-farmer, woods-wanderer, and arts educator. She is the founder of Northern Michigan Permaculture, a Certified Permaculture Designer and Instructor, and Member/Beginning Grower of the Bionutrient Food Association. As the originator of O’k CSA Cooperative, building a neighborhood, community gardening system in Traverse City, since 2004, she continues to serve the community/region. Penny’s work is focused through Northern Michigan PermacultureO’k Art & Design and the educational non-profit, Little Artshram, in Northern MI.


How it Works…

Everyone has their own unique work and planning methods, so I adapt my consultation to fit your style. Usually you begin by filling out a initial questionnaire so that I can get as much information as possible about your vision, needs, goals, and the existing site conditions.

After I’ve had time to review this, then we can set up an initial site visit/meet and greet, or phone meet up. From here we’ll begin doing a more in-depth analysis and assessment of the various features of your site; climate, topography, existing species, water movement etc.

Once we’ve gathered all this information, then we’ll move into the design phase where we begin to put the pen to map and start drawing up possible site design concepts. Once you’re completely happy with the design concept, then we’ll begin fleshing out the details; how many plants, costs, materials, width of paths, yards of compost etc.

Finally the fun part comes next; gathering all your friends and DOING IT! We adapting as needed to changing circumstances. After it’s all said and done, we’ll step back and see what worked, what didn’t, and go back to the start again on our design cycle given the new information!

The Design Process

Permaculture design is an ongoing, ever-evolving process that unfolds over years and decades, not just months. So in addition to being a designer, I also act as an educator to empower you do continue the design process yourself, and learn to work with the new systems we design.

This is a four-dimensional design process. We are designing on a number of different layers; 

  • physical – plant spacing, 
  • behavioral – management patterns, 
  • conceptual – goals values, 
  • temporal – development through time (100+ years).

What we’ve learned is that in a web (which is what we’re creating; a web of relationships; plant to human, soil to sun, etc) that there is no start and end. It’s not like writing a book where you start at the beginning and go till the end. It’s a cycle; you start out with a very blurry picture of what we’re designing together (in partnership with one another and the landscape) going over the whole process with broad strokes, then coming back to the beginning again to refine and clarify the vision, seeking out new deeper insights, new connections, possibilities etc.

You can see an outline of the design process below…

1. Goals Articulation – these are the rudder to guide the design process.

  • Questionnaire
  • 3 sentence Mission Statement (“Why” are you doing this, Underlying Values)
  • List of Specific Goals (“What” are you doing)

2. Site Analysis and Assessment – What’s there? So What? Look for patterns, Observation and Interpretation, understanding the relationships on site, start making connections…

Use the Scale of Permanence (below) – The features that are least changeable (most permanent) should be assessed first.

  • Climate
  • Landform (Slope, Contour etc)
  • Water Supply
  • Legal Issues
  • Roads/Access
  • Existing Vegetation and Wildlife
  • Existing Infrastructure (buildings, plumbing etc)
  • Zones of Use
  • Fencing
  • Soil (Fertility and Management)
  • Aesthetics

3. Design Concept – “How” you’re going to accomplish your stated goals, to fulfill your values.
Four Realms of Design:

  • Infrastructure – ex; Greenhouse, drainage, paths etc.
  • Architecture – ex; Garden patches, layers, density etc.
  • Social Structure – ex; species and relationships, niches, polycultures, guilds
  • Succession – ex; site prep, implementation, management, succession (designing in time, not just space)

Four Stages of Design:  – From large patterns/big picture down to details

  • Design Concept – overall vision, main organizing idea, how to achieve goals/mission, essence of the pattern, thumbnail design
  • Schematic – Rough location and relationships, bubble diagrams, direction of design (big markers on map) Brainstorm
  • Detailed Design – Fine pen/pencil work, filtering ideas, exact sizes/locations, width of paths, size of house, grading/landform etc
  • Patch Design – Zoomed in detail on each patch, How many posts, how much $ per plant, Management plans, fine details, # of plants, spacing etc.

4. Implementation – Gather the materials, bring together your friends and family and DO IT! You’ve planned the work, now work the plan! Adapting as needed, as conditions change.

5. Evaluation – Were we successful? What worked? What didn’t? Go back to step 1 and continue the cycle indefinitely, modifying either you’re initial expectations, or your follow up procedures.


If you have any more questions about the process, fees, or anything at all just contact us below. Once we get the questionnaire back, then we can schedule a time to meet on site, or talk on the phone and get to know one another. 🙂

Thanks again! I’m looking forward to helping you make your vision a reality!

-Penny Krebiehl, Certified Permaculture Designer & Consultant

Contact Us for More Info and to Get Started!

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