Advanced Training in Permaculture Design

Advanced-Permaculture Design Course (APDC)
A Two-Stage Training Beginning with Stage 1: The Recorded PDMC
Registration is now Closed for Stage 2 this year. Please check back for 2023 Dates – 
Prerequisite: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course (or Equivalent)
Fees
Limit 16 Students
Examples of Our Graduate’s Final Design Work

Beyond the PDC Training toward Professional Work

Supporting PDC graduates with their next steps.
  • Learn skills and techniques that are significantly more advanced than the PDC
  • Stimulating homework-design exercises between online sessions
  • Learn how to create professional-looking designs with simple software
  • Explore the key elements involved in setting up a successful design business

We will teach students who attend this training how to create designs such as the above.  Click here to see this full design in layers. You’ll also find a higher resolution map and can view a video of Bill and Becky describing the design of their home here at Midwest Permaculture. 
Matt Lebon of Custom Food Scaping
“It’s been a wild April.  4 days a week of installs with a part-time crew each week.  This weekend we’ve got an elementary school food forest to install.  Got some fun water projects done at the home base food forest as well.  Still riding the wave of APDC inspiration Bill!
Many Thanks.”
Matt – 2019 Graduate of APDC
Custom Foodscaping now has 5 full-time people in 2022

APDC Taught by Bill Wilson 

For those of you who have already been through a Midwest Permaculture PDC know that Bill will be giving you the most useful tidbits and resources we have to offer. And, he’ll deliver them in his relaxed, inspired and competent manner that makes it fun and easy to learn. (More on Bill.)

A Word from Bill:

A permaculture design is only as good as the integration of the elements included, customized to the client’s real needs, and anchored in the principles and ethics of permaculture. It is NOT about the flashiness of a computer-generated design map.  A simple pencil sketch can be twice the design as compared to a professional-looking digital map. 

That being said, I have also found that most people feel that they are getting a higher quality design if the work I do is digitized and looks professional. Delivering professional-looking designs is important if one wishes to earn a professional income.

And now that I am doing my own digital design work I am finding it to be actually helpful to me in the process of thinking through the creation of a design while putting it on the screen. I can easily add and subtract elements I’m thinking through and move them around the base map, giving me a quick view of different alternatives. Designing this way has become a comfortable and efficient process for me now.

I am not a highly competent computer person, so early on I hired others to create our design maps. But in the process of waiting for others to get to our projects, I found myself experimenting with various computer programs to get our clients their designs in a more timely manner. Slowly I discovered that with PowerPoint (or its equivalent) I could create almost anything I needed, in high resolution, great detail, and in layers! I didn’t need one of the more complicated design programs such as Illustrator, Sketchup, Gimp, or Inkscape. ‘Google Slides’ is a free-online alternative to PowerPoint and is incredibly similar, so I wholeheartedly recommend it as well.

There were some tricks or workarounds I needed to discover to get PowerPoint to do what I needed but by moving back to the permaculture principles of using appropriate/available technology and simple solutions, I have found a perfect permaculture design tool that already sits on many computers.

This being said, my primary goal for students of this training is that they deepen their design skills. Our real work is to create good, useful, and productive permaculture designs and the only way to get there is to get in some good practice designing with varying situations. I’ve got some great design exercises waiting for you from actual projects we tackled that forced me to stretch and think outside the box before I could see a workable solution. These will be great learning exercises.

Then secondly, we’ll get you started on creating professional-looking designs and how this might translate into designing for others so that you can make an income as well. If I can do it, you can too.

Looking forward to sharing what we know.

–Bill Wilson

Here is an example of a simple framework design, in sequence, that Bill created for one of Midwest Permaculture’s clients. With the use of PowerPoint, Bill will teach students of this training how to recreate each step.

First, we extract an image from Google Earth Pro of the property we are designing. We’ll show you how.

Then the signature block and scale are added.

On the earthworks layer, we design for the movement and holding of excess rainwater runoff.

In the next layer, we add the plants.

And finally the support infrastructure.
‘Framework’ Permaculture Design
These are the basics for what we call a framework design. For most people or clients, this is all they need besides the reasoning behind everything and then some follow-up guidance. We typically charge $2,000-$3,000 for something this size (1/2 acre) which includes one or two site visits, the design, and the follow-up consulting via phone or email. This is just for the design. No plants or labor.

What is a ‘Full’ Permaculture Design
If there is a desire for greater detail we can drill down and create what we call a full design which could essentially be handed over to a professional landscaper to implement. This would likely include design sketches of the earthworks, the species and exact cultivars of plants best suited for their property, where to purchase them from, price estimates, a timetable of what to do and when, and more. For this kind of detail there are many more hours of design work, research, and interaction with the client. The price for a full design for this property would likely fall in the $6,000-$9,000 range.  If the project is 10, 20, or 150 acres then the work increases and so does the price of the design service. $10,000-$20,000 is the range this work would fall in. 
Providing What is Truly Needed and Wanted
The point is, we want to give our clients what it is they need. We like to offer them options and give them enough to be successful but not overwhelmed. The ethic in permaculture of caring for people certainly pertains to one’s clients.  

Within 2 or 3 sessions online, students will be working enthusiastically together while deepening their permaculture design skills and understanding.

More Specifically, What Will Be Covered in this Training?

  • Design Exercises
    In the second half of the training, there will be 5 challenging design exercises from our actual clients. These were designs where we had to develop solutions that were not covered in the PDC curriculum — real-life challenges that required deeper thinking and creativity but still relied on the permaculture design ethics and principles. If we learn by doing, students will learn a lot by tackling these challenges. 

  • Earthworks
    We will drill down deeper into how to determine what sort of earthworks would be helpful on different properties. When do you design in swales, ponds, rain gardens, terraces, etc. ?  And what are the various techniques and finer details needed to implement this work?

  • Soil Building
    We’ll explore deeply how to build soil including basic soil analysis, formulation of what rock dusts to add, best soil building cover crops (annual and perennial), when and how to chop and drop, and what foliar sprays to use and when. Understanding the priorities and sequence of soil building techniques is how the best results are achieved.

  • Plant Selection
    We will share with students the sources we go to when we design our plant systems and invite you to access them until you become more proficient yourself. 

  • Marketing Your Design Service
    There are few secrets here. Bottom line is that we have to find ways to let people know that we are available to do design work and become the kind of designers others wish to hire. It is a huge wheel one has to get rolling but once it starts it becomes easier and easier. Are you willing to invest your time and deepen your skills in the beginning to get this going? If so, we will share with you how we did it.
    Becky (L) and Bill (R) with clients.
  • Selling Yourself and Earning the Client’s Trust
    Once you get a call, what are the best methods for increasing the chances that they will hire you? This is not as hard as it might seem but it is critical to being in business. We don’t look at it as ‘selling’ ourselves but rather being the kind of people who deliver on helping the client get what they want and being the kind of people they look forward to working with.

  • Pricing, Bidding, and Writing up an Agreement
    How much should you charge? We will share the steps we take from working up our bids (we will share samples), writing up a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU vs. a ‘Contract’), and how to set up the payment schedule. 

  • The Deliverables – What You Give to the Client
    Once you get the job what exactly do you give to the client, when do you give it, and in what form? There is much more than the professional-looking base map to delivering your design work. There may be spreadsheets with plant selections and timetables, PowerPoints with pictures and details of various design elements, and written documents with other details. Hint: Google Drive is becoming a real gift for us designers. We will explain. 

  • Do You Have to go Digital?
    Absolutely not. If you have the pen and pencil skills to create understandable designs then you will still gain much from this course. Remember, it is about the content and quality of the design that is important, not the delivery method. While some students are working on understanding how to use PowerPoint or Google Slides, others will be working with pencil or pen drawings. However, to be clear, we are not hand-graphic designers so will not be able to assist you in developing these drawing skills. We will however be digging deeply into understanding how to create the actual design regardless of presentation style. 

  • Installations and Ongoing Management
    Here is another income source if you have the time and ability to oversee the implementation of a design. Some folks really want a turn-key design/install and wish to look over your shoulder or join in while the project unfolds. We will share fully with you how we charge for these services including the responsibility one takes on when agreeing to oversee a design implementation. (Hint: It’s not a cake walk. You are working with people and all that comes with that. If you are in business you, or someone you work with, needs to be a people person.)
    Jim and Will burying four 1,000 gallon cisterns and then landscaping the area in a permaculture fashion.

Training Prerequisites
In order qualify for this training you must be a graduate of a recognized Permaculture Design Certificate Course. When you register we will ask you who you took your training from, the location, and the approximate dates.

This is a 2-Stage, Online Learning Experience

Stage 1: Recorded Property Design Mini Course (PDMC)
About 20 hours of webinar note taking and 20 hours of design exercises.
The PDMC contains an incredibly helpful review of basic permaculture design thinking and tools while also getting you acquainted with accessing online site data, interpreting it, and beginning the process of creating your own digital permaculture designs with PowerPoint or Google Slides. To qualify for the APDC Certificate, students will send in their notes and share the required design exercises with our teaching team. If we feel the notes are incomplete we will request that you listen to those areas again and resubmit your notes. To earn an APDC certificate from Midwest Permaculture we want to be sure you understand the basics covered in this first half of the APDC.

Stage 2: The Advanced Design Lessons with Bill 
12-Evenings over 4-Weeks: 

Online (Zoom) Classes on Tues./Wed./Thurs. each week
Registration in now Closed for 2022 – Check Back for 2023 Dates
There will be a required design exercise following each Thursday class for the next Tuesday submission. 
Students should allow 4-8 hours per week of homework time for these design exercises and to complete the required final design project. Your final design project can be of your own land or we will assign you a challenging alternative. Every session in Stage 2 will be recorded so, should you have to miss one, you will be able to grab the recording the following morning. Since this is an advanced-certificate training we do require that you send in your notes from any sessions you miss in person.  As with our other trainings, Bill asks that everyone’s camera be on so we can all be fully engaged. 

Fees and Registration
$1595
This is the full Price which Covers both Stage 1 (PDMC), and Stage 2

——–
Price for Midwest Permaculture’s 1900 PDC Graduates

$1345 
This is the full Price which Covers both Stage 1 (PDMC), and Stage 2
– – – – – –
Price for our PDC Graduates who have also taken the PDMC already
$800

You will need to submit the design exercises and final design project from your PDMC

“Thank you for an amazing training. I learned so so much about professional-permaculture design. Everything was interesting, practical and useful.  And the resources you gave us are probably unparalleled. I feel that I’m ready to start my own design business right now. Thanks so much Bill.”
Gail T. – Entrepreneurial mom with children finishing high school (44)

Low Risk Cancellation and Refund Policy
30+ days out receive a full refund less $100.
10+ days out receive a full refund less $200.
1+ days out  receive a full refund less $300.
We do extend a full Credit for the non-refunded amount toward future MWP Courses up to 3 years.

There are no guaranteed refunds for cancellations or withdrawals once the course begins.  However, in certain circumstances, we may extend partial credit toward our future courses.


Onlooker Policy

Onlookers Policy… Heck yes!
If you have a partner, friends, family members or children, that are also interested in permaculture and want to look over your shoulder during this online training they are certainly welcome to do so.
However… while online, they should be mostly observers. We can’t have 7 family members all jumping in with their questions and comments.
For each registration there should be one key person working on one design.
But we are delighted if others are able to gain knowledge, wisdom and wonder from this advanced training too.


What is Online Learning Like?
Probably the better question is what CAN it be like?  Online learning varies widely but from our experience we have been able to make our courses feel like we are all in a room together while also keeping the learning experience at a high level.  Besides, the content of the course is so compelling that we have found that the online technology became a real gift rather than a limiting factor.

Students have their cameras on during our trainings.

If you have never done online learning before do not let the technology stop you. Our tech team will help all who would like assistance with getting everything set up and working before the training begins. Email Megan with any questions () or call our course voicemail line and leave a message at ‪(815) 246-2894‬. We check messages twice a day.

Using a Zoom Room – Cameras On!
Several days before the course begins we will send you the URL link to the Zoom classroom we will be using. All you need to do is click on the link at the start-time and follow the simple prompts that appear on your computer. We’ll get you in. For the first sessions we will be online and in the Zoom room 20 minutes early so that we are sure everyone is in and able to see/hear us.

Please Note:
Bill asks that everyone have their cameras on during the training sessions (except for obvious situations when you need to get up or check out for a few minutes). Bill will not teach to a blank screen of names so if you wish to remain completely invisible, you might want to consider someone else’s trainings. Thank you for understanding the value we hold of teaching to people and not just a name. Bill will make exceptions upon request.

What Kind of Computer/Equipment/Internet Needed?
A laptop or desktop computer with a camera, microphone and speakers (headphones) is all that is needed, and of course, a decent internet connection. If you have a slow internet this could become an unpleasant experience for you as we will be sharing a fair amount of content. Maybe there is a back-up location you can access with a stronger internet?

If your computer does not have a camera or microphone, they are inexpensive to purchase and are easy to plug in. They are typically combined into one device and cost as little as $20 – $50. Please email or call us if you have any questions about this and we’ll get back to you with clear answers. (  —  815-246-2894)

 

Online Classroom Expectations
Probably not much needs to be said about this — we are simply interested in each of us supporting the creation of a constructive learning environment with a minimum of unnecessary distractions. We rarely have any problems with this and just ask that all students exercise consideration for others. To be clear however, we do reserve the right to ask disruptive students to leave a session, even the course, should that be necessary.


Main Focus is on the Temperate Climate 
Since these trainings are tightly condensed we won’t have time to explore many of the design variations called for in desert or tropical environments. The design basics are the same for any climate but most of the techniques and details in this training will be particularly relevant to the temperate climates where there are freezing temperatures in the winter.

If you live in a different climate, this advanced training will still walk you through the steps to designing any property, show you how to pull up online data for a site, interpret it, and teach you how to lay out a permaculture design basemap, but we will only be touching lightly on specific desert/tropical applications.

Questions?
If you still have questions feel free to email us at . You can also call our mini-course training line at 815-246-2894 and leave a voice message, but email is always best. 
Note: We attempt to check email and phones twice a day and will get back to you for sure. If we don’t return your call it either means we just could not understand your phone number or your call screening won’t let us connect to you. Please email us if you don’t get a call back from us within a day or two. Thank You. 

Additional Examples of Our Design Work using PowerPoint
We will show you how you can duplicate work like this as well.

Click on any of these to open them as a high-resolution .PDF file.

We will teach you how to save your work as .JPG pictures for emailing or as high resolution .PDFs. The .PDFs allow one to zoom into your work to see fine details if sitting at their computer or looking on their cell phones. It also creates great looking posters you can print and present to clients. 

All of this work can be done in layers so that you can turn on different views of your work to simplify concepts and understanding for the client.

You will be able to make any sized poster, handout or even brochures.

To be clear… just like permaculture design work, making these maps or illustrations takes some practice but it is not rocket science and can be easily learned if one is motivated and dedicated. 

We will walk you through everything and give you key aids so that when you complete your training you will have the resources you need and a trail to follow. 

We hope you can join us to learn how to do this inspiring work and help get permaculture thinking into the world. 

Seating is limited to 16 students for our Advanced trainings so register early if you can.

Cheers… MWP Team

Examples of APDC Students Final Design Work

Feel free to open these documents to see what others have created while attending one of our APDC trainings. You’ll notice that they are not all uniform. We teach you the skills and show you how to use some tools–you apply your own creativity with us at your elbow. 

Example 1
A 9-acre Educational Permaculture Project

Example 2
The Grounds of a Private Home Schooling Cooperative

Example 3
The 10-acre Lot and Home of an almost Retired Couple