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Incorporating Permaculture Principles into St. Louis Landscaping

Fellow St. Louisans! Ever wondered how we could make our city’s landscapes more sustainable and vibrant? Well, In this blog post, Rightway Forestry dives to the exciting world of permaculture! By incorporating permaculture principles into St. Louis landscaping, we can transform our urban spaces into thriving ecosystems that benefit both people and the planet. From capturing rainwater to growing delicious fruits and veggies, there’s a whole host of possibilities waiting to be explored. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and discover how we can make St. Louis greener, healthier, and more resilient together!

Understanding Permaculture

Permaculture, derived from “permanent agriculture” or “permanent culture,” is a holistic design approach that seeks to create harmonious and self-sustaining systems modeled after natural ecosystems. Developed by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the 1970s, permaculture emphasizes principles such as observation, diversity, integration, and regenerative practices. By applying these principles, permaculture aims to minimize waste, conserve resources, and foster ecological balance.

At its core, permaculture encourages thoughtful interactions between humans and the environment, emphasizing the importance of working with nature rather than against it. By carefully observing natural systems, permaculturists seek to identify patterns and principles that can be applied to diverse settings, from urban gardens to rural homesteads. Through techniques such as companion planting, water harvesting, and soil regeneration, permaculture aims to create self-sustaining ecosystems that require minimal inputs while maximizing yields. It promotes resilience, biodiversity, and community empowerment, offering a pathway towards a more sustainable and harmonious way of living on Earth.

Applying Permaculture Principles in St. Louis

Incorporating permaculture principles in St. Louis presents an opportunity to address urban challenges while promoting sustainability and resilience. By implementing strategies like rainwater harvesting, edible landscaping, and native plantings, the city can mitigate stormwater runoff, enhance food security, and support local biodiversity. These practices not only improve environmental quality but also foster community engagement and economic vitality. Through collaborative efforts among residents, businesses, and policymakers, St. Louis can create vibrant, regenerative landscapes that benefit both present and future generations.

St. Louis, situated in USDA Hardiness Zones 5b to 6a, experiences a range of climatic conditions, including hot summers and cold winters. Incorporating permaculture principles into landscaping can help address various environmental challenges while promoting biodiversity and resilience. Here are several ways to integrate permaculture into St. Louis landscaping:

Water Harvesting and Management: 

St. Louis often faces issues of stormwater runoff and water scarcity. Permaculture techniques such as rainwater harvesting, swales, and permeable paving can help capture rainwater, replenish groundwater, and reduce erosion. Installing rain gardens and bioswales in public parks and residential areas can mitigate flooding while providing habitat for native plants and wildlife.

Water harvesting and management involves collecting and storing rainwater for various uses, such as irrigation, landscaping, and household needs. In St. Louis, integrating water harvesting with land management services can enhance sustainable practices. By capturing rainwater through techniques like rain barrels, cisterns, and permeable surfaces, excess runoff can be reduced, alleviating strain on stormwater infrastructure. This collaboration between water management and land services promotes conservation, minimizes erosion, and fosters healthier ecosystems, contributing to overall landscape sustainability.

Water harvesting and management are vital components of sustainable land use practices, especially in areas like Lake Saint Louis. By implementing water harvesting techniques such as rainwater collection systems, swales, and permeable surfaces on cleared land, we can mitigate stormwater runoff and replenish groundwater resources. These strategies not only promote water conservation but also create opportunities for exploring alternative uses for cleared land, such as establishing community rain gardens or constructed wetlands. By integrating water harvesting with land redevelopment efforts, Lake Saint Louis can enhance environmental sustainability while maximizing the potential of cleared areas.

Edible Landscaping: 

Incorporating edible plants into urban landscapes not only enhances food security but also promotes community engagement and ecological resilience. Community gardens, fruit orchards, and food forests can transform vacant lots and unused spaces into productive and vibrant areas. By growing a variety of perennial fruits, vegetables, and herbs suited to the local climate, St. Louis can create sustainable food systems and foster a deeper connection to nature.

Edible landscaping transforms conventional green spaces into productive and sustainable areas by incorporating edible plants like fruits, vegetables, and herbs. In St. Louis, linking edible landscaping with land restoration services presents an innovative approach to environmental stewardship. By restoring degraded or underutilized land with edible plants, such as fruit trees in urban orchards or community gardens on vacant lots, land restoration efforts become multifunctional. Not only do these projects enhance biodiversity and soil health, but they also provide opportunities for community engagement, food access, and education. Edible landscaping thus becomes a catalyst for holistic land restoration and sustainable urban development.

Native Plantings and Wildlife Habitat: 

Utilizing native plants in landscaping projects supports local biodiversity and ecosystem health. Native plants are adapted to the region’s soil, climate, and wildlife, requiring less maintenance and resources than exotic species. By creating habitat corridors and wildlife-friendly gardens, St. Louis can provide refuge for pollinators, birds, and other beneficial wildlife species. Incorporating native grasses, shrubs, and trees in public parks, streetscapes, and green spaces enhances urban biodiversity while beautifying the cityscape.

Native plantings play a crucial role in creating wildlife habitats and promoting biodiversity in St. Louis. By incorporating indigenous plant species into landscaping projects, we provide food, shelter, and nesting sites for local wildlife, including birds, insects, and small mammals. These plants are adapted to the region’s climate and soil conditions, requiring minimal maintenance and resources. Additionally, native plantings help restore ecological balance, support pollinators, and reduce the spread of invasive species. By prioritizing native plants, we can cultivate vibrant ecosystems that contribute to the health and resilience of St. Louis’ urban environment.

Perennial Polycultures and Guilds: 

Designing planting schemes based on perennial polycultures and guilds mimics the structure and function of natural ecosystems. By interplanting complementary species that support each other’s growth and resilience, St. Louis landscapes can increase productivity, reduce pest pressure, and improve soil fertility. For example, planting nitrogen-fixing legumes alongside fruit trees and perennial herbs creates a self-sustaining ecosystem that requires minimal inputs and maintenance.

Perennial polycultures and guilds are innovative approaches to sustainable agriculture and landscaping that maximize productivity while minimizing inputs. In St. Louis, integrating these practices can revolutionize urban green spaces. By planting diverse combinations of perennial crops, such as fruit trees, nitrogen-fixing legumes, and companion herbs, we create self-sustaining ecosystems that mimic natural patterns. 

These polycultures and guilds improve soil fertility, suppress weeds, and enhance pest resistance through symbiotic relationships among plant species. Moreover, they provide a continuous harvest throughout the year, ensuring long-term food security and resilience to environmental fluctuations. By adopting perennial polycultures and guilds, St. Louis can cultivate thriving, biodiverse landscapes that benefit both people and the planet.

Soil Regeneration and Carbon Sequestration: 

Healthy soil is the foundation of sustainable landscapes, providing essential nutrients for plant growth and storing carbon to mitigate climate change. Practices such as composting, mulching, cover cropping, and no-till gardening improve soil structure, fertility, and moisture retention. By restoring degraded soils and minimizing chemical inputs, St. Louis can enhance the resilience of its landscapes while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Soil regeneration and carbon sequestration are essential components of sustainable land management practices. In St. Louis, integrating these strategies into commercial land clearing services offers a dual benefit. By prioritizing techniques like minimal disturbance, organic mulching, and cover cropping during clearing operations, we can enhance soil health and fertility. Additionally, these practices facilitate the sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere into the soil, mitigating climate change impacts. Thus, commercial land clearing services become agents of positive environmental change, contributing to healthier ecosystems and a more resilient future.

Benefits of Permaculture Landscaping in St. Louis

Embracing permaculture principles in landscaping offers numerous benefits for St. Louis and its residents:

  • Environmental Sustainability: Permaculture landscaping reduces water consumption, minimizes pollution, and enhances biodiversity, contributing to a healthier and more resilient urban environment.
  • Food Security: By integrating edible plants into urban landscapes, St. Louis can increase access to fresh, nutritious produce while promoting local food production and community self-reliance.
  • Community Engagement: Permaculture projects such as community gardens, orchards, and green spaces foster social connections, educational opportunities, and collective empowerment among residents.
  • Economic Viability: Sustainable landscaping practices reduce long-term maintenance costs, improve property values, and create green jobs in areas such as landscaping, horticulture, and urban agriculture.
  • Climate Resilience: Permaculture landscapes sequester carbon, mitigate heat island effects, and buffer against extreme weather events, helping St. Louis adapt to the impacts of climate change.


What is the main principle of permaculture?

At Green Connect’s urban farm, we grow food and raise livestock based on permaculture principles. Central to permaculture are the ethics of people care, earth care and fair share. This means that along with taking care of the earth, we need to equally take care of people.

What are permaculture design considerations?

The permaculture design principles have come mainly from the observation of nature and how it works best. The guiding considerations are: Everything is connected to everything else. Every system function is supported by many elements.

Who created permaculture?

Permaculture is a word originally coined by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the mid 1970’s to describe an “integrated, evolving system of perennial or self-perpetuating plant and animal species useful to man.” Mollison, B. and Holmgren, D. Permaculture One published by Corgi 1978 and since published in 7 languages.

What are patterns in permaculture?

The basic patterns are spirals, waves, streamlines, cloud-forms, lobes, branches, nets and scatter. As our awareness of pattern develops, our designs improve. Also, we become more aware of the landscape.

How is permaculture different?

Permaculture farming discourages monocultural practices but in conventional chemical farming, monoculture practices are predominant. Conventional chemical farming can cause an increase in soil salinity but the occurrence of such phenomenon is not observed in permaculture farming.


As we wrap up our exploration of permaculture in St. Louis landscaping, it’s clear that embracing these principles offers a promising path forward for our city. By prioritizing sustainability, biodiversity, and community engagement, we can create landscapes that not only enhance our quality of life but also contribute to a healthier planet. From water-wise designs to edible landscapes and native plantings, the possibilities are endless. Let’s continue to collaborate, innovate, and cultivate greener, more resilient spaces that benefit us all. Together, we can make St. Louis a shining example of urban sustainability rooted in permaculture principles.

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