Australian Ecologist Bill Mollison created the concept of Permaculture in the 1970s. Permaculture combines of the two words Permanent Agriculture, and is a broad concept of sustainable design. It promotes the idea of making any space – a yard, a home, a business, a community, etc. – into a self-contained system that supplies its own needs, creates abundance, and regenerates waste within itself. The green movement is currently gaining momentum, and people are becoming aware of the limitations of a produce-and-discard culture – in our yards, in our homes, and in our communities. Natural resources are limited. We must use them wisely so that all people will always have enough healthy food, clean water and air to lead fulfilling and productive lives.

To design a self-contained landscape, we at Soilutions study and imitate patterns in nature, since nature has mastered the cycle of production and regeneration. We know spiral herb gardens, meandering arroyos, sunken production beds, kidney shaped surge basins maximize the production capabilities of a space because nature has used these same methods since life began. Since nature boasts the longest thriving business out there, we think it wise to follow her lead.

To fulfill our permaculture ethics, our ideal landscapes meet the following criteria:

Supplies its own needs. In a desert, water determines the limits of production. Since we want to maximize land production, we prefer to provide a landscape with the water needed to maintain it. We do this with active and passive water catchments. Furthermore, we use the products of our compost site – Premium Compost™ and a variety of organic mulches to improve soil fertility and increase water absorption and retention. Finally, we make appropriate plant and tree choices. Evolution has provided us with a vast diversity of trees and plants perfect for our region that give us flowers, fragrance, character, as well as food and a habitat for wildlife. Maximum land production comes from promoting this diversity.

Creates abundance. A great landscape expresses and promotes life. First, we like to include practical production in our landscapes; space to grow herbs, vegetables, fruit, and even protein. This may be a single, small bed or a complex system within the system, depending on homeowner preferences. Even a few perennial herbs create a symbiosis between homeowner and landscape. Second, we strive to make our landscapes a source of beauty and harmony. You shouldn’t have to drive to the mountains or the bosque reserve to find the tranquility of nature. Our customers need only look out their windows. With pathways and sitting areas, we design landscapes to pull you in and give you a “get-away” as close as your own backyard. Third, our landscapes provide abundance for local wildlife. With deliberately chosen species and designated wildlife areas, neo-tropical migrates (broad-tail, calliope, and rufus hummingbirds, blue birds, tanagers, grosbeaks, and orioles to name a few), New Mexican breeding birds (black-chinned humming birds, bush tits, wrens, white-throated sparrows, and road-runners among others), and a rainbow of butterflies and moths will find respite in your own mini-preserve.

Regenerates waste. The first waste to eliminate is wasted human energy. If a homeowner asks us to install a spiral herb garden, we will not place it in the far corner of the yard. Poorly placed garden elements can waste a great amount of energy and would rarely get used. Instead, we would place an herb garden so that the homeowner could access it easily and quickly from the kitchen. We pride ourselves on low-maintenance landscapes. Our organic mulches welcome leaf debris as a natural process of regenerating soil fertility, not something that requires meticulous gathering, bagging and disposing. We educate homeowners to control their irrigation systems so as not to over water plants. Over watering is also wasteful. It not only wastes a scarce resource, it leads to more pruning, i.e. wasted human energy.

Soilutions also advocates on-site compost bins and grey-water systems to turn our “waste” into assets. We compost any organic materials removed from the original landscape or during landscape maintenance at our compost site in the south valley. In this way, your yard waste will eventually be used to create a sustainable landscape somewhere else in our shared community.