2017 Complete Forest Garden Design Course!


SALE PRICE: $350 ($50/class)
The class that takes you through every step of transforming your property into a low-maintenance, edible paradise. We’ll go over each part of the Permaculture design process, learn about and sample  a variety of perennial fruits and vegetables and learn how to use what you grow. Each class we’ll review monthly yields, bloom schedules and maintenance tasks, in addition to the curriculum. Every class date will also include a workshop, in which we start putting our learning to work planing and installing our own forest garden projects.

Each class will also come with an online component, either access to our popular online version of our classes, or a handy interactive email with resources and videos. 

The Classes:

Forest Garden Design Basics – May 20th 2017 

– Aesthetics: we’ll review a wide variety of forest garden aesthetics and help you choose a look that you love.
– Integrating social uses: Social functions are part of the definition of successful forest gardens. We’ll look at how you want to use the space and design a forest garden to enhance your use.- Site mapping: using free site mapping tools to create a base map for your site.

– Workshop: Picking aesthetic ideas for a journal and visioning our own home paradise.

Regenerative Design – June 17th 2017

– Energy efficient design

– Zones: the classic Permaculture tool for making gardening easy and energy efficient

– Sectors: Identifying energy streams we can put to use.

– Review

– Workshop: Zone and sector analysis on our basemaps.

Advanced Forest Gardening Design – July 15th 2017

– Water-wise design
– Polyculture basics: Not just one plant, but many, living together as a community. We’ll start discussing how to design functional ecologies.

– Soils and how to build them: We’ll discuss how ecosystems build soil, and how we can copy them to create amazingly fertile gardens.

– Mulch types: Picking the right mulch type for the job!

– Workshop: Identify opportunities and strategies for a water-wise garden, add them to our basemaps.

Designing Plant Communities – August 19th 2017

– Guild Design: we’ll discuss strategies for designing great ecologies at the micro level.

– Lillie House Pre-designed guilds. We’ll give you descriptions of the guilds we use to import into your project, or as a template for designing your own.

– Workshop, begin selecting trees and bushes, arrange them in functional guilds onto our basemaps.

Paths and Beds Design – September 16th 2017

– Paths: the most difficult part of any garden to design. We’ll discuss path design and materials and how to maintain them. We’ll cover case studies of different forest gardens and their outcomes with different path types.
– Bed Preparation: We’ll discuss a variety of strategies for preparing beds and planting them to minimize maintenance

– Workshop: Mid-course project review: We’ll look at our base maps and assess how we’re doing.

Installation – The Permaculture Way! – October 21st 

– Permaculture Community Organizing.

– How to organize, outreach and plan a fun and educational get-together of family and friends to help build your forest garden. If that isn’t an option, we’ll help provide other strategies to make your forest garden a reality.

– We even provide promotional materials and letter ideas for your outreach.

Forest Garden Project Review – November 18th 2017

– Review Course, final discussion.
– Project presentations (optional.) Our students share their own design projects with each other. The opportunity to participate in the design and implementation of multiple forest gardening projects will make you one of our region’s most experienced forest gardeners.

– Workshop: Final project review and recommendations.
For 2017, we will be offering 1 section of the course, one on 3rd Saturdays, from 9 – 12 May-November.
To reserve your spot, visit our store!
Or see our other membership packages.

Lillie House listed as a top Resource!


It’s nice to see our small S.W. Michigan business listed along side university extensions and forestry departments, international research trusts and advocacy organizations!

We put a lot of time, research and energy into helping people “rebuild the Great Eastern Woodland,” starting with their own homes farms and communities, so it’s always rewarding to get some recognition, such as this listing, or being featured on international Permaculture magizines, or having our articles and materials translated into other languages!

But since our main goal is investing in our own Permaculture community, both locally and abraod, the most rewarding encouragement we get is to have so many of our previous students and clients keep choosing to invest in us by signign up for more of our classes, services and events!

If you’re just finding out about us, we hope you’ll join our community of forest gardeners, homesteaders adn Permaculturists. This Introduction to Forest Gardening course would be the perfect place to start your jouney with forest gardening.

And for those looking to continue their journey, this season’s Community Supported Forest Gardening program is ready to begin in May!

Introduction to Permaculture Workshop


We are opening the first day of our Permaculture Design Course to anyone interested, and you are invited to join us for this special, interactive Permaculture workshop on December 3rd, to help us in Designing Regenerative Lives. Learn the basics of the Permaculture Design system and explore dozens of practical Permaculture tools for a more resilient, self-sufficient, regenerative life. This is also an excellent opportunity to preview the Permaculture Design Course to get an idea of what it is like.

Practical Permaculture Patterns Covered:
Permaculture life design and right livelihoods beyond farming – real-world examples that work.
Successful Permaculture farm and market-garden models, what really works?
Best Permaculture patterns for easier, more regenerative gardening
Examples of Natural Building and smart home construction for Michigan
Practical Agriforest applications: home forest gardens, hedgerows, systems for livestock feed.
Best perennial herbs and vegetables to start with.
Water collection that works for cold temperate climates.
Energy investments that pay for themselves.
Real-world examples of transformative Permaculture Community Organizing.

Introduction to Permaculture Class

December 3rd 9:00 – 5:00
Students can opt to attend all day $50 or only the morning $25
Prices are suggested donations, no one will be turned away

Class Learning Objectives: Through this course, students will be able to:
Meet a community of like-minded people who share your goals.
Define Permaculture and list the basic components of the Design System.
Describe the kind of work Permaculturists are doing and identify opportunities for right livelihood, by exploring inspiring Permaculture projects from around the world.
Get an introduction to concepts in design.
Gain a better appreciation for the patterns of the natural world and how they can be applied to build better human systems, better lives and a better world.
Explore a set of inspiring Permaculture patterns you can put to work in your own projects and life.
Meet and Greet Icebreakers to focus on the assets and needs of our community. Build community connections to support your goals.
get to know People who share your interests and goals:
What do you need?
What do you have?
What do we want to see?

II. Community Introductions: Introduce teachers, make community announcements
-You are welcome to introduce a Permaculture-related event or project.

III. Understanding Our Problems and Addressing them by Building a Permanent Culture: Lecture, slideshow and Discussion.
Societal Problems of the modern world.
Related problems for the individual: unemployment, poor health, hopelessness…
How design can provide real potential to address all of our problems holistically.
Greening the dessert
The Loess Plateau
Designing a more beautiful, abundant life for ourselves.

Group Exercise: Defining Permaculture
What does Permaculture mean to you?
What concepts does it include or convey?


IV. Video: Introduction to Permaculture, by Geoff Lawton:
V. Slideshow, videos and Lecture: Themes and Concepts in Design – Inspiring Permaculture Projects, Tools and Patterns!
Permaculture farms and gardens
Edible forest gardens
City Repair
Permaculture heat, water and energy systems
Natural building and sustainable building
Permaculture careers and life design

Conversation Cafe, Brainstorming and Discussion:
Envisioning a better life and a Permanent Community.

1:00 : LUNCH (Snacks provided, bring brown-bag lunch)

2:00 Part 2 Meeting at Lillie House Site (Weather Permitting, Carpooling encouraged)

Basic Tour and Concepts at Lillie House
Small Group Exercise: Identify Permaculture Principles (Holmgren Principles) and Natural Patterns at Lillie House.
Brief Permaculture Work Project and Demonstration (Time/Weather Permitting)
Review and Closing


Register for half – day (morning only) $25.

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Register for Full Day $50 (Snacks provided, bring brown bag lunch)

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If you would like to reserve your space but cannot pay at this time, it would be great to have you join us! Please contact Michael Hoag at lillie.house.kzoo@gmail.com to reserve your spot.

Class will be held at:

Disciples of Christ Church

2208 Winchell Ave, Kalamazoo Michigan:


PDC – Auditing the PDC

For community organizers, market gardeners, farmers, and those working in Food activism, we’re making a limited number of spaces available to audit the PDC.

This is a tradition that goes back to Bill Mollison, intended to make the course accessible to a greater number of people.

When you audit the PDC, you can attend the courses and participate, but you will not submit a design project, you will not get feedback/mentorship on your design and you will not get certification.

If you decide you want to submit your project and pay the additional fees at a later date, we’ll review the project, give you feedback and submit your name for certification and listing on Permaculture Global.

The cost to audit the course for this season will be $400, payable in two payments of $200.

To enroll, please fill out the registration form, here. Please make sure to note that you are auditing the course, or you may be billed for the full PDC tuition. Reserve your space by making your first payment below. 

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Transforming Your Yard to a Permacultue Oasis

Permaculture News just published a really nice write-up about the process we used to transform our yard. If you’re looking for inspiration, or wondering how you can deal with transforming a whole property, this is a good article to check out. Permaculture provides some great tools for transforming even large landscapes by partnering with nature. 

Transform your yard!

And if it was that article that brought you to Lillie House for the first time, I hope you’ll visit our blog, which is loaded with high quality free information about Permaculture and our project:


Lillie House Perennial Guild Plants Collection

(UPDATED for 2017!) 

For 2017, our full members will receive their choice of two recommended forest garden trees to start their project (we particularly recommend Asian pears, chestnuts, and paw paws) as well as a selection of fruiting shrubs (including varieties of blackberries, black raspberries, currants, gooseberries, honeyberries, cherries, goumi, elderberries, hazel, cornelian cherry, American holly, roses selected for their high quality large fruit, etc!) 

In addition to their trees and bushes, our members get priority access to our large collection of perennial forest garden plants at a discount “members only” price. Since developing a high-value understory of perennial vegetables and useful plants is probably the most important task of forest gardening, each member will receive a customized “starter kit” of live potted plants for the first year of establishment that will make it easy to get their forest garden project going strong. You get the plants at the right time for your project, when you’re ready to plant them.
“Starter kits” come with a selection of our most valuable, useful plants, proven to work in Michigan, customized to your site conditions and project goals. Many are rare in the trade, expensive, difficult to find and not available from any single source. 

Better yet, our full memberships come with 3-years of access to our entire plant collection of over 300 varieities for plant material (seeds, scionwood, cuttings, and in some cases, plants.) So you can start by learning a manageable collection, then expand your garden when you – and it – are ready. That 3-year-access means you’ll have the greatest opportunity to get your project established.

Starter kits may include:
Perennial Alliums (the onion and garlic family):

  • Egyptian Walking Onions
  • Allium Unifolium
  • Chives
  • Garlic Chives
  • Welsh Onion
  • Welsh Red Onion
  • Perennial Garlic
  • Ramps
  • Perenial Leek


  • Star Herb Minutina
  • Perennial Kales
  • Sorrel
  • Blood-veined Sorrel
  • Peach-leaved Bellflower
  • Perennial Endive
  • Salad Burnet
  • Marshmallow (a perennial cooked “spinach”)

Perennial Vegetables:

  • Asparagus
  • Scorzonera
  • Skirret
  • Perennial Bulbing Fennel
  • Lovage
  • Turkish Rocket (perennial broccoli!)
  • Jerusalem Artichoke
  • Ground Nut (Apios Americana)
  • Air Potato (Chinese yam)
  • Fairy Spuds (Claytonia Virginica)
  • Camas bulbs
  • Fiddle-Head Ferns
  • Crosnes (Mint Root)


  • Oregano
  • A large collection of Thymes and Creeping Thymes
  • Yarrow
  • Valerian
  • A large collection of Mints
  • Comfrey
  • Anise Hyssop

Permaculture Design Certificate Course-Fall 2016 at Lillie House

With “extras” on “Regenerative Living and Enterprise.”
(Page Under Construction Final Details TBD)

Course Runs 8 Saturdays, October – December, with a Design Presentation Symposium (TBD) 

The PDC developed specifically with Southwestern Michigan in mind! Get to know our local Permaculture opportunities, resources and projects, as well as growing information and experience refined to our local climate, soils, community character and market. Includes a list of over two dozen scalable “regenerative” business ideas with an unmet demand in our market, to help us grow a broad “regenerative enterprise community” to transform Southwest Michigan!

We teach the “PRI” curriculum, as taught by Geoff Lawton, which, from our research is the best around! And we teach that curriculum through a radically interactive, student-centered and “research based” educational approach developed by a professional pedagogy instructor who’s taught hundreds of teachers how to craft engaging, effective lesson plans.


Introduction to Permaculture:

Ethics and Principles

Concepts and Themes in Design

Methods of Design

Pattern Understanding

Climatic Factors and Design

Trees and Their Energy Transactions

Water in the Landscape


Eathworks and Earth Reources


Social Permaculture and Strategies for an Alterative Global Nation

EXTRAS in Social Permaculture, Financial Permaculture, and Regnerative Enterprise

Detailed Curriculum:

Day 1: Introduction to Permaculture

• Human past, present and future Permaculture design philosophy. Holistic thinking. • Key problems: Soil erosion, Deforestation, Pollution, Carbon, Climate and Consumption

• Ethics of Permaculture – Earth care, People care, Return of surplus

Comparing the “3rd ethic,” different perspecitves.)

• Definitions of Permaculture. Sustainability outcomes. History of Permaculture.

• Permanent culture. Urban Permaculture. Permaculture and City repair.

• Permaculture aid work. The Peraculture Master Plan.

• Permaculture in society.

• Permaculture as an holistic design

Example of a Permaculture System: Exploring and Analyzing Lillie House Design. 

Day 2: Concepts & Themes in Design (Approx. 4hrs ) • Sustainable systems • Hierarchy of soil creation in natural systems • Permaculture is primarily a design for a sustainable, human-controlled support systems. • The Prime Directive of Permaculture: Nature is the “super-client” • Principles of natural systems and design. Elements -needs and products • Guiding principles of permaculture design • The web of life and net of functional relationships of designed ecosystems. • Entropy extension • Energy capture within • Categories of resources and their management • Diversity -Yield • Mollison and Holmgren Principles 

Chapter 3: Methods of Design (3 hrs) • Design emphasizes patterning of landscape, function, and species assemblies. • Approaches to design • Analysis of elements • Maps • Sector planning • Observational, Experiential • Zones, Sectors • Slope, Orientation • Putting it together- Listing possibilities • Selection of random assemblies-Connecting components in a system 

Day 3 Chapter 4: Pattern Understanding (4hrs) • Seeing pattern as valuable connections • Growth patterns and explosive patterns • Scale of orders of size • Edge events and pressure between media • Recognizing pattern

Chapter 5: Climate Factors 3hrs 35mins • Climate and classic landscape profiles • Climate Differences Temperate Tropical, Dry-lands, • Continental effect, Maritime effect, Rain shadow • Orographic effects • Climate analogues • Classic landscape profiles • Major landscapes Humid and Arid • Minor landscapes Volcanic, islands high and low, coasts, Flatlands, wetlands, estuaries • Ecosystems as climate moderators 

Day 4 Chapter 6: Trees and their Energy Transactions 1 hr • Wind, Rain • Types of forest • Role of fungi • Legumes as support species EXAMPLE OF ENERGY TRANSACTION ANALYSIS

Chapter 7: Water 3hrs • Water harvesting earthworks • Rechargeable water and non-rechargeable water • The duties of water in landscape design • Swales, Gabions, Limonias, Dams • Types of dams • Capturing water from hard surfaces 

Day 5: Chapter 8: Soils 4hrs  • Collapsing soil fertility, difficult soils • Understanding soil erosion as number one global problem • Understanding where and why soils are conserved or increased • Understanding pH acid/alkaline analysis and interpret the consequence • Role of Weeds as repair mechanisms • Compost and the decomposition cycle of humus creation • The function of the hair roots of plants feeding on minerals and structuring soil starch exchange.

 Chapter 9: Earthworking and Earth Resources 3hrs • Earthworks and earth resources • Terra-forming • Landscape restitution • Machines used in earthworks • Planning earthworks • Soil tests • Surveying and site pegging • Planting after earthworks • Slope measurements • Levels and leveling • A design for water harvesting earthworks 

Day 6 Chapter 10: Climate Design 4 hours • Climate comparisons -house design • Energy use • Aspect -Heating /Cooling • Waste systems • Garden design • Food Forest comparisons across climates • Main crop comparisons • Seasonal timing • Mulch and forage production • Small animals • Comparisons in zone 3 • Comparisons in farm forestry 

Chapter 11: Aquaculture 1 hr 35mins • Chain of life in water design • Selection of species • Self-foraging systems for fish • Pond sizes • Aquaponics

Day 7 Chapter 12: “The Strategies of an Alternate Global Nation 4 hours • Invisible structures • Establishing permaculture community groups • Bioregional resilience • Necessary legal structures • Formal and informal financial strategies. Trade • Village systems Community land development • Establishing not for proit Permaculture Institutes & Mollisonian “Invisible Structures”

Day 8: Social Permaculture and Design Discussion and Review 8 hours  • Review and case studies of social Permaculture structures around the world • Building effective social Polycultures • Financial Permaculture and Regenerative Enterprise  • 

Design Symposium and Public Presentation