Design Course Fall 2019


The Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) signifies completion of the 72-hour curriculum set forth by Bill Mollison in ‘Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual.’ This course is an in depth introduction to every topic listed in the schedule. Graduates can use this course as their jumping off point to begin teaching permaculture modules, creating a portfolio of permaculture designs, and establishing a permaculture consulting practice. It is a life and world-view altering event – living more kindly on their land, creating & caring for their community, conserving & renewing precious resources, respecting all beings, and designing & living in sustainable human settlements that work with and use Nature as the grand designer.

Austin,TX and the surrounding area is unique in that we are home to many mission driven organizations working to build sustainability and community. This course is designed to connect the participants with many local organizations with an array of missions. It is our hope that our students will finish the course with a toolbox of design techniques and strategies as well as connections with organizations and people who can help guide them towards new opportunities to learn, volunteer and work in various fields of interest related to sustainability.

Caroline Riley teaching in the Dome at WLLC in the Fall of 2016. Photo Credit: Scott David Gordon



Our Fall 2019 Permaculture Design Certificate Course is currently open for registration. It is a ‘6 Weekends’ format course, spread out over the course of 6 months-1 weekend per month. This format is preferred by many people because it can fit snugly into a busy schedule. We provide a sliding scale tuition format, to make this course more accessible to a wider audience. YOU choose the highest amount within the range provided that works with your budget. We trust your judgement and do not set your tuition price for you.

Tuition is set as sliding scale, with the tuition ranging from $650-$1,050. A $300 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your seat in the course. The second tuition installment of $200 is due 1 week before class starts, on Friday, January 4th. The last tuition installment is due on your first day of class, where you will pay $150-$550.

This course is currently OPEN for registration. Click the PayPal button below to reserve your seat by paying the $300 non-refundable deposit. After you submit your deposit, a form will pop-up for you to fill out to complete your registration.


This course includes classroom instruction from lead facilitator Caroline Riley and guest instructors. It features hands-on learning projects, including your final site design project. The final design project sites are chosen from student’s properties and are group design projects. When complete the property owner will come away with both a conceptual design as well as many detailed designs for areas of interest from each design participant in the group. For more details about the content and schedule, scroll down this page.

Students relaxing by the pond at the Whole Life Learning Center. Photo Credit: Scott David Gordon

Weekend 1:

September 21 – Day 1: Introduction to Permaculture, Permaculture Ethics & Principles, Tour Whole Life Learning Center- Permaculture in Action

September 22 – Day 2: Methods of Design, Patterns in Nature, 

Weekend 2:

October 19 – Day 3: Climate, Soil Biology and Science

October 20 – Day 4: Earthworks, Ponds, Keyline Design, & Hands-on activity With Mike Wolfert of Symbiosis Regenerative Systems & Mycology with Daniel Reyes of MycoAlliance (Please Link)

Weekend 3:

November 9 – Day 5:  Climate Based Home Design, Natural Building Techniques and Hands-on cob building activity with Kindra Welch and John Curry of Clay, Sand, Straw

November 10 – Day 6: Zone I Garden Techniques and Strategies, Companion Planting, Sustainable Food Center, Field Trip: SubUrban homestead tour and tree walk at Caroline’s house

Weekend 4:

December 7 – Day 7: Design Project Workshop LaJuan Tucker with Texas Parks and Recreation

December 8 – Day 8: Trees, Perennial Forest Gardens, Medicinal plants for Central Texas, Forest Garden design activity, Chris Sanchez with Festival Beach Food Forest

Weekend 5:

January 11 – Day 9 : Holistic Management and Leah Gibson of Boxcar Farm and Garden, Animals in design activity, propagation

January 12 – Day 10 : Community with Chloe Buzzotta of the Global Eco-Village Network, Invisible Structures, Zone Zero, 

Weekend 6:

February 8 – Day 11: Design Workshop, Skill Share

February 9 – Day 12: Final Design Project Presentations, Graduation & Design Certificates and Celebration



The Fall 2019 Course will be will be held at the Whole Life Learning Center (WLLC), a living example of permaculture design. Over the past 6 years this site has been completely transformed! WLLC has on site a 5 year old food forest, pond, ducks, chickens, goats, a 10,000 gallon rain water catchment system, greenhouse, grey water system, 2 yurts, schoolhouse, and a geodesic dome classroom. In between your permaculture design course weekends, the space serves as a learning center for children ages 3-13, drawing from Waldorf, Montessori, and nature based learning curriculum. Camping on site is encouraged for both the Friday evening before and the Saturday evening of each of the 6 weekends.

A student holding one of the goats at WLLC! Photo Credit: Scott David Gordon

This is a commuter course. Along with classroom instruction, we have hands-on projects (including your site design project), and presentations by guest instructors. DRESS FOR THE WEATHER. Always come prepared to spend at least some time outdoors. Lunches are BYO/potluck.

Class meets 9:30am – 5:30pm each day; arrive anytime after 9 to get settled in. YOU ARE REQUIRED to be in your seat, ready to learn, at 9:30am. (NOTE: If you can’t make all 12 days, don’t worry — you can make up the missed days at any of our future courses for no extra charge.) If you are absent more than 2 days, your certificate will be held until all class days are made-up.

Class starts promptly at 9:30. Arrive by 8:30am on the first day to get settled in, pay your tuition balance, meet your classmates, chat over coffee/tea, etc. Bring your own lunch (and some to share with others if you like). There is a full kitchen on site. Please help us achieve zero waste by bringing your own reusable cup/water bottle, etc.

This course follows the internationally recognized 72-hour curriculum outlined in Bill Mollison’s Permaculture Design Manual. Although, this course offers over 84 hours of instruction. The certificate you receive at the end of this course signifies completion of this curriculum.


We are providing two diversity scholarship for this design course, reserved for people with limited means. These full ride scholarships require no payment in exchange for taking the course. If you would like to apply for either of these two available spots please submit a photo of yourself, resume and letter of intention attached in an email addressed to Taelor Monroe, taelor AT austinperm DOT com. The letter of intention should give a brief history of your current work in this world and how you think you can make the biggest impact in your community if you were to receive a permaculture design certificate.

Scholarship Deadline: Only scholarship applications received on or before September 1st, 2019 will be accepted. Responses will be given Friday, September 6th, 2019.

Students filling swales and creating the shelves in the pond.
Students filling swales and creating the shelves in the pond at the Whole Life Learning Center.



Caroline Riley is a Texas native who grew up in the garden and free ranging on the Texas coast with her family. She discovered permaculture design while living in Colorado in 2004 and soon incorporated the ethics and principles into her Montessori classroom as a foundation to learn from nature with youth.

Today she owns the Whole Life Learning Center with her husband, which is where she focuses her creative efforts, working to create and maintain a permaculture education center for people of all ages in Austin, Texas.

With a passion for experiential learning and creative design, Caroline instructs Permaculture Design Courses through Austin Community College and the Austin Permaculture Guild.

Caroline founded One World Permaculture in 2010 with the mission to connect and serve people worldwide through the study and practice of permaculture design ethics and principles. OWP collaborates and inspires to create integrated regenerative community, ecology and economy.

Caroline has studied permaculture with many great instructors, including Geoff Lawton, Warren Brush, Judd Hobbs, Andrew Millison, Kirby Fry, Dick Pierce and more. Her goal is to create a unique learning opportunity for her students from her vast experience.

When not at the learning center Caroline can be found searching out cool waters for swimming and enjoying the retreat of her South Austin home with her family. Contact Caroline at caroline DOT riley DOT carberry AT, 512-217-0661

Your Faciltator Caroline Riley


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12 comments on “Design Course Fall 2019

Alexander Salazar

Hello im interested in enrolling in the 2015 spring PDC course I was just curious as to how I begin the registration process, thanks any info would help. Have a great day.

Gwenyth Jett

I am interested in learning and participating.

Betsy Chamberlain

I would like to know the dates for the 2 week intensive course this spring. Thanks!


Hey there Betsy, the two week intensive course is June 1-14th! I am going to post it today. Keep checking back to see it up and you can register! 🙂 Email me if you have anymore questions.


Thanks Gwenyth! If you want more info please email me!


Hey there Alexander! I just saw this and don’t check these much because about 95% of these comments are spam. Please go to this link and hit the ‘buy now’ button to register and hold your spot in the course.

I’ll go ahead and email this info to you as well so I hope you get it! Feel free to email me with anymore questions.

Thank you,

Taelor Monroe
APG Executive Director

Would there be any advantage to inulaste the soil surface with, say, bags filled with pine needles or even just a tarp to keep as much heat from being lost as possible?


Yes, mulching the soil surface is always a good idea. A very wise soil scientist, Elaine Ingam, once said, “Mother Nature abhors bare soil.” The mulch will help stabilize the soil temperature and moisture as well as encourage soil life of the soil food web.

Hey there,
I’m reaching out to find a time to learn more about your permaculture classes! I work for a company called Dabble which tells people in Austin about the very best experiences and we’d love to chat with you to learn more about your business.

Have you ever considered teaching a class on permaculture or any agro category?

We reach hundreds of adults in Austin and would like to put together some events, classes or workshops to drive them to your business!

How does your calendar look this week to chat?


Spot on with this write-up, I actually believe that
this website needs a lot more attention. I’ll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the info!

John Pettigrove

When are future courses scheduled


Hey there John, we will be posting upcoming courses in the next month or so. We still have a few logistics to iron out. Without exact dates here are the courses we have planned:

-Intensive Cob Workshop the last week of February (to be posted in the next few days)
-Two Week Intensive Permaculture Design Course the first two weeks of June (to be posted in the next month)
-6 Weekends Permaculture Design Course starting mid-October (to be posted in the next few months)

Until those are officially posted, I hope that helps!

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