Advanced Landscape Design Course

Want a deeper dive into the design topics you learned in your PDC? Looking for support in developing a permaculture design for your property? Interested in pursuing landscape design as a side hustle or career?

Join us for the 2020 Advanced Landscape Design Course, and learn the hard skills of professional-level permaculture design from top practitioners across the Front Range.

 Over a series of weekends this spring, you’ll be guided through multiple real-world design challenges incorporating a client interview, basemapping, hand drafting, presentation drawing, design principles, budgeting and phasing. Along the way, you’ll pick up pro tips about creative design strategies, plant guilds, water management, hardscaping, aesthetics and much more.

You can expect to learn:

  • Professional design processes and workflows

  • Bird’s eye and elevation renderings

  • Basemapping and site observation tips

  • Concept and schematic designs

  • Designing for succession of plants and people

  • Community-scale design 

  • Tips for running a permaculture design business

Course Dates &

Professional-level Permaculture

  • The state of permaculture today
  • Professional design processes and workflows
  • Client interviews and reading between the lines

Optional Hand Rendering Intensive

  • Capturing sketches in the field
  • Bird’s eye and elevation renderings
  • Symbology, line weight and coloring tips

Group Design Charrette

  • Real-world design process on a local public permaculture site
  • Basemapping and site observation tips
  • Concept and schematic designs
  • Physical structures, social systems and economics

Invisible structures

  • Designing for succession of plants and people
  • Community-scale design
  • Running a permaculture design business

Meet Your

Marco Chung-Shu Lam

Marco has been practicing and teaching permaculture and sustainable living skills for over twenty five years in diverse climates from the Andes to the Hawaiian islands. Originally trained by the founder of Permaculture, Bill Mollison, Marco’s teaching style moves away from the lecture format and emphasizes getting people’s hands in the Earth. Marco is the founder of the Mandala Integrative Medicine Clinic and a renowned acupuncturist and herbalist who grows many of the herbs used in his practice. His vision is a melding of ecological sustainability and nature-based health care where our personal healing and our land stewardship are deeply intertwined. Marco has been an active creator of new permaculture curriculum and pioneered the "Permaculture through the Seasons" course with Sandy Cruz and through the 9 month permaculture course planted seeds for a more robust permaculture community. Marco created the permaculture curriculum for the Environmental Studies department at Naropa University in 2006 and stewarded the program there for 6 years to become the most popular class on campus. He is passionate and committed to teaching a new generation of earth stewards and healers to show up with their gifts and presence to help regenerate the relationship between people and the Earth.

Ainslie O'Neill

Ainslie O'Neill

Ainslie is a Colorado gal through and through. Her childhood at the foot of the Rocky Mountains instilled in her a deep reverence for natural landscapes and the intricate systems that bind them together. She pursued her undergraduate education in visual art and architecture+design at UMass Amherst and, shortly after taking a PDC, became committed to land-based work. She has refined her design approach with over 5 years as a member of the award-winning landscape architecture firm Ivy Street Design Group. Passionate about creating meaningful outdoor spaces for a diverse range of users, Ainslie has a portfolio including over 100 projects for residences, neighborhoods, community gardens, horticultural therapy spaces, arts venues, public parks, and more. With support from the robust permaculture and creative communities, Ainslie has gained additional experience as a facilitator, educator, and collaborator in the Front Range arts and design world. A motivated learner and inspired designer, she is committed to weaving together our urban fabric through design in both social and ecological environments.

T. Barnabas Kane

Barnabas is a second-generation landscape architect and planner, whose design philosophy draws from a broad spectrum of disciplines including architecture, landscape architecture, ecology, art, and community planning skills. He looks at every project as an opportunity to treat people as change agents, an integral part of the solution for repairing our relationships with our compromised planet. Barnabas is a licensed Landscape Architect, a permaculture instructor, and a regional water management expert. He has received numerous accolades, including a ‘Sunset’ magazine award and been a featured designer in local as well as national publications like ‘Cowboys and Indians’ and ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ magazines.

Jason Gerhardt

Jason serves as president of the Permaculture Institute Inc. and director of the Mighty Rivers Center in Saint Louis, Missouri. He is sought out for a design and education style that equips people to realize their potential for improving the world. He led beloved permaculture programs at Naropa University from 2011-2016, and has taught for the University of Colorado, Oregon State University, and the US EPA, among many other notable institutions. For over 15 years he has professionally applied his hybrid ecological design/education approach in diverse environments from the hyper-arid US Southwest to severely underserved neighborhoods in North St. Louis to a refugee community in tropical Central America. Jason’s design portfolio includes higher education campus planning, regenerative agriculture development, watershed management, organizational strategizing, food justice initiatives, and working with leading conservation organizations.

Patrick Padden

Patrick Padden, a graduate of Colorado State University, studied natural systems building design in Namibia and urban food forest implementation in Johannesburg, South Africa (2007). Patrick received his design certificate from the International Permaculture Design Course in Harare, Zimbabwe in 2009 and has recently completed a Master’s Degree in Integrative Eco-Social Design with Gaia University. After five seasons of producing naturally grown food for 80+ people at Sunrise Ranch, Patrick is currently living in Fort Collins with his wife and children and is a practicing permaculturalist, consultant, public speaker, and educator.

Michael Alcazar

Michael Alcazar

Michael Alcazar is a Master Educator, permaculturist, artist, designer, builder, outdoor experiential facilitator, movement fundamental specialist, Integrated Systems Designer and US Army veteran with over 30 years of experience in teaching and facilitating. These and his other experiential learning experiences equip him with a unique perspective and ability to target and explore your path forward focusing on people, planet and profit- all from the perspective of his indigenous ancestral lineage of traditional ecological wisdom and its application to today. Michael has served as an Integrated Systems Designer for UpDIG’s, and has recently begun design work for Green Lab Urban Education (GLUE), an experiential education program that engages learners of all ages to observe, engage and deconstruct their current relationship with food systems and urban sustainability. GLUE has worked with a wide variety of organizations locally, nationally and internationally, from Denver to Haiti, Alabama, Black Mesa, Arizona and the Indigenous Wisdom Permaculture Skills Convergence in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Michael is honored to be a part of humankind and an active member of the Front Range permaculture community. He is excited about many upcoming ventures, such as ‘1 Million Trees 4 Colorado’ and this opportunity to work with you, our community and positively contribute to the city, the state and beyond!

We also welcome guest facilitators.
Once and future guest instructors include:

Become a leader of the Permaculture Revolution

As we enter a new decade, it’s become clearer than ever that our world is in desperate need of a permaculture retrofit.

Fortunately, there’s never been more interest and enthusiasm for the kind of ambitious, multifunctional solutions that permaculture design offers. From carbon farming to greywater, permaculture concepts are poised to hit the big time in the 2020s – but only if we can scale up the number of talented, ethically-minded regenerative designers ready to step up and lead the way.

That’s why the Denver, Boulder and Colorado permaculture guilds are thrilled to be joining forces to offer an Advanced Landscape Design Course this spring. We’ve assembled an all-star team of professional permaculture designers to train a select group of PDC graduates from across the Front Range in high-level strategies for permaculture design at a professional scale.

Over three weekends between March and June, you’ll be guided through multiple real-world design challenges incorporating client interviews, basemapping, hand drafting, presentation drawing, design principles, budgeting and phasing. Along the way, you’ll pick up pro tips about creative design strategies, plant guilds, water management, hardscaping, aesthetics and much more. And with the optional hand rendering intensive weekend in April, you’ll get in-depth secrets to making your presentation drawings shine.

Courses will be taking place at a variety of locations in the Front Range, with delicious catered lunches included. Discounts are available for members of the Denver Permaculture Guild (DPG) and Permaculture Institute of North America (PINA).

Colorado is ready for a permaculture revolution. Are you ready to join us on the front lines?

Frequently Asked Questions

The course will take place at a collection of dynamic, interactive learning environments and client sites throughout the Front Range (roughly Boulder to Parker, within an hour’s drive of downtown Denver). To protect the privacy of our hosts, addresses will be provided to students upon registration. Carpooling support can be arranged if transportation is a barrier. Please inquire! 

Over a series of weekends this spring, you’ll be guided through multiple real-world design challenges incorporating a client interview, basemapping, hand drafting, presentation drawing, design principles, budgeting and phasing. Along the way, you’ll pick up pro tips about creative design strategies, plant guilds, water management, hardscaping, aesthetics and much more.

Each weekend includes a Friday evening potluck lecture, followed by two full days of interactive learning on Saturday and Sunday.

While not strictly required, it is strongly encouraged. Participants with other formal training or professional practice in landscape design are welcome as well.

Formally known as the Permaculture Design Consultant’s Certificate, this document is awarded to those who attend all sessions of the design course (missed sessions can usually be made up later), and who successfully complete the design project. The certificate for our courses is offered by the Denver Permaculture Guild, a 501c3 non-profit, and is in accordance with or surpassing the guidelines used by national and international certifying bodies.

The certificate gives the holder the right to use the word “permaculture” in a business or other professional practice, and signifies successful completion of the permaculture design course. It is the pre-requisite to further training in permaculture design such as the two-year diploma program offered through the Permaculture Institute of North America, teacher training courses, and other advanced permaculture trainings. Holders of the certificate join a growing community of many thousands of design-course graduates who share a common body of knowledge.

  • Design professionals can add new qualifications to their resumes and offer improved services to their clients. Their designs tend to use fewer resources, work more efficiently, and are easier to maintain.
  • Homeowners, gardeners, and farmers learn to increase the value and productivity of their property and to create home and land environments that better support their own needs as well as nature’s.
  • Real estate, construction, and development professionals are able to better address the public’s growing concern for the environment and to reduce resource use and impacts.
  • Educators learn to integrate permaculture design into their curriculum in ways that have been proven to raise student performance.
  • Planners and public officials find holistic solutions to land-use and resource issues, and will identify and solve bottlenecks and impediments to implementing their programs.
  • Energy, water, and waste-systems workers will learn holistic management strategies for integrating their projects into the larger community. 

Full attendance is required to receive the permaculture design certificate​. We know that life happens, so we have created a policy regarding missed classes:
● if a day of class in months 2-6 is missed, make-up assignments can be provided
● if up to two full days of the course are missed, participants can still receive a certificate after attending the equivalent portions of another PDC.

The course is offered each year, and there are other similar courses in the area, so you will likely be able to make up missed classes at no additional charge. However, because participation in the beginning of the course is essential, our policy is that students who miss the first weekend will not be allowed to continue in the PDC​.

Additionally, because the final weekend​ is the culmination of group projects, attendance at that weekend and ​the final weekend is required in order to receive your design certificate​.  Contact the PDC Communication Team if you have an extenuating circumstance or other questions.

Refunds are available until 2 weeks before a course is scheduled to begin. 10% of any payment is non-refundable because of administration fees. (Example: A refund request for a $600 member tuition would result in $540 refunded). All tuition is non-refundable within two weeks of the course starting or after it has begun.

You may also transfer your registration and payment to next year’s course without penalty.

You can choose to pay the total tuition in one payment, or you may break tuition into 3 or 6 payments for no additional charge. All payment plans must be completed by the end of the course. 

Denver Permaculture Guild members also receive a discount on tuition. 

You may pay with credit card (online), but we also accept cash or check.  Please contact us if you’d like to make a manual payment.

If you are interested in taking the PDC but don’t have the financial resources, to do so, the Denver PDC offers scholarships to applicants from historically marginalized populations. Scholarship applications are available here.

Ready to


Registration for the 2020 Course is now open! Sign up before the course fills up!

One-time and three-month credit card payment options are available at checkout. If you’d like to pay by check or cash, please contact us.

Want to save on your course?

Become a member of the Permaculture Institute of North America and apply a special one time sign up coupon code to this course fee. Applies in addition to the DPG member price! 

Visit PINA’s website to sign up and learn more. 


Course Fees

$750 Non-Members

($850 with recommended hand-rendering workshop)

$600 DPG Members

($700 with recommended hand-rendering workshop)

Please note:  Accessibility is at the core of our mission. 

Full and half scholarships are available through the generosity of the New Belgium Family Foundation. Applications will be accepted in English and Spanish and must be received by February 15th.

Become a Denver Permaculture Guild Member TODAY to save $150 on registration!