SEE-Change Tour: permaculture garden and low tech sustainable house
Guided tour of a permaculture garden, and low tech sustainable house
We moved into our 1970s 3 bedroom brick veneer house almost 2 years ago. With a passion for sustainability and saving money, we have made it as low energy usage as possible through relatively low cost basic improvements, such as ceiling, wall, and floor insulation, curtains and DIY pelmets, and thorough draught proofing. We have also opted not to use the existing ducted gas heating, enabling us to disconnect the gas account. Our electricity bills average 6-7 kilowatt hours per day year round, which equates to approximately $200 per quarter ($240 with 100 per cent Greenchoice).
Having completed a Permculture Design Certificate in 2012, our block was a relatively blank canvas to plan and implement a permaculture based food producing garden, that also supports solar passive design elements. Though a relatively small block at 575m2, we have planted approximately 35 fruit and nut trees, as well as nitrogen producing support species, grape and kiwi vines, and berries, and have converted large areas of lawn to productive vegetable beds. We also keep chickens in ‘tractors’ for eggs, and periodically raise chickens or ducks for meat.
Being such a dry climate, smart water management is a key part of our garden design, which utilises a water tank, rain barrels, on contour garden beds, a wicking bed, and kitchen sink water diversion through a worm farm bathtub. We also use a DIY outdoor composting toilet which helps us to reduce our water usage, and the product of which we plan to use to fertilise fruit trees.