Recommended Books

As with any other subject matter there are a lot of books on Permaculture out there; ranging from basic to technical and general to specialist. Whilst we haven’t come across a ‘bad’ book on the subject, there are some that are absolutely inspirational. These are our recommended books, with our own short review.

We hope that this helps you to identify the right books for your needs. We have included direct links to the books page on bookstore sites, we earn a very small commision when you buy through these links which goes a little way to helping us maintain these free ‘Resources’ pages without costing you a penny more.

The Book Depository has a lot to be said for it; it is UK based, despatches usually within 1 business day and offers free delivery worldwide as standard.

Our Top 10 Permaculture Recommended Books


Gaia's Garden


A truly inspirational book whether you are new to Permaculture, seeking inspiration for your own garden, or a seasoned Permie (Permaculturalist). It shows that no matter what size garden you have, by applying basic Permaculture principles you can achieve a more diverse, natural, productive and beautiful garden.

By using communities of plants that work together and perform many functions you can create your own garden ecosystem. The author demonstrates how easy it can be to do this, whilst also being fun.

The book, amongst many other things, covers growing an edible forest that yields seasonal fruits, nuts, and other foods, whilst providing a habitat for insects, birds & mammals and building soil fertility.

Sepp Holzer Permaculture Book

This is the book which shows how, no matter what your location or situation, you can produce an holistic system that will not only feed you but will enable you to make a living from it.

Sepp farms 1,500 meters above sea level on a steep mountainside in Austria. His neighbours can only manage monoculture spruce plantations, whereas his farm is an intricate network of terraces, raised beds, ponds, waterways and tracks that produces food in abundance.

In this book Sepp shares everything from the overall concepts, right down to the practical details; covering amongst many other things

  • How he sets up a permaculture system
    The fruit varieties he has found best for permaculture growing
  • How to construct terraces, ponds, and waterways
  • How to build shelters for animals and how to work with them on the land
  • How to cultivate edible mushrooms in the garden and on the farm
Permaculture Design - Aranya

The beauty of this book is in its clarity. Aranya is an experienced Permaculture teacher and in this book leads you through the design process from beginning to end.

An excellent book for anyone who is a little unsure of how to put the design process into action for themselves, it links theory with practice; however it still has plenty to offer the more experienced designer.

Covering: Systems and patterns ~ Working as part of a design team ~ Land and non-land based design ~ Design frameworks ~ Site surveying and map making ~ Interviewing clients ~ Working with large client groups ~ Identifying functions ~ Choosing systems and elements ~ Placement and integration ~ Creating a design proposal ~ Project management ~ Presenting your ideas to clients and much more

The Earth Care Manual

Although written primarily for Britain, if you live in a temperate zone (north or south of the subtropics to the polar circles) then this is the definitive book on Permaculture.

The book is critically acclaimed; and quite rightly so. It really is the most amazing book.

Through this book you really can see an inspirational vision of a sustainable future and learn the practical steps that we can take towards it; both urban and rural, large or small.

It addresses all subjects vital to sustainability, from building and community design to food, energy, water, microclimate and shelter. Explaining in-depth in depth how to apply permaculture to any situation, from the smallest of buildings or apartments, to houses, gardens, orchards, farms and woodlands

If the ‘Earth Care Manual’ is the definitive guide to Permaculture in a temperate zone, then this book is the definitive guide to Forest Gardening (sometimes called Agroforestry).

Forest gardening offers an exciting solution to the challenge of growing food sustainably, without compromising soil health, food quality or biodiversity. All things that are essential with a changing climate.

From a small area in your back garden, to larger plots, learn how to grow a a wide range of crops in vertical layers with little need for digging, weeding or pest control. This book tells you how to how to create a beautiful space with great environmental benefits using Permaculture principles.

Check out our information on Permaculture Ethics and Permaculture Principles

A straight-forward manual of practical permaculture that provides a simple guide for living a more sustainable lifestyle.

The book is suitable for beginners as well as experienced permaculture practitioners looking for new ideas. Earth User’s Guide illustrates how to assess and design a permaculture garden of any size, whether you live in a city, urban or rural location.

This second edition has chapters on seed-saving, integrated pest management, information about domestic as well as rural water usage, a non-destructive approach towards dealing with weeks and wildlife, and designing to withstand a disaster.

It takes Permaculture beyond the garden to how we live our lives at work, and how and what we procure to meet our needs and desires.

This is the bible of Permaculture Design. It definitely is not a ‘coffee table book’ or light bedside reading. ‘Permaculture A Designers’ Manual’ is a heavy tome and reading from start to finish is not recommended (you could try if you like). If other books on Permaculture could be classed as ‘dictionaries’, this one is the ‘Encyclopaedia’. If you are in any way serious about Permaculture then this is the most essential reference book that you could ever own.

Described as the ‘Definitive guide to sustainable land use, water management, energy saving designs and techniques for urban and rural gardening and farming.’ Permaculture A Designers’ Manual is pure information, technical knowledge, intense tightly packed instruction, it is the textbook and curriculum for the 72-hour Certificate course in Permaculture Design. Written for teachers, students and designers.

Whilst the book is still available from the publishers, they are in Australia and P&P may be prohibitive.

Direct from the Publisher

‘Sensitve Permaculture: Cultivating the way of the Sacred Earth’. I like this book, it brings together the spiritual aspects of the living land with the principles and ethics of Permaculture. Alanna Moores’ seamless combination of these two elements makes this book unique.

She has done her homework and explores the living energies of the land and how to connect with them by drawing on indigenous wisdom from Australia, Ireland and other places.

Putting the two together results in a new paradigm for sustainable living, in harmonious co-operation and sacred custodianship of the land.

The book is also packed with practical tips for eco-spiritual gardeners.

Restoration Agriculture

Around the Earth our current system of farming involves cultivating annual agriculture plants that grow fast for one season, produce lots of seeds, then die. Every single human society that has relied on annual crops for its staple foods has collapsed.

Restoration Agriculture explains how we can have all of the benefits of natural, perennial ecosystems and create agricultural systems that imitate nature in form and function to provide our food.

This book, based on real-world practices, takes Permaculture to Farm and Ranch level; presenting an alternative to the agriculture system of eradication and offering exciting hope for our future.

Not only can we increase yields of food but also provide for many of our other needs.

Perennial Vegetables

When we grow annual vegetables we have to plant new ones every year; and every year we disturb the soil breaking its mycelium network & releasing its carbon.

Perennial vegetables are a joy to grow and require a lot less time and effort than annuals; needing less tillage than conventional vegetables they help to retain carbon in the soil as the soil structure is not disturbed in their cultivation. They extend the harvesting season, especially in early spring as they are already established and, of course, they are much less work.  

In this book Martin Crawford gives comprehensive advice on all types of perennial vegetable (edible plants that live longer than three years), from ground-cover plants and coppiced trees to plants for bog gardens and edible woodland plants. Over 100 perennial edibles are listed in part 2.

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