Diploma of Site Design

The Diploma of Permaculture Site Design is granted to honor achievement and excellence in permaculture site design at all scales.

Once your application is accepted, your Field Advisor will meet with you to discuss your current qualifications and together you will develop an Action Learning Plan in order to meet all of the Diploma requirements. Upon completion of the Action Learning Plan, you will submit a Portfolio to PINA for review and earn your Diploma!

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Your portfolio must include the following documents:

Additional documentation if applicable:

  • Bibliography of publications
  • Roster of public outreach activities
  • Professional awards
  • Additional supporting evidence, such as field reports or photos
Action Learning Plan

Developed with the guidance of the field advisor, the plan may entail mentoring, internships, paid work, self-directed projects, and direct instruction. A completed Action Learning Plan also includes documentation of how you implement permaculture in your personal life, including the design and status of your home site and livelihood. This item illustrates permaculture ethics in action.

Advanced Coursework

Participation in a PINA-recognized Advanced Permaculture Design Course or other advanced permaculture course is highly recommended, and may be required by the field advisor.

Permaculture Design Work

Completion of 10 comprehensive permaculture client-based designs and/or community project designs are required. Portfolio must include evidence of the ability to present design work in an organized, timely, articulate manner.

Team-based design work is encouraged. Demonstration of skills is required that connect design to the real world, including problem solving ability, budgeting, generating estimates and scheduling.

Design Experience Requirements

You must demonstrate a broad diversity of design experience to earn a Diploma of Site Design. The criteria listed below serves as a guide for assessing the diversity of your design projects, and may assist in developing your Action Learning Plan to achieve more varied design experience.

One or more of these requirements may be waived at the discretion of the field advisor, in consideration of your unique circumstances or challenges.


At least 5 designs for physical sites
At least 2 designs for invisible structures


At least 2 designs completed in a partnership or team At least 2 designs completed solo


At least 1 design for less than 1/4 acre At least 1 design for 1/4 – 3 acres At least 1 design for greater than 3 acres


At least 1 urban design At least 1 suburban design At least 1 rural design


At least 1 design outside the candidate’s home bioregion


At least 2 designs for a private residence At least 1 design for a business enterprise At least 1 design for an institution At least 1 design for a community project


At least 1 design completed as a paid professional At least 1 design completed as a volunteer


At least 5 designs substantially implemented

Design Submission Format

Provide each of the 10 designs electronically in the following format.

1. Project Overview

Vision statements/ethics
Notes on client interview
Goal statement/design aims
Icon or symbol for the project (optional)

2. Documentation of Existing Site

Base map for the entire site, including neighbors at the edges
Blow-up maps for area(s) of intensive design (as needed)
Elevations, sandbox or models (as needed)
Species lists
Diagram of current invisible structures
Document features (soils, water rights, liens, easements, building codes, etc)
Additional notes on observation and research

3. Site Analysis

Overlay Chart of Sectors
Overlay Chart of Current Zones of Use
Overlay Charts of Microclimates, etc. (as needed)

4. Design Methods

Charts of Needs/Yields, Pattern Language, other methods (as needed)

5. Final Design

Overlay Chart of Design Features
Blow-ups, elevations, models, charts, etc. (as needed)
Overlay Chart of Proposed Zones of Use (as needed)
Diagram of Proposed Invisible Structures (as needed)
Bubble Chart showing connections among the design features

6. Implementation Plan

Phases/Time line
Budget and Materials