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Earthworks & Water Harvesting

June 5Book Now

PRI Australia
1158 Pinchin Road
The Channon, NSW 2480 Australia
+ Google Map


Geoff Lawton is internationally recognised as a leading earthworks engineer – having an extremely broad experience worldwide in setting up earthworks systems that drought-proof land and optimise productivity. This earthworks course is a hands-on course that will help you design and implement water harvesting strategies on your property. In addition, this course gives great value to further enhance any serious consultant’s portfolio to have confidence when supervising contractors.

Earthworks construction can be a rewarding investment in your property. Enhancing the aesthetic appeal, functionality and value of your landscape are all realistic potential outcomes. However, it can be intimidating to order large machinery onto your property and getting it wrong can be discouraging and very expensive. This course will give you the knowledge and confidence to get your earthworks right, first time around.

In this course, you will learn the theory and practice of Permaculture Earthworks – learning site design skills, surveying and directing earthmoving machines to establish dams, swales, terraces, access roads and more.




Students will understand the principles of permaculture design in earthworks: reading the site, interpreting contour maps and using surveying tools, placing elements in a design. Students will be able to use the basic terminology for earthworks and soil water management, resolve issues and work with contractors to direct earth movers in action.



  • Reason for earthworks and types of earthworks
  • Earthwork elements and types of machines
  • Learning how to use survey equipment; learning practical surveying and design of dams and swales
  • Learning how to direct earth movers

Dams and Spillways

  • Design systems with multiple elements
  • Specifics of dam construction and design issues
  • Tour farm site to identify different elements on the farm
  • Survey of dams. Break into groups for survey designs

Swales and Spillways and Gabions

  • Specifics of swales
  • Integration of swales into a system including planting-up of the system
  • Visit existing swale sites
  • Surveying of potential sites. Break into groups for survey designs

Review of Earthworks

  • Questions and answers from class
  • Miniature Earthworks Exercise by students
  • Completion of unfinished design projects with groups


Geoff Lawton is a Permaculture consultant, designer and teacher. He first took his Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course with Bill Mollison in 1983. He holds a Diploma in Permaculture Education, Design, Implementation, System Establishment, Administration and Community Development given by the founder of Permaculture, Bill Mollison.

Earth Banks

  • House Sites/Benches/Terraces
  • Access tracks/driveways/crossing pipes
  • Activity: Stability Plan-Ups and Erosion Control
  • Placing of swivel pipes and crossing pipes


Geoff has undertaken thousands of jobs teaching, consulting, designing, administrating and implementing, in 6 continents and close to 50 countries around the world. Clients have included private individuals, groups, communities, governments, aid organizations, non-government organisations and multinational companies.

He has currently educated over 15,000 students in Permaculture worldwide. These include graduates of the Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course and courses focused on the practical design of sustainable soil, water, plant, and legal and economic systems.




Zaytuna Farm is an operational permaculture farm, education centre and demonstration site that has an ongoing development program. With the farm under constant development, and seasonal variation, projects vary and change throughout the year. The farm is situated on a sixty-six-acre property that fronts Terania Creek opposite the village of The Channon, Northern NSW. The property contains 800m of creek frontage, numerous swimming holes and abundant wildlife. The landscape is diverse, covering high frost-free hilltops, ridges and valleys with both cleared paddocks and forested areas.



Your fees include camping accommodation (in self-provided tents), full catering with three meals per day plus morning and afternoon tea, after hours internet access, and an abundance of Permaculture examples throughout the farm.

WHY DO A COURSE WITH the Permaculture Research Institute?

We live what we teach

Zaytuna Farm is Geoff and Nadia’s home. Permaculture is their life. They are farmers, teachers, and designers who actively pursue positive change in this world within their everyday lives and they are willing and able to share that with you for a more resilient future.


World Class Teachers

Geoff Lawton is the foremost permaculture consultant, designer and teacher and founder of the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia. Our intern team are mentored and supported by Geoff throughout their internships and they live and teach alongside Geoff and Nadia at Zaytuna Farm. They are highly experienced, active and passionate individuals who are committed to a sustainable future for all.

The Farm

Zaytuna Farm is a very active Permaculture demonstration site. It is at the forefront of Permaculture Design and as a student, you will have the unique experience of learning in a place where all the principles are there for you to see, every day of your course.



We support our graduates in a number of ways. We have developed the Global Permaculture Network. Here you will find an interactive database of permaculture practitioners, teachers, consultants and aid workers from all over the world. The potential for constructive networking here is enormous! Create regular updates on your own Worldwide Permaculture Network blog under your profile, to get noticed, receive friendship, encouragement, and tips.


One of Geoff’s favorite phrases is “getting a result” and his results on the ground and with students is impressive. The quality of a course is not evidenced in the teacher, but in how active the students are able to implement the designs after they leave the course and Geoff has the most active PDC students in the world.



Courses offered through the Permaculture Research Institute are based on the permaculture principles laid down in the 1970s by Australian permaculture founder Bill Mollison.


You can pay for your course now via Paypal or credit card by purchasing a ticket below, or you can contact us at [email protected]. All prices are in Australian dollars, including GST.

Prior to booking please read our refunds policy.

Need help?

If you have any questions about this Design Course please contact us.


Please note: PRI recommends that all students and visitors to Zaytuna Farm have a valid tetanus immunization. This is due to Zaytuna Farm being an active farming site.


June 5
$150 - $1350
Event Categories:


The Permaculture Research Institute
0419 741 358
[email protected]


Meals are fully catered with three meals per day plus morning and afternoon tea.
Camping accommodation will be available.
Geoff Lawton


PRI Australia
1158 Pinchin Road
The Channon, NSW 2480 Australia
+ Google Map
+61 (0)419 741 358


Regular Price - Permaculture Earthworks Course at PRI Australia ZF 05/06/2017$1,350.00This price is available from 21 days before the course commences.
Deposit - Permaculture Earthworks at PRI Australia ZF 05/06/2017$150.00Reserve a place now with a $150 deposit & pay the balance of $1,200 two weeks prior to course start date. We will email you an invoice for the remainder showing the due date.
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