Permaculture Design Course (PDC) at Azula 8th – 24th October 2020

Azula and Surplus Permaculture Design are excited to invite you to join us for a two week Permaculture Design Course (PDC) on a stunning 15-hectare Permaculture project in Portugal.

What is a PDC?

A PDC is an internationally-recognized, 72-hour theory course resulting in a Permaculture Design Certificate. It provides an introduction to permaculture design as set forth by movement founders Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. The PDC serves as a foundation for further permaculture work and study and is a prerequisite for the Diploma in Permaculture Design, offered through The Permaculture Association and Gaia University. Credits for this PDC are now accepted by a growing number of universities around the world. To date, thousands of permaculture designers worldwide have been certified through this course, and now comprise a global network of educators, ecological activists, consultants and practitioners who are influencing the decisions of major corporations, small business and people from all walks of life to change the way we view and design our landscape, our surroundings, our relationships and our daily lives so we can grow the revolution that our planet needs.

What to expect:

This PDC promises to be a very unique experience. We teach, based on our real-life experience with Permaculture from over 10 years’ working, teaching and experimenting in a variety of climate. It is our goal to live, breath and practise Permaculture every day of our lives and we are very passionate to share all the knowledge we have to inspire and empower the earth stewards of the future.

The 72 hours of course work, required to receive a Permaculture Design Certificate, will be covered over the two week period. It promises to be a PDC full of energy and excitement, where sessions will be taught to accommodate different learning styles combining lectures, group discussions, visual demonstrations, hands-on participatory learning and other creative ways of teaching permaculture. Participants will take part in the existing permaculture activities on the farm and see firsthand how integrated permaculture systems and holistic design are applied and maintained.

You can apply these design principles to small-scale or urban gardens as well as on large-scale farms in any climate or landscape.

Course Details:

This 2-week program will be taught in English and is designed to give participants the inspiration and knowledge they need to become a positive change in the world. The course will include a broad range of topics applicable to life anywhere on this planet, it will be tailored to the needs of the students present as well as the location at hand. We will cover every major topic in Bill Mollison’s Permaculture: a Designers Manual in the classroom and around the farm. The course curriculum is as follows:

  • Philosophies and Ethics underlying permaculture
  • Permaculture principles and how to apply them in your daily life
  • Systemic thinking exploring the connections between elements and how to identify leverage points for change
  • Patterns in Nature and how to use that in permaculture design
  • Methods of design. How to apply permaculture design tools and strategies to your design problems. How to increase your chance of a successful design by following a well-defined design methodology.
  • Climactic factors and strategies. We will cover all the major climates and how to work with them.
  • Trees, forests and Forest gardening. How to mimic natural forest systems to create an abundance of food, fibre and fodder.
  • Water: catchment, usage, importance, and conservation.
  • Soil: Learn about the physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil and how to work with the soil food web to build new soils, prevent erosion, create a healthy ecosystem and regenerate degraded land.
  • Earthworks. Shaping the land to reap the rewards of mother earth and create positive effects on ecological systems
  • Natural Building.How to build beautiful, spiritually uplifting homes using locally resourced natural materials.
  • Alternative systems. Community living and alternative lifestyles that unite people and the planet. Bioregional organization, community development, alternative economic systems, permaculture as aid.

Design Project 

Towards the end of the PDC, participants will help to co-create a Permaculture design for a real project/piece of land; taking all the knowledge that has been learned you will be guided through the design process, learning first hand how Permaculture can be applied and the solution solving benefits it can have.  Participants will have the opportunity to design their own land or any projects they are involved in during this PDC.

Please contact us for more information If you are interested in designing your own land or a project you are involved in)

Additional Activities

We have some wonderfully talented people here at Azula, and interesting people are always passing through our land, we love to learn and share our skills and often practice yoga, capoeira, meditation and drumming, dancing ….and much more together. You are more than welcome to join in and if you have a skill you would like to share we are always open.

The Azula community wants to create a safe and welcoming place for you to try new things, experiment, laugh and let go, to explore a deeper connection with yourself and with the natural world in stillness and tranquillity. You will learn so much during this course, but having a great time is also the goal, so come with an open and relaxed mindset and make the most of your experience!

We have a beautiful lake on site where you will be able to bathe as you wish during breaks and free time and we are only a 15-minute drive to a beautiful beach.


PDC price: € 675 (Euros)

Early Bird Discounts: Get in there early and secure your PDC for an incredible € 650 (Euros) if you sign up before July 31st 2020!

This price includes all meals, a comfy bed in the dormitory for the duration of the course, transportation to and from the farm to Sao Luis (picking up on October 8th and dropping off after the course ) and all course tuition and materials.

Please arrive no later than 13h00 on the 8th June for a welcome lunch and introductory tour

If you would like to have more privacy, you can book one of our lovely private lotus-tents during the course where you will have electricity, a closet and plenty of space. There will be an added cost of €30 per day.

We ask all registrants to make a deposit of €100 (plus €4.95 transaction fee) to secure your spot and the remaining fees (€680) be paid in cash on arrival or transferred to the Azula bank account.

Azula would like to be as transparent as possible with their finances, as an example to other projects and to be open and honest with visitors and students, who each contribute so much to the building and development of the farm and community. Azula is currently funded by its founders but they want to create a more resilient economic model by diversifying their streams of income. Creating a volunteer program and by running courses and workshops will help develop the systems on the land. The money paid for your course fee will be divided between Azula project and the facilitators, meaning Azula can go forward with developing the project and purchasing of materials, and the facilitators can continue with their passion to teach and inspire.

Please Note:

In the unlikely event of us cancelling the course, your deposit will be refunded in full, additionally, we will not be held responsible for any financial losses accrued. Deposits are non-refundable. We will accept late bookings if there is space available.

Fundraise for your Tuition

If you are interested in a creative way to come up with funds for this course, look into fundraising for it through It is a great way to reach out to your family and friends, let them know what you are up to and give them an easy way to contribute to your education.


 Meet the  Facilitators: 

Lola Bryon

me-teachingLola Byron is a Permaculture and Natural Building facilitator, practitioner and consultant. After travelling the globe with her young family and connecting with Permaculture projects she now lives in Southern Portugal where she works, teaches and builds. Originally from Birmingham, England, she has been a thriving Permaculturist and natural builder since completing her PDC back in 2010. Following this, she was an active urban Permaculturist; designing and implementing a variety of community gardens and co-facilitating natural building and gardening workshops in and around the UK. With a background in studying then teaching Fine Art, Sculpture, when she discovered Permaculture and building with earth she knew she had found her calling in life and she loves to apply these artistic skills to create beautiful buildings from earth, specialising in adobe, cob and earthbags. Having now completed 10 house builds (project managing 8 of these) she is always excited to pass on her knowledge to inspire and empower others to re-connect with the earth, make positive changes and become more self-reliant. Lola was the natural building manager at Panya Project, Thailand for 3 years, where she taught numerous PDC’s, hands-on Permaculture and Natural Building Courses, and co-managed the volunteer and intern program as well as the daily running of the farm. Lola joined Surplus Permaculture Design in 2017, an international collaboration of Permaculture designers, as a consultant and project manager.

Kyle Smith 

gardenKyle has practised horticulture and community living on a kibbutz in Israel where he was inspired to pursue a career in horticulture. During his studies, he completed an internship at Soil for Life, a Cape Town-based non-profit organization teaching people how to build the soil and grow healthy plants using organic and low-cost methods.  After completing his studies in horticulture he worked at Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens in Cape Town, South Africa. His main focuses were conserving indigenous plant species, rehabilitating degraded ecosystems, designing and establishing education gardens on the grounds of the botanic garden. Kyle recently left his position as the perennial plant manager at Panya Project, Thailand, where he spent 3 years teaching, designing and co-coordinating the volunteer and internship program. He is currently a nomadic permaculture consultant and teacher; travelling and connecting with Permaculture projects around the world. Kyle is also a designer and consultant for Surplus Permaculture Design. He is passionate about conserving soil ecosystems, plant propagation and small-scale ecological agriculture. He is working towards empowering people to grow their own food, become more self-reliant, and regenerate degraded ecosystem.

About Azula

Azula is a place, a project and the home of two families that share the same vision, to raise their children in a beautiful safe environment and to cultivate their land and themselves to enjoy life fully

Founded in August 2016, in the beautiful Alentejo region of Portugal. The founders are full of enthusiasm, passion, determination and knowledge, and they are transforming this previously heavily grazed land, into an abundant off the grid farm by applying fully integrated Permaculture design systems. This is a fantastic opportunity to see how you can really make dreams into reality by designing and building a Permaculture project from scratch. Not only will you be partaking in a two-week immersion into permaculture, but you will also be part of the beautiful Azula community and thereby learn how to live and thrive with people from all walks of life, go back to basics and becoming more connected with nature. Our aim is to create a supportive learning community for the duration of the course where trust, compassion, support and connection is built among participants, facilitators and community members.

The Accommodation:

Accommodation during the course will be provided in a cob roundhouse dormitory with comfortable mattresses and pillows. For those that would prefer more privacy, there is the option to rent a private bell tent for a maximum of 2 people at an added charge of € 30 a day. They will be placed in private and beautiful surroundings in the proximity of toilettes and showers. We have limited tents so booking them in advance is a must. If you prefer, you can also bring your own tent and camp on the designated areas. Please be flexible about your sleeping space. If for some reason you would strongly prefer to be in one space or the other, please let us know, and we will try to make that happen for you.

Fresh and organic vegetarian food will be provided throughout the course and will be sourced from the farm itself and the local market. Special dietary needs can be accommodated for but please let us know in advance.

To find out more please visit the Azula website 

Contact information:

Please feel free to email us on for any additional information you may need.