Based on a philosophy of think global, act local, permaculture is a practical approach to the problems facing modern society.
It finds creative solutions to living a more sustainable life by growing local organic food and reducing energy consumption. It reduces and recycles waste and creates habitats so that other creatures can live with us in harmony.
Permaculture is an increasingly popular trend around the world and, whether they achieve it fully or not, many gardeners aspire to its basic principles.
It's something we can all do, either retrospectively converting existing gardens or from the get-go when building a home.
The whole permaculture philosophy and subsequent movement was started in Australia by Bill Mollison and he is widely considered to be the "father of permaculture", which he co-developed with David Holmgren, an ecologist born in WA who met and developed the concept with Mr Mollison in Tasmania between 1974 and 1976.
Permaculture - or permanent agriculture - encompasses not only agriculture, horticulture, architecture and ecology, but also economic systems and land-access strategies. It's often mistakenly thought to be something for people living in semi-rural areas when in fact it's the road map to true sustainability for people living in the city.
There are many "permies" in WA and Charles Otway is one who lives and breathes permaculture in his own backyard.
So much so that he helps others achieve the goals of permaculture in their own gardens through consultancy and education forums. He has been a key driver with PermacultureWest, the peak body for the movement in WA.
I spent some time in Mr Otway's evolving Karrinyup garden recently talking about the key issues people needed to consider to get a permaculture garden going.
In essence a conceptual plan is developed taking into account the garden's aspect and exposure to the elements, breaking it into zones that include livestock such as poultry, wildlife and pets, vegetables, herbs, fruit and flowers, living and recreation areas along with utility areas such as storage and water collection points.
Issues such as available solar energy are considered and home insulation points (deciduous trees), compost and firewood storage also have their considered place in the layout. Water collection and conservation plays a vital role in the planning.
Recycling the organics from your garden is critically important as it adds valuable carbon into the soil, improving its structure.
Mr Otway reduces all green waste from branches and leaves and re-uses it with simple techniques of chop and drop. The additional soil carbon improves its ability to support and sustain crops.
Community development liaison for PermacultureWest, Brooke Murphy, is passionate about permaculture and its importance to our environment, particularly with the challenges West Australians face in our gardening environment. I asked her what makes permaculture so appealing. "Permaculture is all about design, it's a way of creating everything from abundant and self-sustaining homes and gardens to truly meaningful community projects," she said.
"I believe it's the most promising set of ideas we have for creating a future that is truly sustainable."
Ms Murphy said the relevance and presence of permaculture had grown immensely in recent years.
"There's never been a more important time for permaculture, and it shows in our memberships at PermacultureWest," she said.
"We are reaching up to 10,000 people with our Facebook posts and hundreds on our mailing list."Our last event also drew crowds in the thousands."