Tiny Home Permaculture: Designing Sustainable Landscapes in Compact Spaces

Living in a tiny home is all about making the most of small spaces and learning to live without the multitude of things that we simply don’t need. Many tiny home dwellers feel as though the lifestyle allows them to forego many of the stressors that the modern world brings and, instead, spend their time getting closer to nature. It is no small wonder then that so many tiny home residents are interested in developing a garden plot that can meet most of their food needs during certain times of the year. 

Finding ways to capitalize on limited outdoor space can be a bit of a challenge. But much like moving from a normal home to a tiny home, it is achievable with a little bit of creativity and grit. Permaculture in small spaces is not only feasible but in many instances, can be done in a manner that actually gives as much back to the Earth as it takes from it.

Maximizing Outdoor Space

The first step to really tackling the design of a tiny home garden space is to make a plan for creating an inviting outdoor space. Good landscape design involves determining a purpose for every aspect of the yard. This can mean figuring out where you want for there to be seating, if you need some outdoor storage space, and exactly where you want your garden to be in relation to everything else.

As with any good tiny home resident, you may quickly realize that you have options to create multipurpose spaces. For instance, you may be able to take advantage of structures that not only provide shade on your tiny patio, but also provide a vertical growing space for your plants. Vertical space will definitely be key and it is worth considering trestles and other options to allow plants to climb up rather than out.

The next step is to really determine what type of garden you’re interested in growing. There are plenty of options ranging from a low-maintenance native plant garden to a vegetable garden that produces most of your vegetables in the summer months. Whichever direction you go, figure out specifically which species would do well in the environment you’re creating. For instance, in a vertical vegetable garden plants such as green beans, cucumbers, squash, and melons will thrive.

Permaculture is a Lifestyle

The idea of permaculture can be particularly tantalizing to many tiny home dwellers. Permaculture is the concept of growing a garden that can integrate into the surrounding environment in a homogenous way and makes use of natural growing systems. This is different from a traditional garden which relies on monoculture.

One of the big focuses of permaculture is allowing nature into your garden space. This can mean planting certain native plants that are known to attract good insects like butterflies and other pollinators. Big bold-colored plants that bloom throughout different parts of the season can keep pollinators coming back all year. And certain species, such as marigolds, are well known by serious gardeners as a beautiful plant that also helps to keep pests away.

One of the best ways to start with a permaculture garden is to work towards zero garden waste. Small changes such as incorporating compost from various veggie scraps or recycling your gray water to use for the plants are great places to start. You may also find that you can recycle other waste products such as corrugated cardboard to help keep weeds down and add carbons to compost.

Options to Add Sustainability

You may also find that there are ways to incorporate other sustainable design elements into your garden space as you are pulling it together. Chances are, you are already saving a bit of money just by being in a tiny home. But eco-friendly upgrades can help to save even more and may make going completely off the grid more feasible. There are a number of ways to finance these upgrades such as by slowly saving up funds or by taking out a loan. An added bonus is that many of these ideas may actually benefit the land you’re living on as well. 

Another strategy to add greater sustainability to your tiny home is to consider incorporating a rainwater collection system. Water that comes off the roof of the house is stored for various purposes later such as watering the garden once everything dries out again. Other greywater collected in the home such as from the laundry, shower, or sinks is also non-toxic and can be used as an alternative to traditional water sources. These sources can be a great way to save water and further limit the number of resources you are using.   

One thing that might be worth considering is whether or not solar panels would make sense in the limited garden and yard space. Investing in solar panels could be a big step towards energy independence and there are numerous financial incentives available to help with installation. The panels could be used to power other projects such as water features or lights in shaded areas. Other eco-friendly electricity options, depending on where you live, could include wind turbines or even a small water wheel. Any of these options would be a great way to reduce reliance on the grid. 


Adding a garden or other sustainable landscape to your tiny home can certainly be a bit of a challenge, but it is completely realistic to implement with a little bit of creativity. Designing a permaculture garden and incorporating eco-friendly options into the space can make for a landscape that gives as much to the environment as it does to you over time. That is certainly something to be proud of.

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The post Tiny Home Permaculture: Designing Sustainable Landscapes in Compact Spaces first appeared on Tiny House Blog.

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