Friday, 12 February 2021

The Polyculture Project - Regenerative Landscape Designs - Carla Blackmar, Oxford, Ohio, United States

 Last year we launched our first Regenerative Landscape Design - Online Interactive Course. We had an amazing group from all over the world and have been encouraged and inspired by the excellent work the group produced throughout the course. During this 20 week course, it is our primary goal to provide confidence and inspiration to our participants to start building regenerative landscapes, gardens, and farms that produce food and other resources for humans while enhancing biodiversity.  Judging by the design projects the participants completed at the end of the course it looks like we're on the right track and we're looking forward to our next course starting May 1st this year.

Regenerative Landscape Design - Online Interactive Course - How to Design, Build and Manage Polycultures for Landscapes, Gardens and Farms 

With permission, we'll be sharing some of the final designs from the course with you over the next few months. This week, we're presenting a design from Carla Blackmar based on the development of an outdoor classroom of an elementary school in Ohio, US. 

Kramer Elementary School, Oxford Ohio - Regenerative Site Design by Carla Blackmar

The risks of indoor spread of COVID-19 in school settings have exposed the degree to which many US communities have neglected the potential of outdoor public space.  My design re-imagines an underutilized elementary school property in small-town Ohio, with a focus on making inviting outdoor spaces for learning while also working to address ecological challenges including habitat loss due to invasive plants and deforestation.  I have tried to focus on low-maintenance and resilient design solutions, attempting a design that can be maintained largely by machine with a focus on edible native trees such as paw paw, persimmon, oak and hickory.  While this project is unlikely to be built, the principles gained in the course and through the creation of this design will be applied to other local projects, some of which will focus on public space."

Existing and Historic Conditions

Site Constraints

  • Water: poor soils on top of slope means water runs off instead of soaking in. Water is in wrong place for food forest.

  • Soils: Possible construction debris/ compaction during construction have resulted in poor soils

  • Economic: School district has no funding for this project, would need to be paid
  • for with outside $

  • Deer: very high deer population will make it difficult to “beat them” to theharvest in the forest. Fencing is prohibitively expensive.

  • Social: past outdoor education projects on-site have been abandoned. 

Site Goals and Designs

Food Forest Plan Detail

Native Food Forest and Compost Area

Outdoor Classroom Plan Detail

Final Site Images

If you would like to get in touch with Carla you can reach her at 

If you would like to join the course this spring, you can find out all about what's included here, and right now we have a 20% discount on the full enrollment fees. Just use the promo code RLD2021 in the section of the registration form to receive your discount. The offer is valid until the 15th of March 2021.

In our next post, we'll be looking at a design by Olivier Bastin an experienced hydrological engineer and consultant that has developed a project for his community. 


We offer a diversity of plants and seeds for permaculture, forest gardens and regenerative landscapes including a range of fruit and nut cultivars. We deliver all over Europe from Nov - March. - Give a happy plant a happy home :)

Our Bio-Nursery - Permaculture/Polyculture/ Regenerative Landscape Plants 


Design and Create Webinars - Forest Gardens, Urban Gardens, Permaculture, Regenerative Farming   

We're hosting a range of online learning sessions including how to create habitat to enhance biodiversity, how to design and build a forest garden, polyculture design software tutorials, regenerative farm, and landscape design, urban gardening and much more. If you would like to be notified when our next sessions are coming up please add your email below and hit subscribe and we'll be in touch.

You can also register for our online training, services, and products directly here.


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