Permaculturists aim to maximize connections between different components of the same system so that they (components) can mutually benefit from one another. This is what permaculture design is all about. According to David Holmgren, there are 12 permaculture design principles.

1. Observe and Interact

This principle puts into consideration the design and layout of a system with the aim of working with nature to ensure that some system elements meet their needs naturally through the output of other elements.

2. Catch & Store Energy

According to this principle, permaculturists need to tap energy that moves past the system and comes from offsite, with the aim of using or storing it as it circulates.

3. Obtain a Yield

Each element in a system should be designed in a way that makes it possible to get a yield (e.g. food, water, shelter, medicine, etc).

4. Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback

Captured energy serves several different purposes. While some is needed for maintenance, part of it is taken back for use by lower-order providers. Some energy is also channeled upward, to make the system better.

5. Use & Value Renewable Resources and Services

With renewable resources, the energy returned is always more than that invested.

6. Produce no Waste

This principle requires that you aim to promote the five Rs (rethinking, reducing, repairing, reusing and recycling).

7. Design from Patterns to Details

Put into consideration things like space, branching, temperature, sounds, seasons, light, space, time, and other patterns that have an effect on the system.

8. Integrate Elements Rather than Segregating

Based on location, each element in the system should have the ability to accomplish as many tasks as possible.

9. Use Small & Slow Solutions

Time should be used as an advantage and element to allow species to interact with one another and grow to maturity at their own pace.

10. Use & Value Diversity

Needs such as sun, shade, water, and food should be met in a variety of ways, and different system elements co-operate to support the system needs.

11. Use Edges & Value the Marginal

Mind species such as birds, rabbits, deer, etc., which prefer living in the margins, between systems.

12. Creatively Use & Respond to Change

Focus on durability and flexibility. Be ready to respond to any unplanned-for emerging changes.