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Published By Dave Boehnlein on 04/04/2018

Our Design Ethos


Today there are many design firms out there claiming to be sustainable, ecological, and “green.” Some of these firms do fantastic work and others merely add in some eco-rhetoric and continue business as usual. Terra Phoenix Design diverges in that we approach design from a different angle than most other firms. If the information you read on this page resonates with you than Terra Phoenix is the right design firm for you.

Whether looking through the lens of ecology, economics, or health - the reasons for taking care of our habitat are myriad. As part of our process, Terra Phoenix Design addresses each of these aspects of sustainability. The permaculture design system forms the foundation for this process. 

This design system follows three simple ethics:

  • Care of Planet
  • Care of People
  • Careful Process


At Terra Phoenix Design all of our work seeks to ensure that these three ethics are clearly represented. Making sure that our designs allow for ecosystems to continue functioning and providing us with their benefits is a top priority. However, in any design involving people, their needs must also be met or true sustainability will remain elusive. In the case of sustainable design, the path we take to approach sustainability is just as important as the end result. This means the processes of design, planning, and implementation should reflect the sustainable systems they create. With these underpinning ethics our design work incorporates all the various pieces of the puzzle and makes sure not just that they are all present, but that they are all functioning together harmoniously.

Our designs seek to:

  • Address the core sustainability issues of food, water, shelter, energy & community
  • Create real cost savings through increased efficiency & long-term viability
  • Boost local food production
  • Enhance resiliency both onsite and in the community
  • Increase efficiency without externalizing costs
  • Utilize local resources whenever possible
  • Create opportunities for community
  • Meet needs for both the environment and clients


Terra Phoenix Design brings a great deal of value to the table. We work with an extensive network of experts in a variety of sustainability-related fields including water conservation, rainwater harvesting, ecological assessment, food production, renewable energy, civil engineering, and more. By walking through the design process with Terra Phoenix you will end up with a clear plan of action. Having this plan will save you time, money, and heartbreak as our experience can help prevent you from making costly mistakes.

In addition, we pride ourselves on providing content that is practical, understandable, and professional. The products our clients receive from Terra Phoenix Design help them approach sustainability and realize the full potential of their property. Our design packages seek to meet our clients' needs at a wide variety of scales and budgets. If you are interested in planning for sustainability now is the time, and we are eager to help you. 


Permaculture — The practice of designing sustainable human habitats by following nature’s patterns. Permaculture draws on a wide variety of fields (e.g. natural building, alternative energy, agroforestry, alternative economics, etc.) and seeks to ensure that pieces from each of those areas of expertise relate to each other in beneficial ways.

Systems Thinking — A way of approaching problems by looking not only at the pieces of the problem itself, but also at the relationships between those pieces, and the function or purpose of the whole system in which they reside.

Resilience — The ability of a system (e.g. the human body, an ecosystem, or a neighborhood) to continue functioning in spite of changes and shocks. By including back-ups for all critical systems, providing a diversity of crops, and planning for change our designs help make systems more resilient.

Relocalization — The redirection toward meeting our needs on a local level. Relocalization augments resilience by allowing basic human needs to be met locally. In this way local areas will be better able to adapt to changes in global markets, resource supplies, and political upheaval.

Food Security — A concept looking at a defined area’s access to food. If your community/state/nation is at risk of starvation if food stops coming in from the outside than it is not food secure. Our designs seek to increase local food security.

Published by

Dave Boehnlein

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Member since 04/03/2018

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