• The Eco-Institute at Pickards Mountain (map)
  • 8519 Pickards Meadow Road
  • Chapel Hill, NC, 27516
  • United States





Do you wish your Permaculture Design skills were stronger?

Are you ready to learn the skills you need to design your home or other landscape?

Would you like to explore a career in Permaculture Design?


Many of us have taken a Permaculture Foundations Class or even earned a Certification, but still lack the skills to execute a professional design.  Local Permaculture Designer, Will Hooker, along with other Permaculture Legends like Toby Hemenway, believe there is so much wonderful material in a typical PDC course that there often isn't sufficient time left for actual design practice.

Join us at The Eco-Institute this Spring for six days of fun, intensive, hands-on measuring, base-mapping, dreaming, designing, and drawing beautiful landscape plans.  Pre-requisites include reading material, having a basic understanding of Permaculture Principles, and being willing to work hard!

Students entering with a Permaculture Foundations Certification may use this opportunity to earn a Permaculture Design Certification.

If a space is well designed to function seamlessly for its intended use, it will be used; if it is used, it will be loved; and if it is loved, it will become beautiful.
— Will Hooker

Permaculture is a design system for deeply sustainable, ergonomic, and functional living and land use.  After one week, you will be better able to design your home, school, or business landscape employing the principles of permaculture to their best advantage. 

To design a space that will be useful, it is necessary to imagine, to visualize, how that space might be used. Seeing in the mind’s eye how that space might be populated with people and animals going through their activities allows a designer to understand how that space might best be arranged. This act of visualizing is like a meditation– getting lost in the vision is a timeless experience, one that is often the biggest reward to take away from doing designs. In this course we will explore the meditative act of visualizing.


The 3 projects will focus on the property of the Eco-Institute and will be to design the spaces around:

A newly constructed cob cottage
An established home
And a commercial parking lot, barn, animal pen, and garden area


2pm Sunday, April 23 - 5pm Saturday, April 29

9am-5pm each day

$600 early bird price expires April 15th!  Regular price $800

$60 camping fee/ $10 per night with commercial kitchen, hot showers, and indoor lounge area

Includes three fresh, healthy meals a day, dinner Sunday through lunch Saturday


                                                                                                                                                               PHOTO by SHAWN ROCCO

                                                                                                                                                               PHOTO by SHAWN ROCCO

Prof. Will Hooker was raised near Lake Ontario in NY, obtained an undergraduate degree in Landscape Architecture from SUNY College of Forestry at Syracuse University in 1967, and a masters degree from NC State University in 1979.  In the years between the two degrees, he practiced in professional offices in Raleigh, Durham, and San Francisco, obtaining his Landscape Architect license in North Carolina in 1975.  Will is currently an Emeritus Professor, retired from the NC State Horticulture Department where he taught small-scale garden design for 34 ½ years in a nationally renowned program which he built and oversaw starting in 1979.  He was recognized for his excellence in teaching by being inducted into the Academy of Outstanding Teachers at NC State, has been involved in award-winning landscape designs in private practice outside the university, and is also recognized as an accomplished sculptor, building mostly ephemeral bamboo structures with students and community groups in the Carolinas and Australia.  

As if that wasn't enough, in 1995, pursuing his interest in ecologically based sustainable development, Will became certified as a Permaculture Designer & Instructor, and when PINA (Permaculture Institute of North America) was instituted in 2016, Will was among the first 50 to be recognized by the organization. He has achieved recognition for his work in sustainable practices from NC State University, the City of Raleigh, and the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. In 1998, he taught the first university-based permaculture course on the East Coast, and in 1999-2000, with his wife, Dr. Jeana Myers, and their 2-year old son, Eli, he completed a ten-month, around-the-world fantasy adventure, wherein he visited over 250 sites in eleven nations, studying primarily permaculture and sustainable practices. Will and his wife’s home garden is a model for permaculture design, recognized as such by being the cover photo for the international best selling book on permaculture by Toby Hemenway, Gaia’s Garden, 2nd Ed. Will’s mission and contribution to permaculture design is to bring beauty, as well as productiveness, to each space and place with which he works.