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Earthworks and Water Workshop

February 11, 2023 @ 9:00 am - February 12, 2023 @ 5:00 pm


Future Proofing your Property

For those interested in the art and science of sustainable earthworks, regenerating landscape and future proofing their property. 

About the workshop

Good earthworks design and construction for your permaculture system is crucial for regenerating your land, creating a lower maintenance, self-sustaining system and future proofing your property for food and water. The earth works is the framework or structure that your system hangs off and your design is only as good as its foundations. Good earth works makes your system. It creates water, soil and forests:

  • saves water and provides more water for your property
  • saves money by reducing irrigation or never having to irrigate
  • stops erosion and saves soils
  • builds soil, organic matter, nutrients and fertility
  • obeys natural patterns therefore good design
  • provides greater access around your property     

This workshop will help you understand, design and implement earthworks on your property (large or small) to set up your system well from its foundations, getting the structure and framework right. It will prepare you for future scenarios such as drought; floods; food shortages; and climate change.

Urban or broadacre, this workshop will give you the theory and practical earthworks examples and options such as how to construct pathways, roads, swales, terraces, earthbeams, keyline, diversion drains, retaining walls, culverts, sediment traps and much more.

You will get hands-on practical on the ground experience of how to:

  • design a real earthworks project
  • how to do your own surveying including using a dumpy and other levels; measure contour
  • Make your own swales including peg out swales; dig swales; construct a spillway
    construct a drains and culverts, sediment traps
  • how to design, connect and integrate gardens, paths, roads and other elements harmoniously together
  • And lots more.    

This will be a fun packed hands-on weekend all about earthworks – thinking, designing and constructing. You will be completing a swale system from beginning to end and you will get the skills to go home and design and construct your own. Don’t miss this ground-breaking experience.


About the Trainer 

David Spicer   


Dave SpicerDave Spicer, or Doc Spice as he is known, is one of the permaculture movements greatest earthworks and water specialists. He is “the Doc” of landscapes and soils, regenerating, repairing and hydrating degraded farms into properties that not only become more sustainable but also more functional, productive, profitable and beautiful. He has designed and constructed dams, roads, swales, terraces, and numerous other techniques on properties throughout Australia and abroad. He can operate any machine necessary to do the job and has both the theory and years of on the ground experience.  

Having taught and worked on various projects extensively within Australia and internationally, such as Morocco, Jordan, Palestine and New Caledonia, David Spicer has covered a broad array of different soil types, topography and climatic zones.

David is a valued member of the Permaculture Sustainable Consulting team headed up by Geoff Lawton.

He is a master of practical and logical mainframe permaculture design which allows him to give his extensive experience of life and the cost involved to change a site.

He has majored in the design water harvesting and storage earthworks which frames all regenerative farming.

David has the distinction of being Registered Teacher #5 with the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia.

Workshop Program

This workshop will include:

  • Theory of different types of earthworks and applications and options for each – dams, ponds, paths, roads, garden beds, terraces, drains, leaky weirs, swales and keyline systems
  • Designing your own earthworks projects – where and how to start earthworks projects for a range of purposes
  • How to connect and integrate on-site elements such roads, drains, paths, gardens, tanks, chook pens, food forests
  • Appropriate machines for specific applications
  • Surveying techniques and marking out and pegging contours for swales
  • Swale construction including spillways to completion phase
  • Installing drains and culverts
  • Applying green manures and living ground covers over exposed soil for protection.

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February 11, 2023 @ 9:00 am
February 12, 2023 @ 5:00 pm
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Bandusia Country Retreat
1056 Upper Macdonald Rd
Upper MacDonald (St Albans), NSW Australia
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(02) 4568 2036