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  • Naomi Stephens | Permaculture Designer

Permaculture Apartment Design Zones

Updated: Mar 17

Ordinary large-scale Permaculture has a zoning system based on the distance it takes you to get to the item. In urban environments, our whole apartment is zone 1, so a distance-based approach wouldn't be helpful to us.

Permaculture Apartment Zoning is based on sunlight availability in an apartment. This will inform your design decisions, just like ordinary zoning methods in Permaculture.

Zone 1 - Sun Facing window

This is a window that is facing south. This means that you'll get optimal sunlight all day long. You could technically grow almost everything here.

However, be careful of young seedlings, as intense rays could burn them. If plants have been in the sun too long, especially on sunny days, the leaves will wilt. Depending on how hot the room gets, you may also have to water more.

Plants that can be placed here are high-light-loving plants, such as edible flowers, dwarf fruits, fruiting vegetables, and herbs.

Zone 2 - East and West Facing Window

These windows get partial sunlight. East-facing windows get morning sunlight, and west-facing windows get the afternoon and evening sunlight.

These are the plants that can be grown here:

  1. lettuce

  2. green onions

  3. chives

  4. ginger

  5. spinach

You can also grow medium-light-loving herbs like cilantro, parsley, and mint.

Zone 3 - Walls

This is where your plants are placed beside a wall and receive light. You are better off growing shade-tolerant plants (see list below in Zone 6) and small roots like radishes. You could get away with more if your wall receives light from a south-facing window.

Zone 4 - Dark Corner

You're very limited with light here. I'd only recommend growing mushrooms in this corner, as they like dark, low-light areas. But you could dramatically boost your growth potential if you were to get some grow lights. Read my recommended grow lights article here.

Zone 5 - Centre

This is where your plants are placed in the center of a room and receive only a tiny portion of light. In these cases, sticking to shade-tolerant plants (below) is your best option.

Zone 6 North-facing window

A north-facing window isn't going to get any direct sunlight. But you can still grow shade-tolerant edible plants like:

  • Nasturtiums

  • Arugula

  • Lambs Lettuce

  • Spinach

  • Mustard Greens

  • Garlic

  • Chives

  • Potatoes

  • mint

  • Parsley

  • Cilantro

  • Basil Ginger

  • Alpine Strawberries

  • Blueberries

  • Black Raspberries


I hope you enjoyed this article. Hit the heart button and stay tuned for more weekly updates.


Lilly Carmichael
Lilly Carmichael
Sep 23, 2021

I love this article! It's really helped me start planning. I'm missing the plants in Zone 6 though - the subscribe notification doesn't have an exit option and I already subscribed :(

Naomi Stephens | Permaculture Designer
Naomi Stephens | Permaculture Designer
Sep 23, 2021
Replying to

Hi Lily! I'm so glad you enjoyed the article. Placing plants in their zones will really help their growing potential. I had a look at the exit problem you were having, and I've managed to resolve it. You should be able to see zone 6 now. Thank you so much for letting me know :) it helps me to make the site better. If there are any further issues please don't hesitate to message me. Naomi


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