Permaculture Earthworks


David Spicer

Permaculture’s Earthworks Design Specialist

The Sensitive Excavator Operator


Why pay a consultant to stand around and watch the operator installing the earthworks costing you a small fortune when you could just pay the doc to design a real do-able system from an operator’s perspective and financial limits for the client. We install swales, dams, house-sites, roads, terraces etc.

An excavator can be a very creativity machine in the right hands.

The Doc has worked in 6 states of Australia as well as multiple countries around the world he has worked with a with a significant variation of climate, soils and landscapes. Doc Spice has had exposure too many areas in his pursuit of permaculture. This man has worked internationally in Morocco, Jordan, Palestine and New Caledonia covering all major climate zones. Doc Spice comes to you with a lot of down to earth, and practical know-how, to get the job done. Earthworks or Corrective Earth Surgery is his field of expertise. David Spicer is widely known in the permaculture and ecological restoration communities across the globe, for his water harvesting and storage earthworks, he designs what is appropriate for the landscape and client’s financial limits.

Doc Spice fee, is comparable to getting a local earth mover to do the job, but the result is vastly different, we like to apply functional beauty to everywhere we go and do this corrective earth surgery restoration earthworks should blend subtly into the landscape while keeping its form and function in relation water and the design of each site.


Water is life

Our earthworks are all about water retention in the landscape

Our approach earth-surgery is a combination of global best practices in Restoration-farming, Agro-ecology and using Permaculture design as the tool for the planning process arriving at what we call our mainframe design.

The mainframe design theme is water retention in the overall landscape its what the doc calls the bones of the system, its what underpins life on the site a healthy hydrological water cycle.

Achieving water security for the site storing water in soils and the runoff directed to dams via sensitive earthworks, then, more importantly, good spillways for the water in large rain events to exit, we always install level-sill spillways the most passive of spillways.

Functional Beauty
The result of good Earthworks

Permaculture earthworks Morocco

Ecole Vivante in the High Atlas Morocco one of our recent projects

One of the Doc’s greatest pleasures when on-site terra-forming new dams, retrofitting old dams, installing swales or house sites is to be allowed creative licences to create functional beauty that works in multi-functional ways.


David has an incredibly diverse set of skills for rural life. He often goes to a site to install the mainframe water harvesting and storage earthworks, and the conversation goes from water levels in dams and swales to fencing, forestry, portable sawmills, to the home garden and compost. The Doc is the one you want! When you start your project from the basic’s number one running water on your site, turning a tap and getting running water is a milestone in any new project, clients have repeatedly said how much they learnt from David’s extensive experience in project establishment.

Level-sill spillway

Level-sill spillway

  David was awarded a certificate of appreciation with immense gratitude, by the trustees of the Permaculture Institute, Bill Mollison.  He was awarded for services and assistance above and beyond ordinary human contribution, and for sharing with us his tremendous range of rural knowledge and skills.


Certificate of Appreciation Bill Mollison

Tatong VIC Swale Crossing & Spillway

functional beauty

Tatong VIC Aquaculture system

water is life

Boonie Doon VIC Dam Repair

dam retro fit

Moruya NSW Crossing Dam

Crossing Dam


Wadeye N.T Boarding School

Morocco Mainframe Design Install

Permaculture Design Morocco

Tiger Hill TAS Road as Water Harvester

Water Harvesting road

Taylors Flat NSW Crossing Dam

Crossing dam


Earth surgery to Doc is functional beauty,  He has been Acknowledged by Geoff Lawton; world-renowned permaculture designer and teacher, as one of the most skilled and experienced permaculture earthworks specialist in the field.