Our Lead Permadesigners.

Our Lead PermaDesigners.

At PermaDesign we believe decisions that “green” our daily lives should add beauty, comfort, and value to our most-important investments. While impacting our world at home, we can all positively affect the environment upon which we depend. Each of us can make a difference by the way we see and the way we act.


Nate Downey, Principal

Nate Downey


Author of the recent award-winning book, “Harvest the Rain,” published in 2010 by Sunstone Press, Nate brings an extensive background to his current work and practice as a designer, “landscape-changer,” and forward-looking writer. For over a decade, Nate has spoken, taught, and penned numerous columns, guides, and publications extending permaculture practices in vitally important ways. At home, in our backyards, in the workplace, regionally, nationally, and internationally, Nate’s work provides practical and visionary ways to be productive and add value to our lives, homes, communities, and environment.



Melissa McDonald, Principal

Melissa McDonald


Melissa is a licensed Landscape Architect. She is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, a certified permaculture designer, and certified master gardener. She has designed hundreds of residential and institutional landscapes since 1991. In 2003, Melissa worked closely with the legislature and state officials to pass New Mexico’s greywater-recycling law and has worked on the development of educational materials about greywater for the public. For more than a decade, she served as the vice chair of the City of Santa Fe’s Water Conservation Committee, and she is now the City of Santa Fe’s River and Watershed Coordinator. Melissa is a designer, an educator, and an experienced facilitator of diverse stakeholders. She believes that when people have the tools to see their landscapes, their homes, and their lives connected and interwoven into the global community and their local watersheds, powerful designs — with more sustainable solutions — are developed.