For example, several cultivars of apple tree will allow you to have ripe apples from late summer well into fall. If you separate these with a plum or pear tree between, apple pests will have a hard time moving from tree to tree.
Another example would be the "Three Sisters" used by some Native American tribes. Maize (corn), beans and squash were often grown together to benefit each other. The maize provides corn, and at the same time gives the beans a natural trellis to grow on. Besides the bean for food, they also work with nodule forming bacteria to fix nitrogen form the air which can act as a fertilizer for the corn and squash. The squash grows low to the ground with large leaves that helps hold in moisture and act as a living mulch suppressing weeds.
Permaculture Design Principle #10
Use and value diversity: Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
Water features can provide habitat for amphibians (which are beneficial predators), a place to drink and bathe for birds, and relaxing sounds for a sleepy summer afternoon. Chickens provide eggs, possibly meat, and perform pest control duties, compost enhancement and outstanding nutrient/fertilizer yield. The possibilities are amazing!
As you can see, we can embrace diversity in our landscapes as well as in our communities. Just as a diverse workforce can enhance a business, a diverse design can enhance your lifestyle and boost your connection with nature. Each element can perform multiple functions which will increase the resiliency and productivity of your environment.
Thanks for reading! If a diverse, sustainable and productive landscape interests you contact me and I can get you started.