The best place to start with any garden is good design. If you design before you start, you will have something concrete to build from rather than just going on a whim and picking plants that may or may not do well together and may or may not work well within a Permaculture garden. Read more
The guiding principle of a Permaculture garden is you are replicating patterns of growth and harvest that occur naturally. Any garden designed with this in mind is a Permaculture garden. Decide and design based on how much you intend to use those natural elements in your garden.
First, decide how big your garden will be based upon the space you have available for planting.
Then decide if you want to plant a traditional garden with just a few Permaculture design features thrown in or if you want a complete, top to bottom, stacked Permaculture garden.
How are you going to protect your soil? Here are methods to consider:
Using mulch or ground cover crops to protect the soil and help keep it in place.
No-dig gardening. Tilling the soil disturbs the structure of your dirt and exposes lower layers of your soil to sunlight. That can destroy very beneficial nutrients and living creatures beneath the topsoil that are beneficial to your garden. Earthworms are your friend. They disturb little but manage to keep the soil broken up enough to allow for water to get to your plant roots. If you plant garden beds, it's ideal to design them so you never have to step inside the beds to harvest. When you step on the soil, you compact it, preventing air and water from getting to the roots of your plants. Give your soil a good health check before you start planting. If you have dry soil or soil that has little or no organic contact, you will need to need to build it up before you start.
Compost your soil but do so without turning the soil any more than absolutely necessary.
Use cover crops like beans or peas to protect your soil. Cover crops will keep the soil in place and, before they seed, you can cut them down and let them stay there to decompose and feed your soil.
Take a walk through the forest and you will see a prime example of plant stacking. Trees are the top layer, shrubs grow below them, then herbaceous plants then ground covers. Vines grow up through the mix. Mother Nature knows what she’s doing. By stacking the plants, you can utilize your space more efficiently and produce more with limited space. Plant stacking also makes maximum use of the natural elements, such as sun and water and helps to provide protection from the wind.
Mother Nature grows plants to replace others as they die off. This protects the soil and gives an unending supply of produce. Organize your Permaculture garden so that you are planting new plants when the existing ones are at the end of their production cycle. You will always keep plants growing, protecting your soil, and you will spend less time waiting for the next crops to come in.
It's important to choose crops that work together in nature. You can plant crops together that stimulate plant growth, make your plants more resistant to pests and disease, hide other plants from pests, and/or attract beneficial insects such as pollinators or beneficial predator insects that eat the pests.