A weed-free flower garden, bursting with healthy plants, starts with preparation and a few good tools. Tackling weeds when they are small saves time and effort, and removing them before they get large enough to rob your ornamentals of vital nutrients gives your desirable plants a better chance to bloom and grow. Use a little caution when you start yanking out weeds—poison ivy loves the fertile, loamy soil in flower garden beds.
Pull them. The fastest and most readily available tool for this task is attached to the end of your arm. A good pair of gloves can improve your grip and protect your skin from volatile oils and thorns.
Dig them. There are a number of small hand tools available to dig out weeds with long taproots like dandelions. Most have a narrow, sharpened blade that is designed to be pushed into the soil to cut the root.
Use a hoe. A hoe is a long-handled tool with a curved or angled blade on the business end. Using a push-pull or dragging action, small weeds are dislodged and their roots exposed to the air.
Spread a mulch. Different mulches give different looks, but anything that prevents weed seeds from making contact with soil will keep weeds to a minimum. Root or bark mulch gives a natural, woodsy look to your beds, while a gravel mulch might be more appropriate to a desert-type garden. Lay landscaping fabric beneath the mulch for an extra layer of protection. Landscaping fabric allows water and air to penetrate, but prevents weeds from penetrating from above or below.
Protect your perimeters. Many grasses spread by underground rhizomes and will find their way into your garden beds. To keep them out, install edging to a depth of at least 6 inches.