The best thing you can do to lower garden maintenance is to get your weeds under control. Correct weed removal is not an unskilled labor task. Workers must be able to distinguish noxious weeds from often similar-looking desirable ornamentals. If the entire weed is not dug out with a proper tool (many cannot just not be hand pulled), new growth will soon sprout. Hand weeding is tedious and time-consuming, but necessary. To minimize that need, a regular regimen of pre-emergent weed treatment is the best defense. Use of Preen or a corn gluten product every 3-4 months will break the cycle of weed growth. Pre-emergents prevent weed seeds in the ground from germinating. Since different weeds germinate at different times of the year, it is imperative to apply the product regularly. (Pre-emergents will not kill existing weeds.) These are granular products that are spread through the garden (they will not affect non-weed plantings) and worked into the soil. They are best applied before mulching, but can be spread onto mulch if raked in a bit and watered well. It is preferable to use organic products that specifically pose no harm to pets or other plants. Sign up now for our year-long pre-emergent program to ensure appropriate applications.
You will never eliminate weeds entirely. But adherence to weed pre-emergents will gradually diminish the problem. If applied as directed, 4 to 6 applications will break the cycle of germination of weeds in your soil.
You will still get weeds from outside sources (friendly birds dropping seeds and those that are windborne), but it will become more manageable over time. If you have a lot of weeds and lack time to remove them all, at least try to focus on removing any when they are in flower. Once the flowers dry out, they will throw their seeds into adjacent soil and exacerbate the problem multi-fold.