Proper cultivation methods and the use of techniques such as permaculture can restrict the growth of weeds in the garden as more desired plant species effectively crowd out those considered weeds. There are general herbicide chemical products which can treat the soil to prevent plant growth, but these are indiscriminate and can have a damaging effect on the natural ecosystem in the soil and beyond as a result of leaching etc; therefore their use is discouraged.
Planting groundcovers is an effective natural way to control weeds. Planted close together, groundcovers will reduce the amount of sunlight available to weeds, thus limiting their ability to grow. Other garden plants, such as shrubs and trees, will grow well a relatively natural carpet of bluebells or groundcovers such as vinca or pachysandra.
A 1-3 inch layer of back mulch or buckwheat hulls spread over cultivated soil will also prevent weeds from encroaching on a garden. Mulch will also gradually decompose over time and, as a result, will add nutrients to the soil. Bark mulch is ideal for the shrub bed or around trees while buckwheat hulls, a lighter mulch, is recommended for the flower garden.