I advocate the use of mulch for any planting area. Wood, stones, beach shells, and pine needles work great.
I prefer to hand weed my landscape. This allows for a closer inspection of what is happening in the garden or planter. I give a thorough once over in the early spring time, which may take me about two to three days to finish. Then I can spot any new weeds that may sprout, probably every two weeks or so.
My tip would be to weed after a good rain, or watering. The weeds pull out much easier that way. When you have completed removing the weeds, then add mulch to freshen up and inhibit new weeds from taking root.