how to stop weeds from growing - pull weeds that are there -- then lay newspaper over the entire area --- when covered wet the newspaper real well-- then put mulch on top of that. Ready to plant and be weed free for a year!
Downspout water run off - Keeps mulch in flower bed. This would also be a wonderful way to harvest rain water in drought prone or low rain pro areas. The mulch is a necessary ingredient in that it holds the moisture in the soil.
Raise beds near house? Besides ensuring good drainage and leveling uneven ground, the structures obviate the labor involved in digging and amending compacted soil. The beds were refilled with a growing mix of equal parts topsoil and compost.