Cultivate by hoeing to break up soil crusts and control weeds. Shallow rooted annuals are injured by deep, vigorous cultivation. Hoeing should be very shallow to cut weeds off just below the soil surface. As the annuals fill in, hand weeding may be the only practical alternative. Chemical weed preventers are available but they have a short life and must be reapplied. Most chemicals labeled for flowers do not give control of difficult perennial weeds.
Have a time frame in mind when you buy a home, and let it guide your purchase. If you plan to start (or expand) a family in the near future, a studio is not a good idea. If you want a home in which you can age in place, or want to preserve that option, consider a ranch-style dwelling on one level, rather than a multilevel dwelling with stairs.