You can prevent damage by minimizing the opportunities for damage to occur in the first place. As previously mentioned, do not allow pets. Do not allow water beds. Limit occupants to no more than two people per bedroom. Cut down on party damage by setting a 10:00 p.m. limit on any parties.
Do not allow parking on the lawn or backyard. Prohibit any cars without a current inspection sticker (if your state requires these), a current tag, and proof of insurance. Have a lease clause disallowing operating a business on the premises. Do not allow car repairs to be made on the property. Make it very clear in the lease that no matter how much your tenant thinks he or she might be improving the property, he or she cannot make any changes at all.
Finally, inspect the property on a regular basis. It keeps everyone on their best behavior. It presents opportunities for tenants to talk to you about the unit. Inspections also let you catch small problems early, before they turn into giant disasters. If you will make it a habit to inspect your house once a month, you will avoid a lot of potential problems.