My favorite garden tools are easy to carry in my walker rollator, easy to clean, and easy on my arthritic hands. I will list them in the order of frequency of use in my garden according to season and task.
I start with good gloves, often with plastic gloves underneath, in order to keep my hands clean. I wear a hat in the sun but not often in the shade or cold. I cover myself in Off Deep Woods to repel the mosquitoes in warm weather and use sun screen to protect my skin in the sun. I wear Crocs in the garden because they are comfortable and there are water proof styles (without the holes). I wear long pants but not always long sleeves, so I get a lot of scratches along my arms from branches and thorns.
Late Autumn and Winter:
Brushing leaves off beds and bushes: Rake
Getting leaves into bags, mulcher, etc.: Leaf grabber
Converting fallen leaves into mulch: self propelled vacuum mulcher
Weeding: Action hoe [/amazon_link].
An action hoe is a hoe with a loose blade on it that scuffles under weed roots and cleans off an area, I find, in less time than a fixed blade hoe. It looks like this:
hand spade . There are ergonomic models that look really good, and I have found that they are offered in my favorite hardware store (radius web site can tell you where the local stores are or whether you will need to shop online).
Tieing up bushes so snow won’t deform them: twine and rope
Tieing up iris and other broad-leafed perennials: twine
Pruning perennials: hand pruners . My favorite are the Felco No. 7′s:
Transplanting peonies: spade
Japanese folding saw . This great tool looks like a big folding knife, with a serrated blade on it. Don’t get one too small, because grasses, especially, have large root balls that need quite a saw to divide:
Spring and Summer
This time of year is mostly about weeding for me. We live in Zone 7a or 7b and weeds flourish pretty much all year round, so when we are up to getting out in the garden in April (after vacationing in the deep south in March), weeding is a priority, so see Autumn and Winter for hand spade and action hoe. I use a big 20 gal Rubbermaid bucket mounted on my walker rollator to carry the weeds to our composters.
Tieing up plants to stakes or fences: Zip ties. I find these to be a lot more convenient and easy to use than twine for short ties up to about 11 inches. I have an assortment of electrical zip ties in my rollator basket that I bought at Lowes.
Planting perennials, annuals, etc.: ergonomic spades of various shapes and sizes. DH likes to use a spade with a long handle. I use a short-handled shovel with a grip on the end.
Pruning bushes: Hand operated hedge clippers . Get some with good shock absorbers on them. Your hands and arms will thank you.
and of course,
the hand pruners from the Autumn/Winter list.
DH has to move a wheel barrow around for me to move the compost from the compost pile into the raised beds for example. Also, he carries the items we purchase at a nursery (larger than mail order) in the wheel barrow to where I want to plant them. I say “where I want to plant them” since in general (unless it is a major purchase) he leaves me to make the choices as the where and do the research on when to plant.