(ARA) - With the weather beginning to warm across the country, many people are venturing out into their yards to begin the process of turning what was once a winter wonderland into a lush green escape. The task might look overwhelming at first, but with a little help from the experts, you can have a fresh-looking lawn and garden in no time.

According to Lou Manfredini, Ace's "Helpful Hardware Man," there are three projects that every homeowner should do to spruce up your lawn and garden: Prune your shrubs and trees, grow new grass and plant brightly colored flowers. "The best part about these projects," says Manfredini "is that anyone can do them, and once they are finished they make a big difference."

Pruning

Pruning works by cutting away the excess growth and dead weight that keeps your shrubs and trees from filling out. By trimming this away, more buds will be able to show, allowing you to cultivate a stronger, more vibrant plant.

"One thing to remember is not to over-prune," says Manfredini. "Too much pruning will shock your plant and could inhibit growth." To avoid this, hold out your first two fingers; if these were stems on a plant you would never want to cut below your first knuckle.

As with most home improvement projects, it's very important to have the right tools on hand. Certain pruners, such as rose pruners, are made specifically for roses, while head shears can be used on most heavy-duty pruning projects. Make sure you purchase pruners that are sturdy enough to do the job and feel comfortable and manageable in your hand. If you already have pruners, consider having them sharpened at your local hardware store before you begin working. You'll notice the difference immediately.

Grow New Grass

After lying dormant for a few months, your grass might need a little coaxing to get it to its pre-winter state. To prepare your lawn, thatch it by lightly running a rake across the top to pick up any sticks, leaves, debris or dead grass.

Next you will need to purchase grass seed that is indigenous to your area and that will grow with the amount of shade your lawn has. You'll need to purchase between 2 to 4 pounds of seed for every 1,000 feet you are planting. Spread the seed either by hand or with a mechanical spreader that you can rent at your local hardware store, but be sure to keep it even.

Once your seed is down, it's a good idea to lay fertilizer and water the entire lawn. In the weeks and months to come, be sure your lawn gets at least 1 or 2 inches of water a week, either naturally or from a sprinkler.

Plant Flowers

Flowers can spruce up any landscape design. Consider adding them around the base of a tree or on either side of your walkway.

"Consider purchasing established plants rather than seeds as they are easier to grow," explains Manfredini. "And look for bright colored plants like impatiens or black-eyed Susans."

Before planting, you'll need to make sure your soil is prepared. Loosen the soil in the area where you plan on planting and add an organic matter like peat moss to help give the plant more nutrients.

Next, dig a small hole, just deep enough to fit the roots of your plant and place the plant inside. Once the plant is in the hole, fill it in with dirt and lightly pack it down. Don't forget to water and fertilize the plant regularly and you'll have gorgeous flowers for months to come.

For more lawn and garden tips and advice, visit www.acehardware.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent