The Winner of Our Inaugural America's Best Front Yard Contest Literally Stops Traffic
Better Homes & Gardens
Better Homes & GardensSeptember 9, 2019, 7:10 PM UTC
On Saturday mornings, Kevin Anthony Prall can typically be found in his front yard watering plants, pulling weeds, and fielding questions from incredulous passersby. “My palms can be traffic stoppers,” says Kevin, a horticulturist and landscape consultant. The reason: His home is in New Kensington, PA (near Pittsburgh), not the tropics.
When Kevin and his husband, Layne Bennett, moved into the 1912 home eight years ago, the front yard was basically barren. Kevin, who missed the palm trees of his former home in Florida, tracked down a variety that could survive Northeast winters (with some cold-weather protection).
He didn’t want them to be a novelty, but rather an integral part of a tapestry that includes azaleas, geraniums, and more. It’s a diverse but intentional mix. “I think about balancing color and texture with everything I plant,” he says. Today, the garden is a bright spot in the community, which has struggled since the closing of a major factory decades ago. “Our garden is for everyone,” says Kevin, who has been known to give neighbors baby palms seeded from his trees. “My wish is that it’s a sign of hope and change.”