Saving the Environment, One Lawn at a Time

Grassroots Effort to Transform Nation's Backyards

Nine horticultural gurus have just launched a Web site,, in hopes of persuading all American lawn owners to consider the environmental sustainability of their gardens. The Lawn Reform Coalition (LRC) site, created by blogger Susan Harris, is maintained through the collaborative effort of environmental writers and activists from across the country, including Santa Barbara TV host and landscape architect Billy Goodnick.

Goodnick has been imparting sustainable landscaping wisdom for more than 30 years, ever since hiring on as a landscape architect for the City of Santa Barbara in 1987. Since then, he has taught landscape design for Santa Barbara City College’s continuing education program, written for Coastal Woman and Santa Barbara Homeowner magazines; and co-hosted Garden Wise Guys, a very entertaining sustainable landscaping show on CityTV18.

“I’ve been deep in the whole idea of sustainable landscaping before anybody came up with a name for it and have long been preaching the idea of creating gardens and landscapes that are in tune with the environment that you’re in,” Goodnick said. “This Web site is an opportunity to get those claims out to a national audience.” The project is founded on providing business owners and homeowners with information for harboring regionally appropriate lawn species. It promotes environmentally friendly lawn care, and proffers design ideas for reducing or replacing lawns as well.

The different backgrounds of those involved have increased the depth of information at their disposal, giving the site relevance to green-thumbed followers across America.

“The word ‘coalition’ is valuable because it’s not just a California point of view or an East Coast point of view,” Goodnick said. “It really is a collaborative effort, spanning all regions.”

The LRC campaign remains an authentic endeavor, unsponsored and free of corporate interests. “It’s a totally volunteer, seat-of-our-pants effort,” said Goodnick. “A few of us chipped in a hundred dollars out of our own pockets to cover the cost of the graphic artist and Web site designer.”

The group has big plans for the Web site, such as utilizing social networking tools and photo-sharing technology to help inform lawn owners across the nation.

“We’ve only been live for two weeks, and between Facebook pages, Flickr, and each of our blogs, we’ve accumulated well over a thousand comments from people – so it’s hot,” said Goodnick. “This is really just getting our pinky toe in the water.”


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