WANTED: Sustainable Landscape Services for Savvy Consumers


For decades, Billy Goodnick has been showing people how to create sustainable landscapes--and how to ditch their lawns. "But don't think of me as a bad guy," he says.

As the number of consumers who are concerned about the environment grows, Goodnick sees opportunity for contractors and designers who can give them what they want: knowledge-based service and healthy, climate-friendly plants thriving in beautiful, useful landscapes.

Here's a look at his multi-pronged approach to this lucrative new market and a few suggestions about how you can get in on the action.

The right stuff: While some people are satisfied with a landscape that's neat, clean and safe--but not magazine-cover material--others demand more. This is the time to differentiate yourself.

To "up your game," as he says, "There are a lot of levels of demand. These consumers want to know what you are carrying off your truck, what's in that sprayer, what kinds of tools you're using." Talk to them. Show them you've got what they need.

Not less work, just different: Helping consumers install well-designed sustainable landscapes doesn't necessarily mean less money in your pocket. After they take out the lawn, they're going to have to put something back in. This is the time for the "finer stuff": planning an edible landscape and then installing and maintaining it, for example.

Strut your stuff: More clients are looking for what Goodnick calls the 'horticulturally-experienced' landscaper. "These are people who don't shear certain plants to the ground at the wrong time of year or turn them into a box," Goodnick says. These pros don't guess. They know their stuff.

In his upcoming presentation at the 2012 CLCA Landscape Industry Show, "WANTED: Sustainable Landscape Services for Savvy Consumers", Goodnick will present sustainable landscape basics, a snapshot of products and services green-minded consumers are looking for.

He will relay facts and figures about where the market is headed and why the conventional business model is in for an overhaul. Goodnick will give you specific ideas for providing services, and how green-industry pros can retool to get on board.

Billy Goodnick is Santa Barbara-based landscape architect, landscape coach, humorist, lecturer, educator, magazine columnist, speaker, blogger, former co-host and co-writer with Owen Dell of the "Garden Wise Guys" TV show, and a rock 'n' roll drummer for King Bee. To learn more, attend his presentation, "WANTED: Sustainable Landscape Services for Savvy Consumers" at the CLCA Landscape Industry Show, Feb. 1-2, 2012, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.