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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Television celebrity for landscaping shares green tips in class

A bumper sticker, “I killed my lawn. Ask me how,” is posted on the bulletin board on the wall behind a man in cowboy boots, jeans, and a button down shirt.

This is Professor William Goodnick, better known as Billy. He teaches a new class titled Residential Landscape Design that focuses on sustainable practices.

New to City College as a professor, Goodnick is not new to landscape design. For 22 years, he was a landscape architect for the City’s Parks and Recreation department.

This guy knows his agapanthus from his azaleas.

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Following the recent economic downturn, Billy was forced to figure out a new “career.” He chose eight instead.

“Those people that say they’re a candle burning at both ends… Slackers,” Goodnick said.

Billy takes on the issue of sustainable landscaping from many different angles. From co-hosting the local TV show Garden Wise Guys, to writing articles for Fine Gardening magazine. He updates a gardening blog on and creates design plans for private homeowners as a Landscape Design Coach. It’s an understatement to say Billy is a busy man.

His most recent battle for sustainable landscaping is on Monday nights in the MacDougall Administration Center Room 162 from 6-9 p.m.

“Billy has lots of energy and is quite engaging as a teacher and person. He cares a lot about making the class interesting and valuable for students,” Head of the Environmental Horticulture Department, Dr. Michael Gonnella said. “He is a landscape design celebrity here in town, but down to earth and approachable as well. We’re excited to have him on board!”

Inside the classroom, Billy draws from his own experiences to help students think like designers. He gives his students sets of client desires and site constraints.

While bluntly tearing apart “bonehead” landscape designs that show no regard for sustainability, he attributes it to his “inner Lewis Black.”

Although this new role as Professor William Goodnick is only one flame in his full assault on making sustainable landscaping mainstream, Billy burns bright for those three hours of training future green landscape designers.

Confidently reinventing himself at the age of 57, he attributes his success and optimism to losing the word “no” from his vocabulary.

Ever on top of the times, Billy titles this new phase in his life, “Billy Version 2.0 Testing.”

-Andrea Ellickson is a
Journalism 271 student

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