carlos Reyes


Volunteering at Clover Elementary School was a great way to contribute back to the community. Going into the project I thought the day would be a breeze, but later found out that it was more intense than what I had expected. Our first task was to getting rid of all the weeds that were mixed in with the soil, picking one by one until there were very few noticeable; a very tedious job. These weeds were later put into bags where they would be hauled away. This day was mostly concentrated on prepping the soils for Saturday, where another group would plant and work on the finishing touches. After completing the first task we moved on to breaking up the soils that were too big in size by using our shovels and hoes to smash them. Doing this broke the larger pieces down into finer soils; a better substance for planting. Around 10 am the soil was ready for the next step and a truck filled with compost was brought in ready to be mixed into the dirt. This compost had a very strong smell to it, even kids playing on the black top came over and asked what the smell was. After mixing in the compost, a larger truck brought in a delivery of mulch that would be set on top of the finished garden. At this point we were not finished, so we had to move the mulch out of the way onto a more suitable place.

While we were working on the garden many teachers thanked us for the work we had done. This experience allowed me to see the positive impact that volunteers can make in a community. Knowing that our hard work would be appreciated by many people other than ourselves made it all worth it.


Lurie Garden

Kathryn Gustafson is a well-known Landscape Architect that has received multiple awards for her creativeness and achievements. She began her career as a fashion designer, but found interest in Landscape Architecture and decided to pursue a profession in it. She says that many of her ideas/inspirations are linked back to growing up in Yakima, Washington, an agricultural valley where the landscape is sculpted by canals that cut through desert, creating a contrast between the rich greens and the more natural earth colors of the deserts.

One of Gustafson’s well-known projects is Lurie Garden, a three acre botanical garden located in downtown Chicago. Lurie Garden is part of Chicago’s downtown Millennium Park, built in 2004 to celebrate the millennium. Lurie Garden is a contemporary roof garden that was designed to take in the regions natural history. Before the city ever existed, the area was once covered by a flat marshy prairie that has long been forgotten. Gustafson and her designers wanted restore many of these elements by using native plants and plant materials to create a symbolic Landscape. The Garden is enclosed by the Shoulder Hedge, a wall of trees that symbolizes the Northern Boreal Forest that once painted an image of Chicago as the “City of Big Shoulders.”  Within these walls the garden is divided into two plates, the Dark Plate which symbolizes Chicago’s marshy past and the Light Plate which symbolizes the current prairie farmlands. Cutting through the garden is a wooden boardwalk that hovers over a shallow water feature, representing how Chicago raised its streets and building from the water. Lurie Garden allows people to experience the distinctions between the cities’ past and present forms in an intimate level.

Shop Creek Stream Restoration: Wenk Associates, 1996


Design Landscape Forum

By using soil-cement drop structures to blend with the natural soil, the creek once again reinforces the view of the natural prairie.

Waterworks Garden. Lorna Jordan, Jones and Jones, 2011


Design Landscape Forum

In this site, the designers controlled the natural movement of water of the wetland so people can experience the natural cycles of water

Eibs Pond Park, Linda Pollak Architect, Mary Miss, 2001


Design Landscape Forum

As the path diverges into the lake, the observer experiences the view from a lower point of view, changing the perception of the lake.



These photos were taken at Griffith Park facing the South West entrance. In the close up pictures we can see the rough and jagged needles being defined as the object in black. The smoother surface is shown as the background color (pantone 275c). When seen from a further stance the smooth surface of the cactus becomes the object and the needles become part of the background.


Post # 4

My visit to Griffith Park was concentrated on a dirt path on the south-west entrance.  The presence of more natural wildlife features gave a district feel to the park in comparison to the rest of it. For moments it did not feel like you were in Los Angeles, but somewhere more natural and deserted.

The climb to the top of the hill was more challenging than I thought, due of the steepness and the loose rocks that covered the path. I was expecting a more typical park, like those you see in your neighborhood, and not a complete hike. The land around me had an appearance of a chaparral, where most of the plants were shrub like, cacti, and oak trees. Being one of the few warm days of winter, there were many critters out, like birds, lizards and bugs catching the sun. As I reached the top of the first hill, there was a bench that caught my eye. Being the only human made object on the trail, I knew it was placed there purposely. As I approached it, I saw that it was placed high enough that you could see right through the opening in the trees and into the distance, where the city lay covered in a thick layer of smog. As depressing it was to see so much pollutants in the air, it had its own beauty to it. As I continued further up the hill, the dirt path turned into bark /mulch that transitioned to a more public area where picnic benches were placed under a canopy of pine trees. Here I joined more people who were sitting down and enjoying the beautiful scenery.

By taking the more natural path through Griffith Park, it allowed me to enjoy more of the landscape surrounding me. I could see more of the natural environment and what it would have looked before our western influence.


Post # 3

During the week of the field trip, I visited Griffith Park in Los Angeles. I arrived at the South-West entrance of the park around 11 am. Being a Wednesday, the park was very empty, this allowed a more peaceful and relaxed experience. The weather was in the mid 70’s giving me the chance comfortably enjoy in the beauty of my surroundings and appreciate my climb up the steep hill. As I reached the top of the hill a set of wonderful views awaited me.  To my right, I could see Los Angeles area covered by a gray layer of smog, emphasizing one of the city’s characteristics. Never the less, it was a moment to soak in the wonderful view of the metropolis. As the day progressed, the temperature rose, and I found a cool picnic area under the pines where I decided to rest and photograph an old Valve like fire hydrant. This object caught my eye because of its location on the side of the hill, with nothing surrounding it. I then proceeded up a dirt road that wrapped around a hill that overlooked into the north-east of the Park and into the San Gabriel Valley. Looking across the valley, I could barely make out the white topped mountains, due to the thickness of the smog. I then turned around and headed back down the road towards a construction area that blocked one of the entrances to the park, diverting into a trail that led me back to my car. Unfamiliar to Southern California, this trip to Griffith Park offered an opportunity to explore the new surroundings I now call home.