Hilda Del Real


For my LA Experienced I volunteered for the construction of the native garden at Clover Elementary. First when I arrived I thought that the construction of the garden was taking place in the children’s garden. But then realized that it was actually  a rectangular piece of lad that was in front of modular classrooms.

I first believed that what was going to be left for the project was going to be planting, but then realized that the land still needed to be softened and manipulated further. The very first thing we did was grading the flat parcels of small land. The part that took the longest was the softening and breaking of the compressed soil. During that phase only the guys were able to work with the hardened land. After the soil was softened the land was manipulated  into lower and higher areas, and what was dug out of one area was put onto another to dramatize low and high areas. Then after the rough grading was completed, the fine grading was done to make smoother transitions between the high and the low.

After the grading was done what came next was my favorite part of the whole day, the planting. First we started by placing the pots right on the desired planting spot. Then we dug holes two times larger than plant and almost as deep and filled with water twice and let it drain completely. Then came the secrets of successful planting. We added a scoop of compost in the hole and before placing the plant the roots were dipped into a liquid tea compost. At last after the plant was placed in the whole we watered the planted plant.

At last we did one of the most important things of the project that goes unseen, the irrigation system. if the plants aren’t watered properly they don’t thrive and the design dies with it. The irrigation that was used in the project was drip irrigation which was set on a timer. I didn’t work on the set up of the timer nor the more technical parts but I helped get every plant its own drip. After all the plants had a drip line the mulch was added to cover the soil and add additional nutrients and a uniform color and texture. At Last I wasn’t able to stay until the very end to see the garden 100% completed but at the end it looked good.

Even though I only volunteered for the very last phase of the construction there was still much to be done. The work consisted of grading, planting, drip irrigation and final touches & cleanup. It was an enriching educational experience. The part I liked the most was definitely learning how to plant properly and how the drip irrigation worked. I look forward to more volunteer opportunities.



Architect: Alvaro Siza
Location: Leça de Palmeira, Portugal
Project Year: 1966

Alvaro Siza is a Portuguese architect who was born in a small coastal town by Porto on June 25, 1933. In 1955 he graduated from the University of Porto as Architecture major.  One of his first works he worked on was The Leça Swimming Pools, which are now considered among his greatest accomplishments. The pools were created in the 60’s in his hometown Porto, where most of his best known works are located. The saltwater pools were commissioned for the purpose of creating a safer environment for swimmers. The aggressiveness and hostility of the Atlantic Ocean created a dangerous current for swimmers. [] The public pool complex has two pools, one for children and one for adults, changing rooms, and a café. The pools, located between the coast and an access road, and are disconnected from the city because of the way Siza sinked the building to keep the complex out of sight. In addition to his careful positioning of the pools, Siza conserved the existing rock formations while incorporating the project as an intervention. He created a modern intervention on the worn landscape that helps it blend with the ocean. The natural pools reach out and waves break constantly on the rocks. The rocks border both the ocean and the pools, and create a connection with the mixture of the bounded water and the ocean. The visitors access the pools through a concrete ramp.  The pure anticipating of the access through the ascending ramp reveals the hidden retreat slowly with every step. The senses first capture the sound of the ocean, which is the first sensory experience before fully ascending and seeing the pools. Through the carefully manipulated experience we begin to understand siza’s reconciliation of nature and design.  He created a functional yet aesthetically pleasing solution to the hostile ocean which after almost fifty years are still a favorite retreat for visitors.



Athena Tacha, 1986

The geometric flat forms create contour like tiers that add contrast to the flatness of the space while merging with the ground.

Book: Designed Landscape

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Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk,  2009

The dynamic movement through space between the trees is revealed while moving toward the breathtaking tree-framed viewpoint that overlooks the lake.

Book: Contemporary Landscape Architecture

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Gullart Architects, 2006

The hexagons form island like surfaces close to the rocks and sea which display the easily fractured rock that is beautifully eroded by the constantly moving sea.

Book:  Contemporary Landscape Architecture

This is the intervention of space representing both the words axial and bridged. The central planter is seen as the Origin (0,0) and the brown colored dotted lines cross through it representing an axis. The circulation path is representing the bridging of the exterior spaces through this space. This is a courtyard located in building 94.