Tong Xue

照片 (3)

Clover Elementary School was holding a planting event for their school’s garden. My classmates and I thought that this is a great chance for us to do something for the children. Therefore, we decided to volunteer for the program. Allen, Ring and I car pooled to the Clover Elementary School on Thursday, May 16th. The traffic jam is unbelievable. Although we left home at 5:30 in the morning and left room for the bad traffic, we were still late for the program by at least an hour. Knowing that we were late, we immediately started working. The guy who was in charge taught us the methods quickly and gave us the tools right away. The instructions were clear to me. The job did not sound very tough. The area that needed us to work on is not large. It was located in front of two fifth grade classrooms. The first step was to weed the grounds. This step was not very hard for me because the early guys had already finished most of them. The second step was tough for me, which was to break the dirt. I am not a person who enjoys doing gardening works. Not to mention the tiredness from getting up very early in the morning. However, during the dirt breaking, the children were taking P.E. classes outside. Many kids were interested in what we were doing. They seemed eager to join us. Their teacher even asked if the children could join the work. The kids’ interests and appearances made me felt happy about my work. And that was the first time that I started thinking the job was worth it. The kids’ interests did not follow up when we reached to the final step, which was dispensing the compost. As soon as the truck with the compost arrived, the children reacted to the smell of compost badly. It seemed funny to me how some kids were overreacting. Although I did not enjoy the smell of the compost as well, knowing that would be the final step of the day, I was motivated and finished my job quickly. The volunteering experience at Clover Elementary School was exhausting but enjoyable due to the children. The experience also made me realized that the hardest part of landscape work is not only the designing. Putting the design into work might be the toughest part.      


Richard Haag is a United States landscape architect who was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. Haag graduated from the University of California with his bachelor’s degree and Harvard Graduate School of Design for his master’s degree. Haag has received many landscape architect awards during his career. He is also known for starting the Landscape Architecture Program at the University of Washington.

The Gas Works Park is one of Haag’s most famous works. Gas Works Park was a coal gas plant on the north shore of Lake Union. The plant was shut down by the year of 1956 and Haag purchased the land in 1970. He immediately started to develop the park design and convincing the city government to allow the plan. The hard part of the design is to work around using bioremediation methods because he cannot transport or replace the soil in the park. The oil degrading enzymes and organic materials were added in order to fertilize the soil. Haag’s design had an ecology concept behind, which became the unique thing about the Gas Works Park. Haag has always been environmental minded. The Gas Works Park is a great example of how industrial structures could have no hazard to the environment. The Gas Works Park brought him the first award of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) President’s Award for Design Excellence. Moreover, the park is now one of the most popular parks in Seattle. Haag’s designs increased awareness of ecology and sustainability in both landscape and architectural design.

IMG_6649 c

Mapping Dislocations

Robert Smithson, Ithaca Mirror Trail, Ithaca, New York, 1969

The located mirror can reflects the natural view, and allows people to have an enhanced feeling of revealing the landscape.

IMG_6657 c


Redesigning Nature

Oliver Bishop-Young, Skip Conversions, 2008

The green island in the middle of the city walkway provides a rural resting place for pedestrians, but the planter and stairs blend in with the urban environment.

IMG_6663 c


Redesigning Nature

N55, City  Farming Plant Modules/ museum version, 2010

The flat-shaped planters became a part of the walkway and gradually transfer the attention from the ground paving to the greenish.





I visited the Border Field State Park during the San Diego road trip. We went for a one mile hiking in the park. The park is known for its border with Mexico. The border itself is an interesting landmark.

The hiking started with a mud route. Some of the mud in the park was highly contaminated. Therefore we had to be careful when walking. The one mile journey felt longer when I had to watch every step that I took.

When walking toward the beach, I saw the other side of the border. It is interesting to see cars and buildings in front of you while being in a different country and culture.

The beach was beautiful. However, it was not our destination. Therefore we continued walking south toward the border. There were a lot of trash and bad birds on the beach. I could sense that the beach is not really a joyful place for vacations.

The fence of the border appeared while we walked on the beach. I started to feel intense when I saw the fence, which continued from the land to the ocean. Moreover, the fence extends out to the ocean by miles under the water. The place creates a separation between the United States and Mexico. It is not often that we can see landscape being separated this way. The landscape was downhill towards the ocean, which was shaped clearly due to the fence. The Border Field State Park showed me how landscape is being manipulated by human. Human is now in charge over nature. The environment is constantly changing by human in order to fulfill our needs. Unfortunately, I think the changes are not for the best in most cases.

During the visit, I explored a park with actual danger. In addition, I witnessed a separation between culture and people. The experience is valuable for me to understand the world that I was not familiar with.

The visit to the Border Field State Park took place during our San Diego field trip. The whole visit spent more than four hours. It is a trip that improves our interactions with nature and helped us to understand landscape.

Our visit started in the morning. The park is hidden in the mountain so that we had to drive through narrow mud roads. An introduction of the park of was given by the docents. The introduction turned out to be important because of the highly contaminated mud that we had to watch for in the park.

After the introduction, we started our hiking in the park. Although the view in the park was not beautiful in the beginning of the hike, I felt like I was in an adventure of the nature. The route was narrow and rough. We walked for 30 minutes and discovered the beach. The transition from muddy routes to a beautiful beach made me felt that the hiking was meaningful.

The hiking continued on the beach. Change of environment made the hiking more comfortable. We were being able to appreciate the view of the ocean while walking toward our destination, which was the border of Mexico. The border did not take long for us to reach. The landscape at the border has mutable levels. I was lucky to stand close to the fence until the border portal informed us that we had to keep distance from the fence. Our group stayed at the fence and appreciated the view.

The time was close to noon, and we started to go back from the border. The walking felt harder on the way back since I was weakened from the walking before. The fence’s image was still in my mind on the way back. It is shocking for me that the fence extended so long and completely changed the landscape.

The visit of the park was focused on the fence of the border. The fence is a separation of landscape that is hard to find in other places.