Summer has come to an end here in Los Angeles. Despite the unabated high temperatures, the days are becoming shorter. Gardeners are already planning the transition from the growing cycle of warm weather into the cooler autumn months in preparation to plant next year’s bounty. Vacation season has come to a close too, with students returning to school. In recognition of this seasonal transition, we’ll be focusing on a Back-to-School theme for September, specifically one from the perspective of the landscape architecture education and profession. We hope you’ll learn something from their lessons.

Looking back at my favorite memories during landscape architecture studies at Cal Poly Pomona, I realize they all happened outdoors – field trips that help further reinforce my understanding of design through context, content, and intent. During this period I found an opportunity to take part in a few courses that at their very core encouraged students to really understand the site, its surroundings, and the regional ecosystem that provide us with landscape resources.

Here are a few memories from these field trips that helped me grow as a landscape designer.

This photo was taken at Mt. Baldy’s chaparral and coniferous vegetation for our plant ecology class. During another field trip I also had the opportunity to go to Evey Canyon and compare both ecosystems, admiring how much the landscape can change in such short distance.

A couple of pictures from my visit to the Huntington Library, where I came to learn more about world gardens. I was especially captivated by the Japanese and Chinese gardens because of their beauty.

In another class, alongside learning about landscape design techniques, we were given the opportunity to visit real life examples of successful interventions as reference for future projects like the Audubon Center shown above. The Audubon Center illustrates how to create a wildlife-friendly garden.

A pair of fun photographic memories captured during a trip to the Bay Area as part of an urban residential development. The resulting product happened to be featured in Nadia Amoroso’s recent book “Representing Landscapes: Hybrid” (p. 295) as an example of a large scale illustrative plan.

This final photo was taken during a camping trip to Owens Lake, where we came face to face with a shocking lesson about the real cost of comfort and its consequences upon the landscape. The Los Angeles Aqueduct literally dried this once pristine lake, and now landscape architecture firms like AHBE alongside civil engineering companies are dedicated to dust mitigation tasks through site interventions.




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