Author: Axel M. Holm

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Hello Seattle… Goodbye Seattle

Tonight is my fifth and final night here in Seattle. Early tomorrow morning we will depart for Enumclaw and begin to make our way towards Washington, D.C. My time in the west coast city has been short lived but I can definitely say that I have learned a lot and taken in even more. It is so hard sometimes to sit back and enjoy one’s surroundings but I believe that is something that a landscape architect has to be able to do best. In this profession one truly has to be a jack-of-all-trades and be able to take everything into account, and sometimes is starts in the places that people see everyday but just don’t know how to look at it.

The main difference that I can point out between Seattle and the midwest is the way that roadways are constructed. Washington obviously has a lot more terrain to deal with in creating street design and it is crazy some of the inclines that this city’s roads are set at, I can only imagine what it is going to be like to have to bike up them. The thing that I love most about the emerald city is how entertaining a simple fifteen minute drive can be. Around every turn there is a new mountain to see, or a new overlook to gaze upon, and talk about green! The roadways will go from being open to the big sky in one moment and then the next you are under a canopy of greenery forming a tunnel in which you wish would never end. I love the parkway design because it is something that people experience everyday and whether they know it or not the drive is a soothing one. I sure hope these people don’t take for granted the scenery that they get to see everyday compared to the never ending corn and/or soy bean fields of the prairie states. 

Over the next couple days my team and I will be making our way over Mt. Rainier and so far I can only picture how beautiful that site is going to be, but my prediction is that I don’t really have any idea what is upon us. 

Airborne Chicago to Seattle

As I flew over the rockies today I felt as if I was being teased with what I am going to be right in the middle of within the next couple weeks. The clouds would add to the suspense because the gaps between the very thick blanket would show bits and pieces of the snow-capped mountain tops. I was reminded of the Karesansui Sand and Stone Garden of Portland, Oregon. That garden was designed to be the mountain tops peaking over the clouds, a truly fantastic design. While the plane was making its decent I made the comparison in my mind to the same feeling as diving into a pool. Above and below the surface of cumulus is two totally different worlds, just as submerging one’s self in water. It was a great inspiration to an above and lower level design, I will for sure be taking this idea and running with it. 

Now I am sitting on the shore of the Puget Sound in Washington and it is absolutely beautiful. Photos are attached and my journey is only beginning.IMG_1805.JPG

Journey of Hope Preparation

Hello all,

The next couple months are going to be a monumental part of my launch as an aspiring landscape architect. The first three years of my education at Iowa State have taught me a great amount in regards to space and place but I have no doubt that I still have much to learn. Landscape design as I see it is all about the experience of a specific place, and how it relates to its immediate and distant surroundings, and this is important in every place that we visit day in and day out.

I am going to be going on a journey across the United States with a bunch of men from my fraternity of Pi Kappa Phi. The purpose of our trip is to raise awareness of people with disabilities as well as raise funding for them (for more information visit my profile at Along the way I plan to document the landscapes that my team and I encounter. I’ll be sketching, photographing, and designing parkways, national parks, playgrounds, and everyday landscapes.

I could not be more excited about kicking off this summer. The trip begins May 30th in Seattle, Washington feel free to follow along and ask questions!


No house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other. — Frank Lloyd Wright

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