Thirty Minutes



Lani Woodruff


This is an experiment.  Over coffee this morning and heart shaped donuts, talk of blogging

surfaced.  Blogs are supposed to be short. Not long winded.  And Garth lamented how this

challenges him.  He has this landscape design class assignment where his students are

given a site and a short program and then they have 30 minutes to whip up a design.  No

over thinking it.  The students thus practice pulling from their gut.  And surprisingly

enough, what unfolds holds true design grit and creativity.  So as our discussion

continued, Garth proposed I exercise the same in writing a blog today.  Pulling from my


These ideas open up a mix of thoughts that amuse and entertain me.  How do you tap in to

such a process?  What if there aren’t any resources in my gut?  What if my guts empty (I

did skip the donuts this morning!)?  I think designing a site in 30 minutes would come

more naturally to me than typing this blog in the same spanse of time.  Words and

thoughts are different.  They make me feel much more vulnerable.  Mostly, I have few

words.  I am the one who listens in most conversations.  I like it that way.  It’s not that I

don’t have words.  But my words rest pretty close to my heart.  They’re personal and

sharing them…..well that’s scary.  


But I like a challenge.  So I’ll venture on.  Today is Valentines Day, a day of expressing our

love and affection to the special people in our lives.  Why not expand that expression to my

work?  What do I love in my work?  My gut knows.  Granted it speaks from where I’ve been

(so no worries about my gut being empty or unresourceful, right?).  When I sit down to

begin a design for one of my clients, I begin with mocking it up – placing all the existing

elements of the site in their place on the paper and locating them on the page to scale.  The

next step is to organize the space.  And this is what I love most about landscape design. 

Organizing space in a beautiful way.  I simply love taking a clients profile and coming up

with solutions that take a space from disarray to art.  At least, that is what I like to call it.  I

love to see the shapes unfold and look at them in plan view like a bird would see it from

the sky.  It brings me joy to see purpose and aesthetics unite.  


So along with all the cliché admissions of love, I timidly add my own today.  But hopefully

a bit of sincere passion can be noted in these musings.  I think it warrants thought.  To

express any notion of love is worthy and worthwhile.  Yes that.  Who cares if Valentines

Day is cliché and you want to vomit at the site of pink and red.  There is much to love in

this world.  I know.  I pulled it from my gut.  



~30 minutes more or less.  Done.