Ransacked: Architecture student

Landscape architecture graduate John Watkins keeps items such as his triangular scale ruler and textbooks in his backpack. Seeing what students keep in their backpacks offers insight into their personality.

John Watkins, landscape architecture graduate student, has a deep appreciation for plants that led him to major in landscape design.

“A lot of people have a limited understanding of what we do,” the former treasurer of the American Society of Landscape Architects said. “They think we just plant trees. We do plant trees, but we also create outdoor spaces.”

One of Watkins’ projects hangs on the wall of the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs building. It depicts a parking lot in the East Dallas neighborhood of Deep Ellum and is based on characteristics that represent the area.


For his degree, Watkins said his old MacBook Pro is his most important tool. He uses the global information system to visualize data, as well as Photoshop and computer-aided design software.

Design Books

Although some students don’t like reading their textbooks, he genuinely enjoys them.

Good Mourning California

This book was written by a landscape architect. The author blurs the line between art and landscape architecture.

“It reads like poetry,” Watkins said.

Scaling Ruler

Watkins has this tool on him all the time. The he uses all sorts of tools, such as cutting tools, building material, technology and textbooks.


Watkins said his backpack has lasted him forever.

“I bought it because of its amazing blue color. I’ve seen another person on campus with it, and I think about challenging him every time I see him.”



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