A ‘real world’ insight into Landscape Architecture

by Emily Bird

I have started my third and final year studying Landscape Architecture at Leeds Beckett University, and am looking back at the internship that I spent with terra firma over the summer, the experience that I gained and its application to my final year at college.

I have enjoyed a developing relationship with terra firma over the last few years and had wondered how my time with them over the summer would be used. I’d hoped that I would be able to apply my learning from the first two years of University and begin to take on landscape architect duties.

I was excited to learn that Lionel and his team had high expectations of me, and fully included me in the work of the team from the outset. I assisted with a competition bid, undertook research for projects, and started creating diagrams in Adobe. It wasn’t long before I was out on a site visit assisting with undertaking a landscape and visual impact assessment (LVIA); and having benefitted from attending a training session, I was working on AutoCAD.

A ‘real world’ insight

I finished at terra firma in September with the sense that my time there had allowed me to develop my skills and confidence in a professional setting. I had gained a “real world” insight into how a landscape architects’ practice operates, and how enjoyable it is to work with friendly colleagues in a positive team environment.

Whilst I was there, I was able to spend time with, and assist a GCSE student who was starting her first week’s work experience. It felt good to show her a pathway for progression into the industry, as well as allowing me to reflect upon the journey that I have taken since I was in that stage of my education.

Returning to University

Since returning to my final year at University I have been working on community design projects, which has involved engaging with clients. My AutoCAD skills are being fully utilised, as I am now familiar with receiving files from the client through my understanding of xrefs.

I feel that I have grown in confidence to understand client’s needs and expectations and have a clear sense of the role of a landscape architect. I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to undertake an internship with terra firma which was so useful in consolidating my first two years learning, confirming my ongoing passion for landscape architecture, and preparing me for my final year at university and beyond.


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