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Summer Internship | River Heath

We were so happy to have River as our Summer Intern this year. We met him while attending the LSU Art & Design Career Fair in Baton Rouge this March. After meeting with some potential intern candidates, we knew River would be a perfect addition to our team this summer. He did an amazing job, and quickly became a member of our team.

Here are some questions he answered about his summer experience:

What was your favorite part about your internship?

In the office, it was the opportunity to design landscapes not just for a grade or portfolio but for an actual client that I know will eventually be installed. Jesse provided a good combination of entrusting me to put my design skills to work from my experience working in the field and attending school but also providing me with helpful design critique and guidance when necessary.

In the field, it was working hard and building relationships with the team while making high-quality landscape designs go from an idea to reality. I think having a good grasp on how your designs will be/are installed and better yet, actually performing the installation, is a very beneficial skill for any designer.

How did this summer change your opinion if at all about design/build Landscape Companies?

I appreciate the fast pace of a design/build. Usually, Jesse and I would meet with the owner of a residential property, take measurements and discuss with them what they desire for their property's landscape, design a landscape plan accordingly, then install it all sometime within the next couple of months. That pace is generally different from designing spaces that are larger, more commercial or public, etc. Design to install timelines for those types of spaces can occasionally be a month or two but more often than not are anywhere from a few months to a few years. I certainly do not think designs should be rushed, but as someone who worked in the office as well as the field this summer, getting the opportunity to install my designs within the limited timeframe of an internship was a unique aspect of working for a design/build this summer.

What is a long-term lasting effect or memory you will have about this experience?

My interest in residential design/build is what initially pushed me to go back to school to pursue a Master of Landscape Architecture. I worked in the field for a design/build company prior to school, but I never got an opportunity to meet with potential clients, design, and quote potential jobs. This summer gave me the opportunity to do just that as well as see more of the behind-the-scenes aspects of the business. I am grateful for those opportunities. Also, as an aspiring landscape architect, getting the opportunity to work in and become more familiar with one of America's most architecturally unique cities will be a fond memory of mine. Lastly, the relationships I got to make with everyone on the team will also be a fond memory of mine. The Garden Gates team is a good one.

What advice would you give someone just starting the internship?

Work hard, do not be afraid to ask Jesse plenty of questions and/or give your two cents/critique, and do not think you are above or better than the team in the field because you are a designer/work in the office - earn their respect by being an efficient worker and by acting as a sponge learning/performing the various installation and maintenance skills.

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