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Creativity reigns supreme: designing sustainable outdoor spaces

Patricia Morrison wanted to study Architecture – until she discovered Landscape Architecture. “I didn’t even know it existed!” she says.

“I wanted to do something where I could be creative and earn a good wage. Once I came across landscape architecture, I thought it was perfect as it was a combo of what I wanted and involved nature which is something I love. 

“I also really wanted to do something that would be helpful for the planet, so it kind of ticked a lot of boxes.”After leaving Rangitoto College halfway through Year 13, Patricia took a gap year to decide what she wanted to do. “There’s no need to rush,” she advises. “Take your time, follow your heart and the rest will fall into place.”

After considering her options, Patricia chose to study at Unitec, first completing a Diploma in Landscape Design, and then the Bachelor of Landscape Architecture.

“My course at Unitec really focused on the creative side of landscape architecture and involved a lot of designing which I loved. 

“My lecturers were wonderful as they always pushed you to think outside of the box which is something you need to do when you’re out in the real world designing for different clients. I also became really good friends with my lecturers and classmates which made me want to go to Unitec every day; we were like a little family.”

Studying art and design at high school helped Patricia think creatively and skilled her in hand drawing and the use of creative software; skills she continues to use in her job today.

Patricia worked in Brisbane for three years after graduating before moving to Melbourne a year ago when she won first prize at the prestigious Melbourne International Flower Show for her ‘Remembrance’ garden, a tribute to her mother who passed away in 2018.

“Many years ago, my mother asked me to create a garden space for her; a spiritual space where she could meditate in solitude and peace … [the show] gave me the chance to finally build my mother her garden.”

Now 28, Patricia works with Flow Design Studio, which is owned by Flemings Nurseries, the largest nursery in Australia. Her job involves producing documentation packages and designs for precincts such as parks, subdivisions, streetscapes and residential gardens. 

“I love being able to be creative and design sustainable and beautiful outdoor spaces for the planet, animals and people,” she says.

“You get to be part of so many cool projects such as outdoor pool garden designs for apartments or residential clients which is my favourite.”

Patricia’s goal is to start her own residential landscape design business. “It isn’t too far off,” she says. “I just have to take the plunge!”

“The people at Unitec were so down to earth -- without them, my passion and drive to really learn and succeed in my studies wouldn’t have been there.”

Article by Sara Carbery. Originally published in Leaving School Magazine (Issue 18, July 2020).

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