In a series of interviews, we chat quickly with the latest member of the Liz Lake Associates team, Senior Chartered Landscape architect Catherine Phillips.
Brief introduction, name, job title, location.
Catherine Phillips, Senior Chartered Landscape Architect, Bristol Office.
I joined Liz Lake in June 2019.
When you were at school what did you want to be and why?
I think I wanted to be a gardener, working outdoors in a practical way, as I was pretty fed up with the exam treadmill by sixth form. My career’s advisor put me onto Landscape Architecture as a profession and I saw it as a great fit for my interests and skills, so I went for it.
But I did end up having to do a whole load more exams to get qualified!….sigh.
How did you get to be where you are today?
I joined LLA in Bristol after moving to the West Country in 2018, having spent many years mainly working in private, multi-disciplinary practices in the south of England. I also worked for some years a freelance landscape architect. So, you could say I have joined LLA with a pretty varied and wide-ranging experience in landscape architecture, over probably more years than I care to mention!
What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most, and why?
Variety! The great thing about landscape design is that it requires a flexibility and a different creative approach to each and every scheme. I love being involved in projects from the earliest possible stage so that we are able to really help to shape a scheme. Occasionally it feels like a wasted opportunity when we are brought in at a late stage to help with ‘landscaping by numbers’!
What is your proudest achievement?
Always when you succeed in convincing a client the value of stretching the landscape brief, even by a little, to achieve a better design outcome with quality finishes.
What is the best advice you’ve been given in life?
Balance. I think seeing one of my first bosses arrive full of ideas and energy every day, work like a fiend then leave daily in good time to follow his passions outside of the office, had a positive influence on my attitude to work and life.
What is your next adventure / goal?
Settling into my new role with the LLA Bristol office, finally finishing renovating our new cottage in the Cotswolds and having time to explore this beautiful part of the country further.