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  • Author or Editor: Anne Spafford x
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The Department of Horticultural Sciences at North Carolina State University began offering landscape horticulture students a construction studio in 2002. This unique studio engages students in experiential learning (hands-on) and service learning (client-based) projects while simultaneously applying knowledge they have gained during their university education. Three years later, the Landscape Construction Studio is a model course that pushes students to design creatively, while providing a practical foundation in how ideas transition from paper to reality. Projects embody several learning objectives, including fostering exploration and discovery while raising students' awareness of strengths and limitations of traditional and nontraditional construction materials. In addition, the studio enables the elimination of students' tendency to compartmentalize course work, and encourages students to broaden their understanding and appreciation of the world around them. A typical semester incorporates several smaller projects that introduce students to a variety of materials and lessons in construction methodologies. Projects increase in size and complexity over the course of the semester, leading to a comprehensive landscape design and installation project in which students experience the entire design process. Through this final project, students see how information gained from other horticultural and general classes are applied in landscape design. This presentation will discuss the importance of incorporating experiential learning components to horticultural courses, and the pros and cons of service learning projects. Presentation of best management practices will stimulate discussion among the audience.

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