News & Updates | Get To Know Mark Burgess
What was your first role in the industry?

I started in the industry in 1984 working as a labourer for a landscape construction company in Gosford where I grew up. I was 17 and found I really enjoyed working outdoors, which spiked my interest enough to study Horticulture.

After obtaining my qualifications and training as an Apprentice Gardener, I travelled abroad to London, continuing to work in landscape industry for two years. Travelling exposed me to a variety of landscape styles, people, and cultures, which was the catalyst for sparking my interest in design. After moving back to Brisbane my desire for design grew stronger, driving me to obtain my qualifications as a Landscape Architect. I’ve had a varying career, starting as a “Greens” - a Landscape Architect for set design and construction within the Film and Television Industry. After three years in the production industry, I joined Place Design Group, working my way up and moved to Shanghai to run offices in China.

After 12 years living in China, I returned to Brisbane in 2019, now helping to shape the next generation of Landscape Architects at Place Design Group.

What are the biggest lessons you've learned in your career?

The number one lesson would be you get better results by working with others. Great work is done when you can gather and harness the energy of a group of people who share similar desires for quality outcomes.

I’ve also learnt the importance of growth through each project I undertake. Each are different in size, budget, and style, although offer continuous learning opportunities to expand my creative thinking to the next level.

The power of recognising and promoting others is essential, and to embrace others around you who may be more knowledgeable or experienced in areas that may not be.

The profession is expanding in scope and opportunities, being open to new thinking and opportunities is key to allow your skills to continue to evolve.

Tell us about the latest trends or innovations you're seeing?

While not a new idea we are seeing a greater integration with indoor and outdoor recreation opportunities, particularly within residential apartments. Our work in China, within the high-density residential area really showcase how it can enhance the value of a space, creating places that people want to live. COVID has brought us back to better value the spaces that exist outside our own 4 walls and the benefits of surrounding ourselves with green space to improve our physical mental wellbeing.

Green walls are also now a regularly incorporation within and on buildings. This has many beneficial effects on people and climate but can create some challenges for maintenance and long-term sustainability, therefore programming from the beginning of the project is a must to achieve the best long-term outcome.

What are the opportunities you see in the industry in the next 6-12 months?

The profession has worked hard to achieve greater integration and cohesion with all design fields and the benefits of an early cooperation are self-evident on the results, hopefully further enhancing the outcomes, particularly in higher density residential living.

As density increases (which generally is a good thing in our cities) so does the demand on services and public space, the challenge will be to build robust, communal amenities that can excite and delight users, as always, that’s a challenge worth taking on!