GLDA 9 Designer 9 Mark McDowall

Designer Profile:

Mark McDowall, MGLDA


Design House
Ennis Street
Co Offaly
R42 K822


057 912 2856

GLDA Member since:


Work Area:

Leinster, Connaught, Munster


Small Garden Design, Large Garden Design, Commercial/Public Landscape Design, Planting Design, Consultancy Advice, Project Management, Public Speaking / Teaching

Specialist Design Themes:

Traditional, Contemporary, Formal, Informal, Asian, Mediterranean, Cottage, Low Maintenance

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Originally from Australia, Mark has been designing gardens and landscapes for over 20 years. His experience includes the design of both small and large scale gardens, in a variety of countries.

Prior to joining Hoctor Smyth in 2016, Mark was the Regional Director at ParkHood Landscape Architects in Belfast where he was responsible for work throughout Ireland, Northern Ireland and London. He was also a Senior Landscape Architect at Taylor Cullity Lethlean, Australia’s most highly awarded Landscape Architectural Design Practice.

In addition to residential gardens, Mark’s landscape design portfolio includes botanic gardens, waterfront projects, public parks, educational facilities and urban streetscapes, some of which have received international awards for Landscape Architectural excellence.












Design Qualifications

Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, May 1997 – RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
Registered Landscape Architect, July 2003 with the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA)
Member of the Garden & Landscape Designers Association (MGLDA), October 2019
Member of the Irish Landscape Institute (MILI), February 2020


Whilst working at Taylor Cullity Lethlean Landscape Architects, project work to receive notable awards included:

The Australian Garden, Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne
2014 AILA National Excellence Award for Design
2013 World Architecture Festival (WAF) Landscape of the Year

Elizabeth Quay, Perth Waterfront
2016 AILA National Award for Urban Design

University of Sydney
2010 AILA National Landscape Architecture Award of Excellence in Design

Whilst working at ParkHood Landscape Architects, the following awards were also received:

2015 Winner Belfast Waterfront competition – City Quays 2
2007 Adamstown Park International Design Competition – Finalist


Kinnitty Garden

Home to an old Georgian Rectory sitting within grounds of approximately 6 acres, the clients requested a garden that would be styled in keeping with their stately home.

The grounds, previously large open field, were re-imagined and now include:

  • A two-lane resin-bound driveway, centred around an existing walnut tree, permitting views of their home.
  • A floral arrival garden and entry forecourt including a mature palm.
  • Raised formal lawn separated from the wildflower meadow below by a new stone Ha-ha wall.
  • Dedicated play space with sports lawn, sandpit, built-in trampoline, and bright coloured rubber safety surface.
  • A custom designed circular tree bench providing a place to sit, under an existing copper beech tree.
  • The rear garden accommodates a raised paved terrace overlooking a circular lawn where filtered views are now permitted to the landscape beyond.
  • A defunct BBQ area has been redesigned to incorporate an art element. The “Stargate Portal” now bridges the rear garden and “enchanted forest” offering a unique transition experience.

Tullamore Garden

Hoctor Smyth had recently designed the period styled home for the client, who then requested a garden design that was sympathetic to the style of the house, but with a contemporary edge.

A mature garden was requested to provide instant impact and included:

  • A new natural stone wall, steel gates and railings.
  • Pleached box head lime trees to establish an avenue for the new driveway.
  • Irish Blue Limestone paving and kerbing throughout including driveway, footpath and terrace surfaces in a variety of finishes.
  • A sunken outdoor lounge area with steps up to rear lawn.
  • Mature hedges and trees to new walled boundaries complete with irrigation.
  • Bespoke outdoor kitchen and BBQ facility.
  • LED lighting and outdoor fireplace for summer evening entertaining.

Riverstown Garden

During a house extension project the client was keen to explore the relationship between indoor and outdoor living.  With a 6 metre wide span of glass incorporating sliding doors, between dining room and the garden a connecting patio was installed using material that matched the internal floor surface of the house.  Egyptian Limestone paving, extended further out into the garden as a raised terrace and terminates in a stone bench and floating stone wall with ambient LED lighting.

The garden has been designed to house a sequence of spaces defined by use and includes:

  • An enclosed courtyard for a garden studio incorporating mature pleached hornbeams
  • Outdoor entertaining area with borders of hornbeam, buxus hedge, hydrangea, catmint, periwinkle and an assortment of bulbs
  • Sports lawn framed by mature beech and laurel hedging
  • Utility space for bins, compost and shed.


Mark McDowall has an uncanny talent for combining exactly what you know you want from your garden design project with fantastic ideas you would never have thought of. Thanks to Mark, our garden exceeded our expectations by a mile.

Tina and Rory Glynn
Terryglass, Co Tipperary

A super nice guy. From the first moment we contacted Mark, his service, his commitment, and his care was wonderful. Without compromise to his own work ethics and integrity, he assisted us to achieve so much more than we could have ever imagined. It’s so refreshing to meet someone you can trust. And trust you certainly can. He helped us to make use of what we had available to us and was very imaginative with how to achieve our goal. An overall great service, skill and knowledge. We cannot recommend Mark highly enough.

Nigel & Sharon Reams
Tullamore, Co Offaly

Working with Mark was easy due to his vision and professionalism. He listened to our needs and designed a garden beyond our expectations. An all year round garden that works for us in every way and gives us something to look forward to every season.

Morgan & Miriam
Co Offaly

After adding a small extension to our family home in 2016 we rendered the services of Mark McDowall in the hope he would create something attractive with low maintenance. In a small, confined, rear garden location Mark managed to create an attractive contemporary urban feel which we never thought would be possible. Brilliant!

Patrick Gleeson
Mallow, Co Cork

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