Mark Bourne studied Japanese garden design in the traditional manner, living in Kyoto for four years as an apprentice to one of Japan’s foremost living niwashi, or master garden creators. As an apprentice he had the opportunity to work on projects that included new construction, restoration, and pruning. This experience included extensive projects in the Kyoto Imperial Palace, Katsura Rikyu, Shugakuin Rikyu, Kenninji Daihonzan, Kodaiji, and Entokuin. He was also a member of the team selected to construct the Kyoto-Florence Sister City garden, located next to the Piazza Michelangelo in Florence, Italy. Mark received a letter of recognition from the Mayor of Kyoto for his role in this project, as an “expression of Kyoto culture.”

While in Kyoto, Mark realized that modernism is not a trend, but is a process of innovation and creativity that occurs many times throughout history, whenever art recognizes beauty in new circumstances. This realization was instrumental in his decision to incorporate locally native materials and plants into Japanese gardens, and to combine modern materials and methods with the organic lines of stone and plants.

After completing apprenticeship, Mark founded Windsmith Design as the sole owner, providing design, boulder placement, and site consultation services. Gardens built by Windsmith Design have been published in Sunset magazine, featured in garden tours, and the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show.

In addition to his design work, Mark is an active teacher, teaching short courses and full-day workshops on topics including Japanese garden design, native gardens, and the art of stone placement. He has spoken at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, Marenakos Rock Center, the California Native Plant Society, and has also been a guest-lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley.

Currently, Mark is pursuing a Masters’ of Science in Architectural Theory at the University of Washington, as the recipient of the Jones and Jones Endowed Fellowship, and an Architectural Foundation Scholarship.

View Mark’s Curriculum Vitae.