Brent Markus' interest in landscape design was cultivated as a teenager through weekend visits to the Chicago Botanic Gardens. Very quickly, he was ordering trees from all over the United States to use in Bonsai classes and to plant in his parents' garden. As a young adult, Brent had numerous mentors, including Henri Bort (retired curator of the Japanese Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden) who taught him about plants, training trees and garden design.

He attended Cornell University and received his B.S. in Landscape Architecture in May 2004. While an undergraduate, he interned with famous Belgian landscape architects Jacques and Peter Wirtz (Wirtz Landscaping, Antwerp, Belgium). Brent returned to Cornell and completed his Masters of Science (MS) and is in the process of finishing writing his thesis to complete a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in the Urban Horticulture Institute at Cornell University. While completing his graduate research, Brent operates Markus Specimen Trees, Inc.