Cues from Rome

Roaring fires, soaring cedar structures clad in star jasmine, and luxurious wood & black steel arbors. Our friends and clients here can’t find a reason to stay inside. It’s not our fault, the Johnston Family returned from a trip to Rome and just had to have it all. So they called Drake’s 7 Dees. Our team took their challenging Hillsdale backyard and transported the whole space right to the Eternal City. How did we do this?

Our sensible design aesthetics adjust to many styles; focusing on architectural context, entrance to the home, and flow around the property. This design masterfully navigates the landscape. The home’s living room spills out to the dining patio. Massive limestone steps floating on an Ipe substructure make the stone appear light in weight. After a wonderful al fresco dinner, an intimate stepping stone path guides one to the hot fire feature. The fire pit is clad in natural stone chosen to look like a Roman ruin.

Great detail is shown in the water-jet cut limestone that details the top of the fire feature and sitting bench. The arbor behind the bench takes the same circular shape with a large luxurious black steel beam. Star Jasmine is introduced in this area and in the near years to come will be a stunningly lush backdrop.

This project is a great success. So much that Oregon Home Magazine features this Drake’s 7 Dees design in their 2018 summer issue.

“I love the whole thing. I can sit at the patio table with a glass of wine and plate of cheese, and no matter where I turn my head, there’s something beautiful to look at or hear, or I can close my eyes and feel like I’m in Italy. Chris and his team really did a wonderful job fulfilling our vision.”

Isn’t this a backyard to enjoy with a glass of wine from Italy? These clients say yes! So much they are now the house in the neighborhood that families gather and connect.


Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.


Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

A lifelong Oregon resident, Drake has been passionate about plants since childhood, beginning with propagating and growing flowers at his grandfather’s nursery. He opened Drake’s 7 Dees in 1974, while earning degrees in Business and Horticulture from Oregon State University. He later expanded into the design/build side of the industry, allowing him to combine his passion for plants with his love of family by maximizing the quality of family time spent outdoors.

Drake is co-founder of the Oregon Landscape Contractors Association and is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager (LICM)—a designation that less than two percent of landscapers have attained. Additionally, Drake serves on the Board of Directors for the Portland Japanese Gardens, widely regarded as one of the seven best Japanese gardens outside of Japan.

Drake is married to former Oregon Speaker of the House, Lynn Snodgrass. Together, he and Lynn received the Farm Bureau President’s award in 1999 for their service and dedication to agriculture in the state of Oregon. Drake and Lynn have two wonderful daughters, two talented son-in-laws, and seven grandchildren. In his spare time, Drake enjoys camping, water and snow skiing, reading, and of course, gardening.

Born and raised in the Portland Metro Area… Tim has had an appreciation for the outdoors from a young age.  Inspired by our local beauty ranging: the Mt Hood National Forest to salty, sea spray of Cannon Beach, the arid high-desert of Central Oregon to the rugged terrain of Steens Mountain – Tim sought higher education at the University of Idaho in their Landscape Architecture department.  Graduating with honors in 2004, he returned home to establish his professional career.

Now making his home in Sandy, Oregon – Tim and his wife [Nicole] are raising two happy and healthy kiddos and 4 fur-babies.  Between soccer, football, cheerleading, girl scouts and other extra-curricular activities… the Sellin family are heavily involved in their community and church family.  Since college, Tim has spent 13 of his 17 years with Drake’s 7 Dees and has ‘set roots’ in anticipation of long-term growth at the family-focused company.  Having spent his time away from Drake’s in a ‘boots on the ground’ capacity, Tim has fostered a love for the operational/production side of landscape business, as well as the design/sales.

His goal in life as well as business is to put others first.

Bachelor of Science Landscape Architecture, BSLA… 2009
California Polytechnic University, Pomona… Cum Laude
American Society of Landscape Architects – Honor Award

Steven has 15 years of experience in the residential landscape design/build and garden center industry, including 9 years with Drake’s 7 Dees. Steven also has experience working with the National Park Service in Yosemite on sub-alpine restoration projects, as well as volunteer experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer serving the community of Zaouiat d’Ifrane in Morocco.

Together, Steven and his wife Anna have four lovely children, all 5 years old and under! In his (very limited) spare time, Steven enjoys camping, hiking, archery hunting, and cooking. Steven’s passion for his work lies in helping others, through design to envision a more beautiful space that, once built, becomes a reality that improves their quality of life.