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.

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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.