Shady Boulder Garden

Diwan Project

For a busy, young professional couple there is hardly time enough in a day for the essentials, let alone contemplating and executing the perfect shady boulder garden.  Such is the case for many of our clients, including the homeowners of this project. Enter: Drake’s 7 Dees design team.  

Located in Portland’s ‘Banana Belt’ on the inner Eastside, the home itself was a beautifully restored craftsman with many high-end finishes.  We looked to maximize the front yard’s potential vis-à-vis the microclimate. The shade, however, kept things interesting in that we had to look for ways to brighten with color and texture without the luxury of sun-loving flowering shrubs and perennials.  The boulder rockery helped with the slope, but we also made sure to source near white boulders to help brighten the space. We then repeated a few select shade lovers known for their colorful foliage and ended up with a beautiful well-rounded front yard to match the home.

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.