Personalized Garden Design

Natural woodland setting in fallRaindrop Garden Design offers personalized services to guide, inspire and support your vision for outdoor living spaces, fulfilling your needs and delighting you with possibilities.

The initial conversation is a fact finding mission, asking specific questions and listening carefully to your needs, priorities and dreams. Your input counts. You take ownership by being involved.

RGD brings to the table knowledge and hands on experience in choosing appropriate landscape components that will fit your aesthetics and your budget.
Plant palettes are composed of versatile, low maintenance plant material, many that offer year round interest with color, texture and form allowing you less time working and more time relaxing in your garden.
Promoting sustainable practices will produce a thriving eco system and provide wildlife habitat in your own backyard. You become part of the global solution.
Optional post design installation stewardship promotes communication, clarification and a team approach with contractors, homeowners and designer, assuring you of the outcome you want.

Let’s talk about ways to transform your yard into the garden of your dreams.

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How to prepare for a move with the garden in mind

After 23 years of raising a family, pets and cultivating a great garden, we’d decided to sell our house and move eastward to a property with more space, but still close enough in to take advantage of all  Portland has to offer.Within 7 days on the market we had an offer on the house. We believe that our landscape and the updates on our home gave us a leg up on comparable properties. With no time to rest on our laurels, the whirlwind quest to find our new home began with the help of realtor extraordinaire, Becca Lyons. We had our “must have” list with a quiet street, a large entertaining space to enjoy with family and friends and at least an acre of land. We viewed each property keeping in mind the potential each offered and found  a  house that fit the bill.

All along I had been planning how to approach our garden with what stays and what goes. Perennials had been divided earlier in the spring and re-potted giving them a head start. This also keeps the original plants from overcrowding. As the flush of new growth filled in, the garden looked better than ever. As the potted transplants flushed out with foliage and flowers, I was able to try different companions by playing with colors and textures  finding new stunning combinations group them in different

We tagged larger plants and a few young trees that are significant species to notify the new owner that these plants wouldn’t stay with house. About a month before moving I cut a circle with a sharp spade around the root ball about the size of the canopy and left the in place for good keeping. This stimulates the roots to push out new growth allowing more access to H2O and nutrients. Two weeks before moving we transplanted into the largest pots available. The Japanese Maple, species Kousa Dogwood, and the Rhododendron pachysanthum made the transition seamlessly.

With the help of a great group of friends and family, moving day went smoothly. The biggest surprise was finding some cool reclaimed paver material that had been overlooked and found at the last minute leaning against the side of our house. With our last bit of strength we squeezed them into the U-Haul and lugged them into our new back yard.

Our new space has a rural feel to it, complete with an orchard, raised beds for vegetables and ample space for Kit, our large hound dog, to romp in. Wildlife sightings in the yard so far are 3 deer and lots of bunnies! 

We haven’t started making  too many changes in the garden at this time as we want to get a good feel for the path of the sun from dawn to dusk, get a feel for our seasonal changes spring bloomsand getting a good feel for how each space will be used. Our first step was to remove garden fabric under the planting beds and sitting on top of tree roots in the orchard. Second step is amending the soil completely.We won’t be sorry come spring knowing that the soil is ready to plant and we  have some of the dirty work already taken care of.

For now we continue to discover nature’s treasures in our new garden and melding our creative impulses and visions, exploring the possibilities that lie ahead.

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Calling all Hummingbirds

As Spring unfolds, we’re noticing a flurry of activity amongst our backyard feathered friends, taking turns visiting the feeders and touching down on water feature for a quick splash or drink. My favorite time is first thing in the morning when I let the dog outside and listen to the symphony of song from a variety of birds. As of late I’m seeing hummingbirds more often, mostly the Rufous that migrate south in the winter and the Anna’s who sometimes stay in the Portland areas during milder winters.

In April we place hummingbird feeders in open areas near flowering plants. Best practice is to clean feeders and put out fresh nectar every 3-4 days.

Here are some favorite plants to attract hummers.

Bright red flowers attract hummingbirds.plant choices to attract Hummers include;

  • Aquilegia formosa, Columbine, with spring and summer blooms.
  • Weigela ‘Variegata’ blooms in spring with rosey red flowers and variegated foliage.
  • Penstemon x campanulatus ‘Garnet’ with wine red blooms all summer.
  • Salvia elegans, ‘Scarlet Pineapple’ covered with jewel red tiny blooms in summer and fall has pineapple scented foliage reaching 3-4′high  – Stunning!
  • Alstroemeria ‘Butterscotch’ has a long bloom time, summer through fall. Even with the yellow orange color, the hummers frequently visit these plants.

With forethought and the right selections you can attract these charming and entertaining birds for more than half the year.

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Signs of spring’s promise

 With days  getting longer, I take daily walks through the garden to find signs of spring awakening. I consider this less of a duty and more like a treasure hunt. They’re subtle but they’re out there.  Blooms are peaking out from behind the leaves in late winter-blooming plants. Some of my favorites include the deep magenta blooms of Cyclamen coum, the intoxicating fragrances coming from Clematis armandii and Sarcacocca, the nodding heads of Hellebores.  And this is just the beginning!

For me the garden season is year round,  in February the buzz from the garden shows give me a jump start.

The Yard, Garden and Patio show opens Friday, February 17th and runs through the 19th. It’s held at the Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE MLK,Jr Blvd. For more info go to Discount coupons are available at Dennis’ Seven Dees Garden locations at a discount of $5 off the door price.This show features elaborate showcase gardens with this year’s theme being “Seven Gardens of the World”.

Take some time to soak in the wonder and beauty of these amazing showcase gardens, don’t forget your camera noting inspiration for future projects.Take advantage of some free seminars, pick up some tips for successful vegetable gardens or how combat garden pests with natural measures. The Green Market is full of wonderfully tempting new varieties. Be sure to catch a presentation by Ahmed Hassan, celebrated Landscape designer and DIY network “Yard Crashers” host. His presentations are at noon and 4pm on Friday and Saturday and noon and 3pm on Sunday. It’s sure to be entertaining, don’t miss this one.

While you’re there stop in at the Wine Pavilion and Beverage Garden. This gives you a chance to enjoy a glass of wine or beer, listen to local musicians, relax a bit and regroup. These spaces as well as the stage backdrop for Ahmed Hassan  were designed by Melinda Frey of Raindrop Garden Design in collaboration with Anne Taylor of Living Elements Landscape.

Enjoy the show and remember to wear comfortable shoes, you may be there a while!





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