Well Beyond Landscaping

The Pacific Northwest is home to a lush landscape of naturally rolling hills, mossy trees, colorful flowers and thick wet grass. With healthy rainfall totals and a temperate climate, it’s one of the U.S.’s most vibrantly green regions.

Therefore, it’s only fitting that Dennis’ 7 Dees is one of the Pacific Northwest’s most vibrant landscaping companies — and a whole lot more. The family-owned company is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, with garden centers in Cedar Hills, Lake Oswego, Seaside, Bridgeport Village and Vancouver. Across these locations, the company has plant nurseries and a retail plant shop that range in size and sell a wide variety of indoor and outdoor plants, as well as home décor and gifts.

Along with their retail spaces, Dennis’ 7 Dees offers a variety of landscaping services that include residential and commercial landscape construction, maintenance services, urban plantscapes, design and décor for office and hospitality spaces, as well as design and décor for the holidays. The company has a stellar reputation, an easily recognizable brand and a large, varied customer base in the region. It has amassed dozens of excellence awards since it was founded in 1956.

(Dennis’ 7 Dees gets its name from Robert Snodgrass, the company’s founder. It’s an eponym for his seven children, all with “D” names. In fact, three of his sons own the company today: David, Dean and Drew. David serves as president of the company, with Dean and Drew as vice presidents.)
Dennis' 7 Dees sells indoor and outdoor plants, home décor and gifts at its garden center.
“Most landscaping companies will have one or two specialties. Dennis’ 7 Dees is different. We offer a range of retail and landscape service offerings for our customers,” said Nathan Dirksen, COO of the company. “Whether we are crafting yard design ideas together with a homeowner, planting hardscapes for an elementary school or carefully curating and planting a high-end hotel’s entryway, we do it all very well.”

Dirksen has been with Dennis’ 7 Dees for 35 years and oversees divisions that include revenue, accounting, marketing, HR, IT and management. Dirksen says the company’s goal is to create a “customer for life” and enable the company to serve as a well-rounded resource for residential homes and commercial businesses.

The company offers a range of retail and landscape services for its customers.
Over his tenure, Dirksen says the company has steadily grown and is now bringing in some $42 million in revenue each year. He attributes this success to the company’s focus on the continual expansion of its products and services, for both residential and commercial customers.

“When I first started at Dennis’ 7 Dees, there were about 35 people on board that dedicated their services strictly to landscaping for residential customers,” he explained. “Over time, we’ve acquired commercial customers with larger and larger sized properties, opened retail garden centers, started our interior plant division and much more."

With so many locations and services offered, Dennis’ 7 Deas has been able to capitalize on its expansion to build a trusted and recognizable brand. Retail customers are enticed to utilize the company’s landscaping services, and landscaping customers, in turn, become retail customers for plants, décor and gifts. Commercial customers trust the company for their residential needs and vice versa.

Essentially, Dennis 7’ Dees can leverage its brand power and suite of products to compound its growth.

The company’s landscaping clients are approximately 50% residential homeowners and 50% commercial businesses, the latter of which includes corporate buildings, hospitals and schools. In total, Dennis’ 7 Dees has 54 crews working across the Pacific Northwest, providing services to its customers.

“With well over 300 company employees, we easily provide a range of services for our many different types of customers; that’s what makes Dennis’ 7 Dees stand out in the landscaping industry,” Dirksen said.
Nathan Dirksen, COO of Dennis' 7 Dees.

Land stewards  

Dennis’ 7 Dees is committed to sustainable operations and environmental stewardship. Dirksen says this has enabled the company to attract new clientele that prioritize sustainability and green business. The company is intentional about water conservation, recycling organic yard debris and utilizing environmentally responsible lawn services and products.

Some of the company’s efforts include but are not limited to using organic, pesticide-free fertilizers, controlling runoff and protecting waterways by installing water gardens or wetlands, as well as choosing chemical-free products to use on plants and flowers that minimize environmental impact.
Dennis' 7 Dees is leading the switch to electric equipment for landscaping operations.
Dennis’ 7 Dees is also making the switch to electric equipment for its landscaping operations. It has invested in a fleet of Gravely Pro-Turn EVs and Gravely Pro-Stance EVs. The goal is to improve sustainability by lowering fuel consumption and emissions. The mowers’ quiet operations will also reduce noise on jobsites, which can create more pleasing atmospheres for residential and commercial customers, as well as extending working hours.

“We made a huge investment into Gravely EVs,” Dirksen said. “It was not a light decision to switch to electric equipment, but Gravely was the obvious choice. We now operate five Gravely 60-inch Pro-Stance EV stand-on mowers and three 48-inch Pro-Turn EVs. They are highquality and well-developed pieces of equipment that absolutely perform. And they are practical to operate. This investment was undoubtedly the right one.”

The electric mowers are working year-round. Crew members are working in a region that has mild and moist climates with generous amounts of rainfall throughout most of the year, besides an occasional dry climate from July to October. During this dry spell, plant irrigation is required. Summers are sunny and cool at a high of 80 degrees Fahrenheit on average, and winters are mild and cloudy with temperatures ranging from 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

The region’s perennial ryegrass, a thinner blade of grass species, becomes wet and dormant from November to February. However, landscapes still require regular upkeep like cleaning up flower beds or leaves. The grass is thicker in the summer and allows the crew to carry out their full landscaping capabilities. The region’s temperate climate, abundance of rain and rich soil allow for plant material to survive year-round, and for Dennis’ 7 Dees to maintain an extensive number of different plant types. Except for a rare, week-long snowfall in the winter, work never stops.  

A community mainstay  

Dirksen says that another secret to Dennis’ 7 Dees success is its community outreach program, called “Giving Back.” It enables the company to interact with the communities it operates in and offer its services to groups in need.

“The Growing Grant” is available to non-profits (e.g.: elementary schools) and has Dennis’ 7 Dees complete landscaping projects that focus on education or food programs. The grant includes labor, plants and materials to build and maintain outdoor spaces. The “Retail Fundraising Program” provides monetary donations for schools and other nonprofit organizations.

“We’ve always done something for our community. We have hosted a charity golf tournament to raise funds for the homeless community, volunteered at Habitat for Humanity and donated to underprivileged communities, for example. In recent years, wanted to do something more intentional, which is why we created our Giving Back program.”
Dennis' 7 Dees has 54 crews working across the Pacific Northwest.
With its Giving Back program, Dennis’ 7 Dees has truly become a company that fires on all cylinders. Retail, landscaping, commercial, residential, charitable — the company does it all. It has planted deep roots in the communities of the Pacific Northwest and created a powerhouse brand worthy of emulation.

“Dennis 7 Dees’ services are multifaceted, and we are fortunate enough to mow a residential customer’s lawn one day and handle business with a property management company the next. Every day is different and fast moving, but we have no intent to slow down,” Dirksen said.

12/01/2023 | Well Beyond Landscaping

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