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What is Dobro Design all about?  Simply put we strive to connect people to nature through the beauty of awe-inspiring gardens.  In modern times, we find that the delicate balance of nature is being disturbed by the activities of man.  As our relationship with the environment becomes fragmented, gardens are the place we retreat to reconnect to nature, to remember our unity with nature which has existed since the beginning of time.  All of our projects are founded on three fundamental design principles to restore this connection: embracing ecological and resilient design, creating emotive and atmospheric scenic effects, and incorporating engaging aesthetics such as suggestion, irregularity, simplicity, and perishability.


Looking closely at history to interpret what is constant and alive today, we see the common element of humanity, the human body and its five senses.  Through the five senses all perceptions pass and stimulate emotions.  Gardens at their core are distilled and nurtured nature; they are created to engage the senses.  As with art and beauty, we believe gardens transcend time, place, and culture; they bring joy, inspire, and ground.


Regardless of size or place, Dobro Design bases all its work on this belief and strives to connect people to nature through the beauty of awe-inspiring gardens.



A Landscape Architect trained extensively as a Japanese and master gardener; Desi believes you can never build a garden better than yourself.  She pursues this belief through a balanced study of Japanese cultural arts, garden design, maintenance and construction, as well as learning from the works of past masters and carefully observing nature.  As an instructor and presenter at the International Japanese Garden Training Center and numerous international conferences, she continually engages in outreach to the community. 


With over seventeen years of experience, Desi currently serves as the Founding Principal of Dobro Design and was the former Garden Asset Manager for the Portland Japanese Garden.  While at the Portland Japanese Garden she apprenticed for twelve years in the craft of Japanese traditional garden building under the guidance of the following Japanese garden masters:

  • Sadafumi Uchiyama, Chief Curator of the PJG, Director of the IJGTC

  • Kazuo Mitsuhashi, President of the Garden Society of Japan, Tokyo

  • Tomoki Kato, Ph.D. and President of Ueyakato Landscape, Kyoto


In these roles, she has led garden renovation, design, construction, asset management, and research while guided by a strong purpose – to carry forward the lessons of the ancient craft of Japanese gardens and in doing so, ensure gardens evolve in a way that meets the challenge of our times; the loss of nature and spirit.  


Regardless of the project location or scale – expansive forlorn urban industrial areas or intimate historic gardens – Desi passionately strives to connect people to nature through the beauty of awe-inspiring gardens.

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