Oehme, van Sweden & Associates

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OEHME, VAN SWEDEN | OvS is a Washington, D.C. based landscape architecture firm that has received world-wide recognition for pioneering a sustainable approach to the practice. The firm popularized the "New American Garden" style, which is characterized by large swaths of grasses and fields of perennials. The style celebrates the splendor of the American meadow while promoting its inherent ecological, sustainable, aesthetic, and ornamental values. Named after Founding Partners Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden, OvS' maintains a built portfolio that demonstrates what is possible when art, science and environmental sensitivity equally drive design.

In addition to numerous residential properties world-wide, notable works include the landscape architectural design for the Federal Reserve Campus in Washington, DC; The National World War II Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial; Tippet Rise Art Center in Fishtail, MT; and multiple commissions at both Chicago Botanic Garden and The New York Botanical Garden,[1] including the award-winning Native Plant Garden.

Design philosophy[edit]

OvS' appreciation of nature and its processes inspired the New American Garden style, as exemplified by the design of the Friendship Garden at the United States National Arboretum; the design demonstrates the ideals of low-input landscaping: a diversity of beautiful plants with limited inputs of pesticides, fertilizer, water, and maintenance.[2] The firm seeks to integrate new projects and plantings into natural landscapes and ecosystems, fitting each design into its existing context.[3]

The professional staff consists of a diverse and multi-disciplined team.[citation needed]

Awards and honors[edit]

The firm was named recipient of the American Society of Landscape Architects' 2014 Landscape Architecture Firm Award. The award, the highest honor ASLA can bestow on a firm, recognizes a “distinguished body of work that influences the professional practice of landscape architecture.”

The firm's project to improve the landscaping for a block of townhomes in the Ellen Wilson neighborhood of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., was recognized with an American Institute of Architects Honor Award in 1998.[1] The firm was also honored that year with a Residential Design Honor Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects for their work on a residential Coastal Island Retreat on Pine Island, South Carolina.[4]


  • van Sweden, James and Christopher, Tom (2011). The Artful Garden: Creative Inspiration for Landscape Design. Random House. ISBN 978-1-4000-6389-5
  • van Sweden, James and Christopher, Tom (2002). Architecture in the Garden. Random House. ISBN 978-0-375-50154-8.
  • van Sweden, James (1997). Gardening With Nature. Random House. ISBN 978-0-8230-2078-2.
  • van Sweden, James (1995). Gardening With Water. Random House. ISBN 978-0-679-42946-3.


  1. ^ a b "Portfolio". Oehme, van Sweden & Associates. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  2. ^ "Friendship Garden: Low Maintenance and Lovely". United States National Arboretum. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  3. ^ Ruane, Michael E. (April 2012). "MLK Memorial fits in with its surroundings". The Washington Post Cherry Blossom Special Section 2012.
  4. ^ "Residential Design Honor Award". ASLA 2008 Professional Awards. American Society of Landscape Architects. Retrieved 9 April 2013.

External links[edit]