OEHME, VAN SWEDEN | OvS is a diverse group of landscape architects, horticulturalists, designers, creative thinkers, and collaborators.
We explore the ecology, culture, and history of each landscape and fuse art, science, and humanity to distill its form and amplify its function. The result is a contextually-appropriate, high-performance composition that connects people to the land.
Our firm transformed the field of landscape architecture with the New American Garden style of design, distinguished by a balance of horticultural complexity and architectural craftsmanship. Thoughtfully-constructed paths, terraces, walls, fences, and arbors organize the land and provide elegance to everyday function. Within this framework, we infuse botanical expression in the form of color, texture, movement, and fragrance. Our designs embrace the seasonality of the American meadow and magnify ecological systems, sustainable processes, and aesthetic values. The New American Garden boldly reveals the ephemeral through mystery, intrigue, and discovery.
Established by landscape architectural pioneers Wolfgang Oehme (1930-2011) and James van Sweden (1935-2013), OvS is led today by Eric D. Groft, FASLA, CEO and Director, along with a Third Generation of leadership. Principals Sara Downing, ASLA; Stacilyn Feldman; ASLA; Lili Herrera, Robert Johnson; Eva Lin, CFO; and Justin Maglione will help guide OvS further into the 21st Century.
Our work is shaped equally by art, science, and emotional connections. The depth of our 40 years of practice speaks to our shared passion to enhance the urban experience, enrich communities, reimagine institutions, and inspire relationships between people and nature.
OEHME, VAN SWEDEN | OvS. Extraordinary outdoor spaces.
Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden launched their partnership in 1975 in the basement of Jim van Sweden’s Georgetown row house.
Their collaboration has been credited with founding the ‘New American Garden’ style of landscape architecture. The style is characterized by large swaths of grasses and layered masses of perennials that boldly celebrate the ephemeral through mystery, intrigue, and discovery. Jim van Sweden said the New American Garden is “Vigorous and audacious…vividly blending the natural and the cultivated.”
Their design credits include the planting along Pennsylvania Avenue from the U.S. Treasury to the National Gallery in Washington, DC; the Virginia Avenue Gardens of the Federal Reserve in Washington, DC; the National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC; the Gardens of the Great Basin at the Chicago Botanic Garden; as well as numerous residential gardens in the United States and abroad.
Wolfgang Oehme passed away in December 2011 and Jim van Sweden passed away in September 2013.