Established in 1977, OEHME, VAN SWEDEN (OvS) is an award-winning practice of landscape architecture based in Washington, D.C. The firm, a Women's Business Enterprise and Certified Business Enterprise, has garnered world-wide recognition for pioneering a systemic approach to sustainable design. OvS design solutions build upon an elemental understanding of environmental performance, history, and considerations of human connectivity to drive every aspect of site program. By integrating practices of sustainability into each detail of a design, OvS creates landscapes that are ecologically healthy, culturally sensitive, and economically viable.
Horticulture and built elements share equal importance in OvS designs. The firm's appreciation of nature and its processes inspired the widely recognized "New American Garden" approach, the results of which are both practical and beautiful. OvS landscapes require less maintenance and they function as a vital component of the existing ecosystem. Garden designs highlight a naturalistic planting style and a thorough understanding of native soils, while carefully designed walls, terraces, steps, and other hardscape features maintain a sense of the surrounding vernacular. Upon entering an OvS landscape, attention is drawn first to the dramatic spectacles of planting and then to the practical beauty of built elements that firmly anchor the garden to the ground plane.
The firm's widely diversified mix of commissions includes institutions, national memorials, universities, embassies, botanic gardens and arboreta, businesses, developers, and private residences throughout the country and abroad.
OvS' professional staff consists of fourteen landscape architects-several of whom are LEED certified and most of who hold master's degrees. Principals Lisa Delplace, ASLA, Chief Executive Officer; Sheila Brady, FASLA, Vice President; and, Eric Groft, ASLA, Vice President, are highly recognized design professionals who have led the firm with distinction for more than twenty years. The firm's award-winning designs are frequently presented by the principals in talks, lectures, and symposiums to audiences nationwide.
The firm's work has been chronicled in books, professional journals, and popular periodicals. The Artful Garden: Creative Inspiration for Landscape Design is the latest in the series and offers readers insight into the essence of inspired garden design. Previous titles include Architecture in the Garden (2002), now in its third printing, Gardening with Nature (1997), and Gardening with Water (1995). Bold Romantic Gardens, published by Acropolis Books in 1990, was reprinted by Spacemaker Press in 1998 and Gardening with Nature and Gardening with Water have been reprinted by Watson-Guptill/Grayson Publishing.