Residential Gardens

Kiawah Residence

Kiawah Island, SC • Completed 2004


Oehme, van Sweden & Associates
James van Sweden

Situated at the tip of a peninsula surrounded by tidal marshes, this eleven-acre estate is nestled among native oak, pine, and palmetto trees. The house’s location on a coastal barrier island floodplain required raising the building off the ground. To bridge this vertical separation, the firm designed 5,000 square feet of balconies, steps, terraces, pavilions, and porches. Raised planters and ground-level native plantings nestle the main house, guesthouse, and garage into the surroundings.


Marrying this house to the land was going to involve some bridge building, and this had to be done sensitively. The community to which the island belongs is committed to the preservation of the local habitat. Its codes dictate that disturbance of the natural landscape be minimal and that native species only be used in the planting.[1]

James van Sweden


Learn More

Architecture in the Garden. see resources


[1] James Van Sweden, Architecture in the Garden (New York: Random House, 2002), 147.




The Photographers

Roger Foley (American, b. 1951)
Foley earned a B.A. in art from the University of Notre Dame with a concentration in photography. He published his first solo book, A Clearing in the Woods: Creating Contemporary Gardens in 2009, and his work has won top honors from the Garden Writers Association. His photography can be found in hundreds of books, and his commercial work has been featured in magazines, newspapers, and websites. He conducts workshops and frequently lectures for various groups, including the American Horticultural Society, and the Garden Club of America.