Phyto Studio is a venture of passion started by three long-time friends and collaborators. Melissa and Thomas met in graduate school, married, and have worked together as principals in a leading Washington, D.C. landscape architecture and urban design firm.  Claudia and Thomas originally met fifteen years ago through a mutual mentor, the late Wolfgang Oehme, a legendary landscape architect and plantsman. 

After designing and implementing high profile projects across the east coast, Claudia and Thomas published the book, Planting in a Post-Wild World in 2015.  Described by leading industry experts as a “game-changer” and “the universal how-to guide to sustainable landscaping,” the book exposed many of the limitations of horticultural best practices and provided practical steps to create more resilient landscapes. 

With demand for ecologically-functional, yet ornamentally-beautiful landscapes at an all-time high, Phyto Studio was created to bring clients both customized, technical expertise in plant community ecology as well as an artistic vision of the possibilities of gardens with emotional depth.  Claudia brings unparalleled expertise in planting design, ecology, plant procurement and installation, as well as adaptive land management. Melissa offers a warm, personal approach  and deep experience in the technical aspects of design, construction, project management, business administration, and quality control. Thomas contributes a thoughtful perspective to design with expressive plantings set within a beautifully crafted architectural framework.  In 2019 Phyto welcomed our newest member to the team, Emilie Carter. Emilie is an Associate Landscape Architect, managing a variety of private and institutional projects for the firm.

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