Tustin Outdoor lighting company in Orange County CA article

Article re-posted from LandscapeArchitect.com


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This home in Tustin, Calif., had an existing lighting system that was poorly designed but had many high-quality brass and copper fixtures that could be retrofitted to LED and repurposed in a new design by Chuck Evans, owner of Illuminated Concepts. The project also included many additional fixtures to illuminate key landscape features that previously were lost in darkness. Illuminated Concepts installed the entire system.


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Lightcraft FL-105-B “Big Smokys” downlight sitting areas and provide moonlighting throughout the project. Their adjustable shrouds help eliminate glare from the fixtures. The path lights are Corona PL8 fixtures from Auroralight.


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Kichler LED integrated bullet lights, 15741-BBR, 8.4-watt with 10-degree spots, were used to accent the very interesting curved palm going over the pool. Two of the spots illuminate the top of the palm from either side. The large palms were uplit by 15752-BBR 12.4-watt fixtures with a 35-degree flood, which were also used to extend the yard by illuminating trees beyond it. Evans calls the technique “free real estate lighting.”


Chuck Evans, the owner of Illuminated Concepts Inc., has had a diverse career in terms of lighting disciplines and geography: from the concert and stage production lighting in New York to holiday, landscape, and architectural lighting in Southern California.

It is there that he premiered his Laguna Hills company in 1988 to provide design and installation services to homes and businesses. Presently, Illuminated Concepts includes four installers and an office manager. Evans does most of the sales and design work for the company.

He proudly states that since 2011, they have worked exclusively with LED landscape lighting systems. “LED technology has been a game-changer for the outdoor lighting industry,” Evans says. “I was a little hesitant to get into the market because of the initial cost of fixtures but when I set up my own LED savings spreadsheet, I couldn’t ignore the huge economic and environmental savings. Once I was sold, it was easy to sell LED lighting to my clients.”

He has found that his customers save around 80 percent on electricity costs, and save more money since the fixtures and lamps last up to 20 times longer than their halogen counterparts.

Evans’ stage lighting background has helped shape his landscape lighting philosophy. As he describes it, “I tell my clients that we don’t sell fixtures, we sell effects.”

A Real Crowd-Pleaser
A home in Tustin, Calif., shows off Illuminated Concepts’ ability to affect a landscape transformation through their lighting talent. The residence had an existing landscape lighting system that was in desperate need of attention, turning this project into a major redesign and upgrade.


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The 8.4-watt bullet lights with 10-Degree spots were also used to make the water feature pop. SPJ 14-02 bullet lights retrofitted to LED illuminate other landscape features.


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Accenting the texture of the stone veneer on the raised planter walls are Laguna Lightcraft step lights S-101s. LED retrofitted Mariner SL16 and Calypso SK11 bullets help uplight the trees.


The front and back yards have a tropical resort backdrop but the custom rockscape and specimen palms got lost at night due to the poor original lighting design and the lack of alterations to that design as the landscape grew and changed.

“Usually the original design is not done by a professional lighting firm and many key elements are missing,” Evans says. “When I see a project with lighting already installed I almost always suggest changes to accent the unique features of that property.”

Fortunately for Evans, the existing lighting system had many high-quality brass and copper fixtures that could be retrofitted to LED and re-purposed, which he suggested to his customer who agreed. Evans also recommended enhancing the design by adding many more fixtures to light up the missing key elements.

So after redesigning the system and performing full maintenance and retrofit of the usable fixtures, Illuminated Concepts handled the installation. The new and retrofitted fixtures totaled 119 in the front yard and 131 in the backyard. This included new bullet lights from Kichler and Lightcraft, and wall lights from Laguna Lighting, a company that Evans is developing. Existing fixtures included bullet lights from SPJ, bullet, and path lights from Auroralight.

One other task was to deactivate most of an extensive fiber-optic system, which was now pointless since the enhanced lighting would overpower the low lumen fiber lighting. However, some fiber projectors that illuminated stairs were maintained so that they could remain operational.

Bonus Features
As a service to all his customers, Evans provides a spreadsheet that breaks down how much money they will save by switching to an LED system. This homeowner’s annual savings in reduced electrical and maintenance costs will be over $5,000 a year by Evans’ calculation.

On top of that, the long life of the LED lamps saves money when compared to halogen lamps, which have to be replaced much more often. He figures that over the life of this system, that would amount to 3,750 lamps. Evans likes to employ a technique he calls “free real estate lighting,” which is illuminating trees beyond the yard to essentially extend the yard. In this instance, he employed Kichler 15752-BBR 12.4-watt bullet lights with 35-degree floods to do the job.

A crew of three installers and a project manager completed the entire job in two stages. The backyard took about 2 1/2 weeks. After an intermission of a few months, during which the homeowner assessed their performance, they were brought back for an encore and worked 1 1/2 weeks to brighten the front yard.

Evans reports that no special equipment was involved but the installation did make use of Spears dry splice connectors, which are typically used in irrigation installations, to create solid wire connections that are sealed from the elements. Besides the size of the project, the biggest challenge was burying the lighting cable, which was made more time-consuming by all the roots present due to the maturity of the plants.

The final production received excellent reviews, as the creative and technical efforts of Illuminated Concepts turned out results that really put on a show.



It is there that he premiered his Laguna Hills company in 1988