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Game Plan
An Ever-Changing Landscape Requires a Solid Plan


When the owner of this Rancho Palos Verdes, California, residence found out that Imagine Lighting designed and installed landscape lighting in addition to Christmas lighting, she hired them to take on that job for the front yard and the expansive backyard in her 9,000 square foot lot.


About 40 small mushroom path lights were installed around walkways and as area lights in the planters. All of the lamps that were not underwater are 2700K. The work Imagine does is mostly by hand to help preserve the existing landscape.

Imagine Lighting, founded fourteen years ago, started primarily with Christmas and holiday lighting. One of their holiday customers was so pleased with the job they did lighting her home for Christmas that she hired them to do her landscape lighting as well.

That was how Anthony Bogdanovich, owner of and designer for Imagine Lighting, got started at this Rancho Palos Verdes home. Within the last five to six years, the Imagine team has converted its original halogen installation to LED, and added some lights here and there, for a grand total of 200 fixtures.

With a lot size of about 9,000 square feet, there is plenty of room for landscape updates, which are almost constant. And, of course, with additions to the landscape comes additions to the lighting.

"Every time the homeowner adds a new feature to the yard, we add additional lighting for it," said Bogdanovich. "It's absolutely gorgeous; she loves it." With the landscape in a constant state of remodel, Bogdanovich can attribute one main thing to keeping on top of the lighting: proper planning.


Anthony Bogdanovich, owner of Imagine Lighting, explained that the underwater lighting (from Unique Lighting) was installed while the ponds were under construction. "We made sure when we were putting them in that we'd be able to maintain the lights, if we needed to pull them out to change a lamp or for any other reason," he said. "We used drop-in LEDs on the pond lights to make sure that we have an access." He added, "The trick is using fixtures that are properly fitted with gaskets that actually do their job. We take the additional step of adding a small bead of silicone between the retaining ring and fixture body before submerging." The Imagine Lighting team worked with the landscaper and pond contractor to guarantee the installation of the wiring was coordinated with their efforts. "We needed to make sure that the transformers we used in these areas were rated for wet locations," Bogdanovich said. "And that we followed all the guidelines from the manufacturer as well."


There are four ponds on the property as well as several other water features. With the lighting, Bogdanovich aimed to create a shimmering effect and movement across the backyard. "It's gleaming with life," he said.

The Lighting Plan
On any project, large or small, Bogdanovich recommends spending more than just a few minutes looking at the property.

"It's quite a process," he said. "It takes daytime and nighttime visits to the property to figure out the best way to light it."

During the planning process, he advises knowing what you're trying to accomplish with the lighting. Having that information can help you decide what kind of fixtures you want in a certain area, as well as how many are needed.

The intensity of the LED makes a difference as well. "If we're going through a whole lot of greenery, we're going to be using something hotter," said Bogdanovich. "At the same time, we're using a lot of risers." He recommends using risers to keep the light above plant level and avoid hot spots.

"We use different color temperatures too, depending on what we're trying to light," he said. "On this property it's mainly 2700 Kelvins, but we have a few 3000 Kelvin lights in the ponds."

"If you really want to do a good job, you can't rush it," he cautioned. "Make sure that you put together a thorough plan at the very beginning, and take your time to do so."


Bogdanovich estimated that there are about 120 MR16 bullet lights used throughout the property, lamped with 4- and 5-watt bulbs from Brilliance LED. There are roughly 200 fixtures installed across the property. "There's probably six different fixture types on the property, and probably eight or nine different wattages from lamps, so there's a lot going on," he said.


Approximately 35 tree lights from the same manufacturer provide moon lighting and feature lighting. Niche downlights were used to highlight some of the smaller water features and art pieces interspersed throughout the property.

The Future Plan
This homeowner regularly updates her landscape. Knowing that ahead of time, Bogdanovich was able to prepare for changes.

"As things were added it was a little bit easier because we already had the bones and guts laid out," he said. "It was just adding a few fixtures here and there."

Having a solid foundation and planning for future additions to the landscape can "simplify the situation tremendously," according to Bogdanovich. "On any project, whatever job you're doing, the landscape is going to change over time," said Bogdanovich. "You have to anticipate what the landscape is going to do because when you come into a new job and it's a brand new landscape and things are small, well, a year from now, the lighting's going to look completely different once those plants are filled in."

"You have to plan not just for the now, but for the tomorrow as well," he advised.


The most difficult part of this project was the conversion from the original halogen lights to more efficient LEDs. "We had a lot of fixtures and the wattage was pretty intense, so planning and coordinating all of that was a challenge," said Bogdanovich. "Now that we've switched to LEDs, it's made things a lot easier in terms of managing, and maintenance as well."

The Communication Plan
The final piece of the puzzle is being in regular communication not just with the homeowner, but also with any other contractors involved. "Changes are going to happen," said Bogdanovich, and when they do, it's important to communicate.

"We want to get to know the homeowner and how they use the property," recommended Bogdanovich. "You need to ask a lot of questions to give them the best value for the job." With communication come relationships, again, both with the homeowner and other contractors.

"Efrain Garcia Landscape is a local landscaper here in the Palos Verdes area," said Bogdanovich. "He does great work, and a lot of times we get called for projects that may need a little cleanup in the landscape, so we've used him quite often for a lot of our projects."

And, because of their good relationship with the homeowner, Imagine Lighting has been given freedom to light the yard and its elements as they see fit.

"The homeowner will add something to the landscape and say 'What do you think we need to do?'" said Bogdanovich. "I'll make some suggestions and she'll say do it. When you have some kind of artistic liberty, it makes things go a lot easier for everybody."

"The job we're working on right now was a referral that this homeowner gave on NextDoor. We have another appointment for another referral that she gave," he said. "We work on building relationships as much as anything else with our business."

As seen in LC/DBM magazine, November 2017.

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December 10, 2019, 6:52 pm PDT

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