Jan began her lighting design career in 1976. She began specializing in landscape lighting in the mid 1980s and wrote the essential book used around the world, The Landscape Lighting Book, first released in 1992 and now in its third edition (Wiley, 2013). Over her career, she has worked on projects large and small, from the Defense Intelligence Agency’s first home in Washington, DC, to winery caves, entertainment gardens, and botanical gardens.
Jan has taught lighting design since undergraduate school at UC Berkeley, Rutgers, and the Lighting Research Center, among others. She founded the International Landscape Lighting Institute (ILLI), a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit organization that provides landscape lighting education classes in the U.S. and abroad.
Jan has written countless articles and been included in multiple books on lighting. Her husband, George Gruel, produced a book of Jan’s lighting projects called She Paints with Light to help people visualize landscape lighting. Currently, she is producing a set of 20 videos with Garden Light LED for a new educational platform called Learn Night Light. In addition, she has begun work on a full-color design book, The Art of Landscape Lighting: A Designer’s Companion, which will provide inspiration for designers through her learnings over more than 45 years of lighting design. It is scheduled for a fall 2021 release.