Feng Shui… You may have heard of it, but how much do you really know about it? To start off with the basics, Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese art and science that originated more than 3,000 years ago. It relates to the orientation of things and how they affect the flow of energy. So, when people are using Feng Shui at home, they arranging furniture to balance the yin and yang to manifest good fortune. It’s believed in Chinese culture that, if you have bad Feng Shui, it will yield bad fortune.
Bad fortune doesn’t sound so great, does it? Even if you don’t believe in the superstitious aspects of Feng Shui, though, there is still a logical reason to incorporate this design detail into your home and throughout your garden. Because Feng Shui is all about balancing the materials of the earth, it actually does create a very soothing and comfortable atmosphere—good fortune or not. Plus, since this practice of good placement works with nature, not against it, you can rest assured your garden will be just as happy as you are with the final product.
Feng Shui in the Garden
Curious about how to Feng Shui-ify your garden design? Well, first, you should know the principles of the art form. As we mentioned above, Feng Shui focuses on the elements of the earth:
To make your garden Feng Shui-friendly, it is much easier to start before you plant everything. Yes, you need to plan out your garden design ahead of time. Unfortunately, there are wrong ways to plan out your garden, but, on the bright side, there are plenty of garden planning apps available to help you visualize before you break ground.
Although most experts in the matter don’t like suggesting hard-and-fast, universal tips for creating a good flow in the garden, there are still some general ideas that will help you achieve great energy and fabulous Feng Shui. Below, we’ll get into some of those smart Feng Shui techniques so your garden can thrive with good fortune.
What Is the Bagua Map & How Do I Use It?
If you want to bring Feng Shui to your life, the first step is understanding the bagua map. The Western Feng Shui bagua focuses on the same nine areas as the classical bagua. The nine squares are aligned in rows of three, and you will basically use this map over a layout of your garden so you can superimpose the right elements into the right spots. The nine areas focused on are:
• Wealth – wood element
• Fame – fire element
• Marriage – earth element
• Family – wood element
• Health – wood element
• Children – metal element
• Knowledge – earth element
• Career – water element
• Travel – metal element
Now, using this map, you can align it with your garden. Knowing which elements should go where will help you plan your garden to be Feng Shui-friendly. When you look at the cardinal directions on the map, you can see which energies are the focus in each area of your garden. Below, you’ll see how these cardinal directions can help you harness their respective energies by planting the right flowers and adding the right elements and structures.
Just remember that Feng Shui focuses on the energy of life (aka “Chi”), so all pathways should promote flow and movement. Too much clutter or complicated design will disrupt the Chi. Curved pathways leading from one area to another are a great way to promote Chi. You will also want to plant the right trees and plants that invite garden friends such as butterflies and birds.
How to Harness the Energies in Your Garden
This area of your garden focuses on the energies as they relate to your path in life and your career. Using the water element and dark colours (according to the bagua map) will help you harness luck for this area of life. So, a couple suggestions might be to install rockery such as a bird bath or water feature. To use dark colours, consider adding in some frog or turtle ornaments for extra balance.
This section of your garden is all about pursuing personal and spiritual growth, so a zen garden would be wonderful adjacent to the rocky elements of your neighboring north section. Think about creating a waved, smooth pebble path through this area, complete with a bench intertwined with nature. Feng Shui works against too many straight lines, so keeping the flow relaxed is crucial (hence the waved path instead of a straight one). Remember that the practice also melds well with nature, so you’ll want to mix your garden furniture harmoniously with your plants so as not to disrupt the energy.
The eastern portion of your garden is the area for health and longevity, so, naturally, you will want thriving plants in this area. Dead plants are not a good indicator of good health. Choose your plants in this area carefully—try ornamental trees for scale and colourful mums and lilacs to bring boldness. Since health correlates with the wood element, you can add an ornamental wood structure of your choice here as well.
Think wood and water domination in the southeastern portion of your garden. Adding a water fountain to symbolize abundance and wealth is a great idea. To increase upon the abundance, add lovely, low-growing flowers for balance. Wooden accessories will also complement your water feature well.
You may scoff at the idea of chasing fame, but fame and success are the dominant energies in the south portion of your garden. Because the element of this area is fire, this is a great opportunity to set up your grill and make the most of the sunlight. Adding in warm-hued flowers and/or a fire pit or lanterns will complete this space and harness the fiery energy quite well.
It’s time to talk about love. This portion of your garden is all about relationships, peace, and love, so make it a comfortable gathering place for friends and family. Perhaps it’s where your patio sits. Add pink, red, yellow, and orange blooms to the area (peonies are lovely), and make sure every other area of your garden has an easy access point to this social space. Blocking off areas is a no-no in Feng Shui, so remember that flow is important, especially when trying to create an inviting area. This area would be a great place for that garden party you’ve been meaning to throw.
Think of the western part of your garden as your new yoga studio. The energies in this area promote activity, so bright, vibrant blossoms will do well here. The west is a great area for children to play, but it also represents new hobbies and pleasures, and yoga is the relaxing activity that fits in perfectly here. Consider sprucing up the area with a hollow wind chime or quartz decorations to satisfy the metal element.
Lastly, the north west area of your garden should be dedicated to meeting new people. Foster a comfortable social environment with an open, calm seating area and metallic colours such as white and silver. Also, if you have an old tree in this area, decorate it with charming metal accessories or chimes to amplify the atmosphere.
You don’t have to be an expert to bring Feng Shui into your garden—all it takes is a little attention and understanding of the general practices. If you simply print out a bagua map and compare it to your garden map (in the planning stage), you’ll be able to easily see how to situate certain furnishings and design the right kinds of borders. Using Feng Shui will certainly help the overall feel of your outdoor space no matter what!
Hopefully this article covered what you need to know to use Feng Shui in your garden. If you want more helpful gardening tips like these, make sure you’re in Rozanne’s Inner Circle—her closest friends get the inside scoop!