By Erica Sofrina, Founder West Coast Academy of Feng Shui and author of Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World.
Feng Shui is often applied to buildings and interiors but the outside world was the original home of Feng Shui. Chi, or energy, can be moved by wind and weather and the ancient Chinese were aware of it as it funneled into steep valleys, or hung over vast plains. They noted the effects and learned how to control the flow in order to maximize the benefits they could derive from it.
The chi that flows around your house cannot reach the doors and windows without passing through your garden or some kind of landscape, so it is the logical place to begin to guide and enhance the chi.
In gardens, aim for quality over quantity. A small beautiful garden can be an amazing chi generator. Whether or not you have an entire yard, or a little area on a deck, creating a vibrant garden will lift your spirits, feed your soul and inspire you to spend more time outside!
The five elements are a key component of Feng Shui. As beings connected to 100,000 generations of ancestors who lived in the natural world, we feel a deep sense of well being when surrounded by nature. The more we can create spaces that bring us out into nature or bring nature in to the home, the happier we feel in our space!
Create interesting and luscious gardens that inspire you to be outside. If you live in hot climates, make sure to bring in garden lighting so that you will be enticed to spend time under the stars in the evenings. Solar lighting is an inexpensive way to bring magic to the night garden and creates safer walking paths. (Target is a good source)Up-lighting a favorite tree will bring a fairy-like magic to your garden in the evening as well. The sound of a lovely water fountain will soothe the soul and inspire the spirit. It is especially effective in hot climates and/or when you need to disguise traffic noise if you live on a busy street.
Here is a list of objects you can bring into your gardens and/or decks and patio’s to add visual interest and balance all of the five elements of fire, earth, metal, water and wood. Click Here for my Free Color Five Elements Map!
Enhance the Fire Element in the Garden:
Add plants with fiery triangular and conical shapes, plants and leaves in the red spectrum, sculptures and statues of people and animals, patios and pots in terracotta, lighting, candles, oil lamps, fireplaces, barbecues and things that attract wild life such as humming bird feeders.
Next: how to enhance the other elements, plus more garden tips
Enhance the Earth Element in the Garden:
Earth is already in the garden. To enhance it use brick, tile, adobe, earthenware stepping-stones and pottery, garden art in square and rectangular shapes, yellow, golds and earth tone colors in flowers, plants and pots.
Enhance the Metal Element in the Garden:
Add metal sculptures, furniture fencing, oval, circular and arched shapes, plants in pastel colors, rocks and stones, wind chimes and plants with circular shaped leaves.
Enhance the Water Element in the Garden:
Bring in dry creek beds, asymmetrical pathways, reflective objects like garden gazing balls and mirrors, water features such as birdbaths and fountains, black and dark grey stones such as slate.
Enhance the Wood Element in the Garden:
If you have plants you will already have the wood element in the garden. To accentuate it you can add wooden furniture, fences and decks, fabrics in green colors, stripes and floral prints as well as rattan and wicker furniture. Cover up ugly fences with colorful vines.
More Garden Tips:
- For those who live in hot climates, emphasize the water element to balance out all of the fiery energy. For those who live in watery areas with moist climates, emphasize the earth and fire elements to help with grounding and stimulation. Too much water will create a floaty relaxing environment. For down time that is fine, but if you need to work, you won’t be able to get anything done!
- Add a wonderful resting bench beneath a shade tree and meditate there each day.
- Relocate spiky plants to the back of the garden such as yucca plants, cactus and roses. We are all about safety in Feng Shui. If someone can get caught on them or hurt in any way, they are not considered friendly. Move them away from ‘people paths.’
- Remove aggressive vines from the house. They will take over the chi of the building and can actually destroy it. Put them on a lattice where they can be moved a little away from the house.
- Create winding curves in the garden; always are more gracious than straight walkways.
- Be imaginative and make it wonderful. Create a labyrinth with plants, or mosaics and stones. A wonderful exercise for and practicing your mindfulness meditations. I have a friend who holds seminars at her home and always starts with everyone walking the labyrinth.
- Clear up clutter areas. We need to think of our gardens as extensions of our homes. Stagnant chi in the yard affects us just as much as in our homes.
- If you don’t use the woodpile, give it to someone who will use it. This goes for the junk lumber pile as well. If it is useful, the chi is moving, if it is just there, the chi is stagnating.
- Disguise hoses, unfriendly garden tools, recycling and garbage bins and anything unpleasant to look at. (See solutions.com and frontgate.com for attractive hose covers, such as baskets to wind the coils in or faux stones to cover up unattractive objects in the garden.)
- Clear up bear ground areas and mulch around plants to conserve water.
- Completely remove dead tree stumps or make something artistic out of them if you can’t remove them.
- Thin out the branches rather than box trim hedges. The chi will move through them better and they will live longer.
- Remove or prune back plants or trees that are covering windows, i.e. right next to the window. Plants a few feet away are fine.
For those with decks for a garden, create wonderful pots of vegetables and plants and enjoy the fruits ( and veggies) of your own labors! Add some of the five elements suggestions to create an entrancing deck or patio area that you enjoy spending time in!
Next week: Tips for a Healthy July Garden.
Top Photo from Ciano Landscape Design at http://www.cianodesign.net/landscape-design/