Gardening With Feng Shui In Mind
I used to think that feng shui was about the objects you put in your house. And now I think of it as God’s plan all around us.
Working in the garden brings us into intimate contact with Nature. Relaxing in the garden helps to balance the frenetic activity of our daily lives. Enjoying quiet time in a natural environment of our own creation provides a yin balance to the yang energy we expend in a daily life filled with stressful hustle and bustle.
An Exotic Garden
A house and garden that works together to provide a supportive nurturing environment will have good Feng Shui even though it might not be a “Feng Shui Garden.” A “Feng Shui Garden” is a type of Chinese Garden and can be classified as an exotic garden.
Gardeners know that the more exotic a plant is, the more work and care is needed to help it thrive. A “Feng Shui Garden” follows rules and design concepts rooted in the Chinese culture.
A garden with good feng shui is created following the common sense principles that have evolved into the practice of Feng Shui. It is really nothing more mysterious than good gardening with a purpose.
Garden With A Purpose
The first step to good Feng Shui in the garden is to decide what the purpose is.
- Is the garden for our enjoyment, or to impress the neighbors?
- Is it to fill the space between houses or can we imagine a purpose that fills us with joy or peace while we both work in and rest in our garden?
Climate And Soil Conditions
The next step is identify plants that thrive in our climate and soil conditions.
A garden should look different in wet rural England than in dry Arizona. A hillside garden has different needs than a garden on level ground. An indoor apartment “garden” will be much different than a patio garden.
By identifying what grows where we garden we save ourselves needless work and heartache. The garden grows itself and we simply tend to it’s needs.
The Words Feng Shui Mean Wind and Water
In the practice of this art we shelter ourselves from the effects of the wind and collect beneficial life enhancing water.
In the garden, walls, trellis, hedges and trees can provide shelter from the direct wind. Pools, ponds, streams, waterfalls and fountains can collect peaceful and calming or life enhancing water.
The sounds of wind gently soughing through the trees complemented by the gurgle of running or falling water can instantly transport us to a serene and peaceful place, even if the garden is in mid-town Manhattan.
Front, Back, and Side Gardens
Front and back gardens are different as well.
- The garden in front of the house should gently lead us to the house, welcome us and invite us inside.
- The garden in back provides us with quiet contemplative space to allow us to shed the stress of our busy lives.
- Side gardens can be used for children playing.
Garden Spaces and Paths
All the garden spaces should provide interesting and beautiful views from the windows and doorways of the house thereby unifying the house and the garden.
Flowers from the garden also do this.
Practical Tips About Garden Paths
- Pathways carry us from place to place.
- Straight and narrow paths encourage us to move along.
- A slight meander encourages us to dally and enjoy the delights that surround us.
- Even the paths in front should have a gentleness to them although in front they can be straighter than in back.
- A bend in a path provides an opportunity for a pleasing surprise. It might frame a view, show a previously unseen pond or statue, a special plant or even a garden within a garden.
A good example is an herb garden sheltered within a larger garden and unseen until the path leads us where our nose wants us to follow. If your garden contains straight paths consider using asymmetrically placed potted plants or shrubs to regulate the flow of movement along the path.
Winding paths leading from surprise to surprise can make a small space seem much larger. One of the most pleasant surprises is a sheltered bench sited to enhance enjoyable surroundings.
Water features provide interest and are intrinsically refreshing to body, mind and spirit.
The collection of water in Feng Shui has come to symbolize the accumulation of wealth and on-going prosperity.
A word of caution about large water features
Water in the right place helps. In the wrong places it can lead to the dissipation of money and even impact ones health.
Before installing a big water feature have a Feng Shui analysis done!
In every garden there will be a very good place, a number of mediocre places and a few very bad places to install a water feature.
Never buy a house with a swimming pool without having it checked by a Feng Shui professional. Someone with training and experience, rather than a person who has read a book or two.
Plants, Shrubs and Trees
Plants, shrubs and trees are the primary building blocks we use to create most gardens.
If we follow nature’s design we choose plants that thrive in our climate. When we incorporate the natural design evident in every growing thing we are lead to asymetrical arrangements.
Nature uses asymmetry to let the natural energies flow easily. That creates harmony. Formal symmetrical arrangements create balance which is static and unmoving. The energy becomes blocked and eventually the garden stagnates unless there is a great deal of human intervention.
We try to avoid plants that droop and hang down. Weeping Willow trees are an example. Plants like this lend an air of sadness to their surroundings because the energy seems to droop as well.
In gardens we look for plants that uplift us. Plants that have a flower at the end of a vine are the exception, like the Fuchsia or Hanging Lantern plants.
Every Culture has Endowed Plants with Special Meanings
To the Victorians the different color of roses had particular meanings around love, white for purity, red for passion, pink for romance, etc. The Chinese gave the peony similar meanings.
These mythologies are interesting and can certainly be incorporated in ones design. Many books have been written about the symbolic meaning of plants. This can enhance the gardens meaning for people, it doesn’t necessarily improve the Feng Shui of a garden.
Your Garden Planning and Design
Anyone can implement these suggestions when planning and creating a garden or landscape. Following them will improve the Feng Shui of a persons surroundings. They scratch the surface of what is possible with Feng Shui landscape design.
Gardens, or places within a garden can be created to enhance every life aspiration. This planning and design is the realm of Feng Shui professionals. It requires training and experience.
One can learn a little about Feng Shui from books and even practice a little in the house and garden as a hobby. It’s always good to have some knowledge of First Aid. It’s not a good idea to think that little knowledge has taught us to understand medicine.
It’s the same with Feng Shui, a little knowledge is useful and it also can be dangerous.
To truly enhance the Feng Shui of ones house and garden one needs a professional consultation.
Charles Younger, the Feng Shui Man, has studied and practiced traditional Feng Shui for nearly 10 years. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
About Judy Morris and United Feng Shui
For 30 years Judy Morris has studied and taught Time-Space Feng Shui (Xuan Kong Fei Xing), the most fascinating system for life. Her years as a Time-Space Feng Shui consultant has taught her to appreciate the impact our environment exerts on our happiness, health, productivity and relationships.
United Feng Shui of Austin, Texas, is affiliated with FSRC (Feng Shui Research Center) in Toronto, Canada, founded by Master Joseph Yu.
Judy continues to practice and teach feng shui throughout the United States, Canada and internationally.