Incorporate Feng Shui in your Landscaping
by Cheryl Grace, copyright © 2005-2012
Feng Shui is based on ancient Chinese wisdom but the desire to connect to our environment is universal. We instinctively prefer and seek balance in our lives. What seems to work for everyone is a balance between the extremes, also known as the flow between Yin and Yang. Chinese practitioners believed that the ideal location for a home was a balance between the mountains at the rear of the house for protection, and near the existence of water (which symbolizes wealth), but not too close, in order to increase the chance for prosperity. This location is similar to that of an armchair, with your home residing on the seat cushion and the back of the chair representing the rear of your home.
In Western civilization, our choice for a location of our home and the surrounding land are influenced by many factors, including cost and convenience to our daily lives. Incorporating feng shui to enhance our landscape is a fresh approach to create a peaceful, safe and comfortable environment. Trees and shrubbery can be used to block harsh energy, such as strong winds, and at the same time provide privacy. Many communities create a country or estate feel by eliminating fences. Boundaries or edges created by landscaping does do not have to resemble the Great Wall of China but does need to be in balance with the level of privacy or separation desired. You will feel more comfortable in clearly identified plots rather than large common areas. Create a protective embrace around the sides and back of the residence using plants, berms, shrubbery and trees, especially if your home is located on a busy street, cul-de-sac or T-junction. Your relationship with your neighbors will improve if they feel that are not being looked in on day and night!
The flow of energy through a home or garden has a positive or negative effect on the entire family’s health and well-being. First, create a beautiful view from every door and window to invite nature in your home. Keep a balance of yin and yang (light and dark) when choosing trees and avoid trees or shrubbery that completely blocks the light from windows. Adding essential feng shui elements, such as “mountains,” greenery and water, are energy enhancers. Raised planting beds, tall trees, terracing, and shrubs in the back of your house or lanai can symbolically represent mountains. Streams, ponds, fountains, asymmetrical paths, or even a river of stones may represent water, which symbolizes wealth.
An overgrown landscape transfers to a mental congestion. Sickly bushes spread disease or may be a sign of an environmental problem such as soil, water, and pests and may contribute to structural problems. Flat gardens discourage the flow of energy. Create different layers, levels and curves in the garden to improve the flow of energy. Meandering or circular pathways in the garden are preferred to straight paths, as a straight walkway creates fast-moving energy, which may cause feelings of discomfort. When applicable, open up the sides of the home and define pathways so that people and energy can circulate all around the building.
Gardens are a place for entertaining, rejuvenation, play, and comfort. If work or family priorities limit your free time, your garden design should reflect those limitations, rather than fight them. If your life is filled with stress, a meditation element in the garden is called for. If children are part of your life, a playful element should be in present in your garden. The quality of family relationships and communication can be enhanced with a well-designed entertainment and conversational areas and can fully represent who you are today.
Create special meaning to the garden by building memories based on colors, textures, and sounds that are carried over from past experiences. The selection of plants or a garden designed to capture a moment, such as a tree planted for a newborn, become special for their links to a special event. They can be even more powerful if planted in a special garden devoted to memories, a place where you can turn for a renewed sense of connectedness whenever you feel lost, or planted consciously in an area that is visited regularly. Planting trees in numbers to represent members of the family past and present to remind you of the strength of family ties. A healthy garden, even if it located in your lanai, can be a place of renewal, where internal energy can be soothed and restored by contact with living plants and flowers. Tending to your garden can be creative or reflective, and calm your spirit from the daily grind of work and responsibilities.
The heart of the garden is your focal point. It may be a fountain, a bed of bright flowers, or comfortable seating area. A special plant, a piece of wall art, a wind chime, birdhouse, whirligig, or welcoming garden sculpture, even the design of a gate or entry arbor can say something special about the garden to come, its purpose and its creator. Enhance your mood daily with color in flowering plants and variety of foliage. Enhance partnership and loving relationships by creating pairs of pots with pink, red or white flowers. Add gold and yellow flowers representing the earth element to develop a calm and grounding sanctuary where you can count your blessings.
When you live in a condo or apartment without land of its own, or if the land around you is not accessible for some reason, you can still apply the same principles indoors. Bring nature inside. Live plants, fresh flowers, candles, pots of herbs, rock gardens, seashells or a water feature by your front door will contribute to your happiness. Tending to your own personal indoor garden will connect you to nature and restore your balance.
Feng shui observes the relationship between seen and unseen forces of nature. When you home and garden blend harmoniously, your health, prosperity and relationships thrive.