5 ways to feng shui your garden and why you should
We moved into a new house last year. It’s a gorgeous old Victorian home with a quaint front porch. Yet every time I entered the house I felt flat. I should have felt excited, as it was a dream of ours to own an older home. But our front garden was overgrown and full of weeds, and the porch itself was badly in need of fresh paint.
A good foundation is essential when applying feng shui, even in the garden, and often the first step to enhancing the chi or life force in a space involves a thorough declutter.
The feng shui lover in me knew how important the entryway to the home is and, as soon as spring arrived, I resolved to give the front garden a makeover. A good foundation is essential when applying feng shui, even in the garden, and often the first step to enhancing the chi or life force in a space involves a thorough de-clutter.
When does your outdoor space qualify for a clean-out? “The definition of clutter is having items that are no longer any use to you,” Gerry Heaton writes in Feng Shui for Australians. So perhaps, like me, you need to start by giving your garden or outdoor space a thorough clean-up. Clear out debris, cut back overgrown shrubs or trees and make sure hard-scaping features like the fence, pathway, gate and any stairs are in good working order. I had to weed and thin a number of plants as the garden itself was choked from having been neglected.
If you have a deck or patio, give it a clean with a power washer. Spruce it up with a fresh coat of paint or new stain. We contemplated replacing the porch but it wasn’t in our budget, so instead we splurged on a painting project to highlight the porch’s detailed architecture. If you have a garden shed, give it a once-over, too. Is it full of junk you can throw away, recycle or donate? Do you have storage areas in the yard that are out of control? Contain your stuff and declutter as much as possible.
Make sure any pond or outdoor water feature is in good working order. According to Heaton, “Water equals energy equals abundance. Moving water is also a great cleanser of energy. It brings good fortune. But only if you keep the water fresh.” Top up water levels regularly, especially if you have a bird bath or fountain, and make sure you have the right-sized pump for your water feature. The recycling of water that can happen through a water feature “is a symbol of never-ending energy”, writes Heaton.
These larger projects might seem like effort but they make a huge difference where chi is concerned. Now that we’ve repainted, the house looks fresh and inviting. In turn, new work opportunities have “magically” arrived for both my husband and me.
Trimming back the shrubs near our entrance helped open up the porch and made the entryway look larger. Feng shui highlights the importance of being able to see your entrance from the street. The sight lines represent the flow of chi, and you want life-enhancing energy to easily make its way to your home.
“Green-scaping” also helps hold chi for your benefit. Feng shui expert and author of Red Lotus Letter, Kathryn Weber, writes, “When a home is surrounded by beautiful landscaping, trees, flowers and gardens, the home’s exterior environment gives beautiful sheng chi (the highest form of energy) to the home.” The compliments we get on our new-look porch and freshly manicured front garden are like bursts of positive energy — each one sends happy chi our way.
Shapes, layout & flow
Shapes and the lay of the land itself are also important in feng shui. Ideally, your home is situated on a slight incline from the street, with “protective higher ground behind you”, writes Heaton. This triggers a layout that is like an armchair: the lower front is near the entry to your home, the sides are slightly higher and then highest of all is the back of the chair, ideally at the back of your home.
Regardless of the actual land around your home, you can evoke this protective shape by planting a green fence of tall trees at the rear of your home, or use stones to create a permanent protective backing to your property. A high fence also works. According to Weber, “Beautiful greenery brings good luck to a home. Create a balanced landscape, making sure to plant trees on both sides of the house and at the rear. This creates supportive luck. Trees on the left side of the house help control the man’s anger and trees on the right side of the house control the woman’s.”
The compliments we get on our new-look porch and freshly manicured front garden are like bursts of positive energy — each one sends happy chi our way.
When designing other outdoor features, prefer wavy lines — they are considered more positive and can evoke the archetype of the positive and powerful garden dragon. The waves represent the humps on a dragon’s back and help create movement in an otherwise static space. “Homes are empty space and that makes them yin,” Weber says.
Enhancing or expanding your garden and green space brings helpful yang and dragon energy, which in turn energises your home for happiness and success. If possible, opt for a winding or curved pathway in the garden or leading to your front door. If edging a garden bed, go for curves rather than a straight line.
Light & sightlines
Light is an excellent feng shui remedy and will be especially useful along the middle back or right-hand back of your garden. Respectively, this supports fame and reputation, and relationships. Lighting near the entryway, especially if your front door is hard to spot from the street, is also positive. If budget and space permits, consider installing lights or a lamp-post. A fuss-free option might include solar power or LED-style lights, or hanging glass and crystals to capture and move light around. “Lighting is a wonderful activator and helps to energise the chi of the garden and dissolve any negative energy,” Weber says. “The lighting will help to raise the garden’s natural chi and make it more potent.”
Our backyard is full of mature trees and is mostly shaded. To lift the chi around our back fence, and through our wealth, fame and love sectors, we added solar-powered fencepost toppers to bring in subtle light each evening. Not only does it look lovely, it helps stimulate chi in an otherwise quiet, cool and dark part of the garden.
Consider which parts of the garden you can see out of the windows in your home. By making these areas of the garden and outdoor space beautiful and visually appealing, you can bring the garden inside. Imagine your windows as picture frames and consider what special plants, trees, light features or even a bird feeder you might include within each frame.
The bagua map, a popular feng shui tool illustrated below, can help you understand how different areas of your garden reflect and influence different areas of life. You can overlay the bagua map on your garden to see which areas of your outdoor space correlate to which topics in life. Each bagua area links to certain areas of life, and each bagua segment is supported by different colours and elements.
Imagine your windows as picture frames and consider what special plants, trees, light features or even a bird feeder you might include within each frame.
For instance, the back left-hand corner of your garden is associated with abundance and wealth. Helpful colours in this area include red, blue and purple, so planting brightly coloured flowering plants in those shades would be ideal. If you have a deck or seating space in this sector of your garden bagua map, then opt for outdoor furniture in these colours.
The middle back section of your garden is associated with fame and reputation. It’s connected to the fire element, making this sector wonderful for your barbecue, an outdoor fire pit or bright lighting. The back right-hand corner represents love and marriage. Here you might plant pairs of long-lasting trees or plants, or create a seating area for two.
One special feature you can incorporate in the garden is a large stone feature, like a big rock. Heavy objects help anchor or ground energy and contribute to a “holding” influence that can help things last or stabilise. Heaton writes, “For example, you may find that having a big heavy rock in the garden in the area that represents career may help you to hold down a job and stop you from drifting around.” The same logic applies in all the bagua areas, Heaton says. “You can situate heavy objects wherever you need an anchoring, stabilising effect.”
Your practical bagua map
Wealth & Prosperity
Blue, purple & red
Fame & Reputation
Love & Marriage
Pinks, reds & white
Health & family
Blues & greens
Yellow, brown, orange, Earth tones
Creativity & Children
White & pastels
Knowledge & self-cultivation
Black, blues & greens
Black & dark tones
Helpful people & travel
White, greys & black
What to plant
A healthy garden is good feng shui and creates positive chi. As Gerry Heaton writes, “If you have an outdoor area that requires an energetic lift, plants may be the solution.” Periodically assess whether your plants are thriving or struggling. If they need more or less sunlight, relocate them to another area of the garden. Perhaps they are the wrong type of plant for your local climate. If so, opt for plants that will grow well in the conditions available in your garden. Plants that are native to your area may be ideal, but many ornamental and introduced plants can also grow well. If you’re not sure, take a walk through your local streets and see what plants grow well in other people’s gardens.
For the best garden feng shui, choose plants with lush, soft and rounded leaves, which represent money. Avoid plants with sharp spiky leaves or edges, especially near the entrance to your home. A spiky-type plant here or there would be fine; you just want to avoid having an entire garden full of prickly plants. If you want to enhance relationships, it might be best to avoid prickly plants in the back right-hand area of the garden, which is the love and relationships bagua sector. Instead, Heaton says, “Vines such as jasmine and passionfruit are good for the relationships area.” Plants with heart-shaped leaves are also wonderful in this sector.
Plants with an appealing fragrance are ideal near the front entrance to welcome in both people and opportunities.
Plants with an appealing fragrance are ideal near the front entrance to welcome in both people and opportunities. In addition, citrus plants like lemons, oranges and cumquats are considered positive, especially if you can flank your entrance with a pair of plants, even if they are in planters.
Fruit trees evoke abundance, so if you have room for a pair of fruit trees in your garden include them, especially in the wealth area. Further, as Weber writes, “Bulb flowers are considered good luck because they represent accumulated wealth, so plant narcissus and hyacinth flowers. Old trees are also highly regarded if they are healthy. Old, rotting trees bring very bad health and wealth luck to the house.”
Our older home came with an established garden, but sadly a number of the smaller trees were sickly or had died and simply took up garden space with their bare trunks. We spent much of the first six months digging out these dead trees to remove their negative chi. Your garden should be full of living things, so remove anything dead sooner rather than later.
Lifting the chi
A healthy, lush garden has a number of benefits and can improve the value of your home. More importantly, it can help you energetically by inviting affirming chi into your life. With a little care and attention, you can enhance your garden and outdoor space so it supports your dreams and helps you achieve your goals.
Feng shui your garden, fast
- Prune and cut back anything overgrown.
- Throw away debris like autumn leaves, dead branches and broken garden equipment.
- Choose plants with round- or heart-shaped leaves that thrive in your climate.
- Create a wavy pathway to the door.
- Plant or build a tall protective barrier at the back of the garden.
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