With the arrival of warm weather, Canadians turn their gaze outward to focus on their gardens and outdoor rooms. If you’re creating a new garden or simply sprucing up the one you have, consider enhancing its energy by applying some ancient feng shui principles in your outdoor space.
The 5,000-year-old Chinese practice of feng shui is an esoteric system, designed to help people live long and prosper by harmonizing the flow of energy in their environments. And that flow applies as much to gardens as it does to the interior of a building. Here the balance of yin and yang elements is key, as it is indoors. Yang energy is active and outward-seeking and associated with the sun. By contrast, yin energy is considered feminine, associated with the moon and impelling an inward focus and a sense of calm and balance.
Consider flowers, a mainstay in most gardens. Their graceful presence uplifts our spirits and adds warmth to the landscape and our homes. In tropical climates, which are considered to be yang because of the heat, lush flowers bloom year-round. So water elements (fountains, ponds) are de rigueur to cool things down. In northern regions, which are considered yin because of a lack of sunlight and the presence of snow, flowers in bright colours are a welcome reprieve from all the grey and white.
Feng shui regards the energy of flowers as yin (wood). Their colours, however, can be yang (red, orange, fuchsia, bright yellow) or yin (blue, purple, green). Shrubs, such as boxwood and cedar, and plants, such as hos- tas, are yin energy, whereas flowering shrubs such as hibiscus can be a mixture of both yin and yang, depending on the colour of their flowers.
The key to having a successful feng shui garden is to ensure that its elements are balanced between yin (quiet areas, green space, vegetable garden) and yang (seating areas, firepits, koi ponds). Planting the right elements in the right direction or sector is also key.
Do cultivate flowers that attract bees, birds and butterflies to contribute to the well-being of the planet.
When planning your feng shui garden, you will need to follow the traditional compass-school Ba Gua. This is a map of the directions and their corresponding elements to help determine what you can plant and where.
By using the five elements of feng shui (wood, fire, earth, metal and water) you can strengthen or increase each sector of your backyard to achieve certain results.
For example, should you want to attract a partner or receive a marriage proposal, you would look to the southwest sector of your garden, which corresponds to love and marriage. The corresponding element is earth and the enhancing element is fire. Here, you could add brightly coloured flowers in pots to activate the energy of love. Red, orange and fuchsia (all fire colours) work best here, as do peonies. The peony, highly revered in Asian cultures, is believed to attract favourable male suitors to a family’s single daughter. Once the flowers have grown, do shake the ants out of them and place a vase of two peonies in the southwest area of your living room to amplify the love and marriage energy.
If you’re seeking enlightenment or spiritual guidance, you could place a statue of the Buddha or Kuan Yin made of stone or sand in the northeast sector (knowledge). Since the northeast is also referred to as the spiritual sector, adding a statue of a religious figure here or an altar will boost that energy.
Should you desire a water feature in your garden, the ideal locations are in the southeast (prosperity), the east (family) or the north (career) sectors.
Firepits are best placed in the south (fame and fire elements). Although the southwest (earth) and northeast (earth) can also be in-creased by fire, flames are generally short-lived, so putting a fire-pit in those two sectors may result in short spurts in your results, which would not be beneficial for love or knowledge.
A Zen garden, which is mainly made of sand (earth energy), would be best placed in the northeast (earth), west (metal) or northwest (metal) as they are all strengthened or increased by earth. Also, these sectors have a more yin energy, which is required for meditation and self-reflection.
Brightly coloured flowers work well in the south (fire) as they represent the wood element, combined with fire (bright colours). A vegetable garden, however, is predominantly green (wood), so it would be suitable for the east, southeast and south sectors.
Yellow flowers work well in the southwest (earth), west (metal) and northwest (metal) sectors, as long as they are in ceramic pots (earth energy). Flowers that are violet or blue work best in the north (water), east (wood) or southeast (wood).
A play area for children would be good in the west (children and creativity) and an entertaining area would be best in the east (family). However, you could also use the south (the fame sector of the Ba Gua) for entertaining but would need to adjust for the temperature depending on where you live.
Wind chimes are a popular garden staple, but be careful where you hang them. Ideally you would have a six-rod metallic wind chime in the north to activate the career sector, or in the northwest to activate travel and timely help. If you are using a six-rod bamboo wind chime, hang it in the southeast (for prosperity) or the south (for fame).
Using appropriate furniture in the specific sectors is also favorable. A wood table and chairs would work best in the east (wood), southeast (wood) and south (fire) sectors, whereas metal furniture would work best in the west (metal), northwest (metal) and north (water) sectors. Cushion colours should also be adjusted according to the sector they are in.
Creating a feng shui garden by using the five elements can bring you great joy, enhance your surroundings, offer a wonderful landing spot for hummingbirds and bees and create good energy for both you and the planet. Doesn’t that sound good? •