How to Apply Feng Shui in Your Garden

feng shui in the gardenIt is actually quite easy to improve feng shui in the garden by adding in simple decorative features, if you don’t have them already.

As applying the principles of feng shui can be complicated, we’ll give you a few basics regarding how to determine the eight crucial areas of your home and garden as well as simple tips to improve energy flow.

What is Feng Shui

Feng shui is an ancient combination of art and science developed in China over thousands of years that involves balancing the energy in a particular space in order to bestow good health and fortune over the inhabitants. The five primary elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. The elements are associated with colors, an aspect we’ll discuss in just a moment.

To truly feng shui a home properly, a bagua or energy map is needed to determine your home’s eight aspirational zones. If a floor plan of the home is available, the bagua map is easy to sketch yourself. Don’t fret if you don’t have a floor plan available, most feng shui consultants are practiced at sketching them if you don’t want to attempt it.

In addition to the floor plan, a compass (easily downloaded onto a smart phone) to determine the direction that your front door faces (an important feng shui starting point) as well as a full circle compass are also needed. Make sure that whatever compass used can read every two degrees or so. Building a bagua map is actually much easier than it sounds. Have a look at this video.

And, here are the eight zones with their corresponding compass reading, elements, colors and aspirations:

North (compass reading from 337.5 to 22.5)

Feng shui element: Water

Colors: Blue and black

Aspiration: Career and life path

Northeast (compass reading from 22.5 to 67.5)

Feng shui element: Earth

Colors: Beige, light yellow, and earth tones

Aspiration: Spiritual growth and knowledge

East (compass reading from 67.5 to 112.5)

Feng shui element: Wood

Colors: Brown and green

Aspiration: Family and health

Southeast (compass reading from 112.5 to 157.5)

Feng shui element: Wood

Colors: Brown and green

Aspiration: Wealth and prosperity

South (compass reading from 157.5 to 202.5)

Feng Shui element: Fire

Colors: Red, orange, purple, pink and bright yellow

Aspiration: Fame and acknowledgement

Southwest (compass reading from 202.5 to 247.5)

Feng shui element: Earth

Colors: Beige, light yellow, and earth tones

Aspiration: Relationships

West (compass reading from 247.5 to 292.5)

Feng shui element: Metal

Colors: White and gray

Aspiration: Children and creativity

Northwest (compass reading from 292.5 to 337.5)

Feng shui element: Metal

Colors: White and gray

Aspiration: Mentors, helpful people and travel.

I Have a Bagua Map, Now What?

Now that you have a bagua mapped into the above eight aspirations, you can balance the energy in each are to your advantage. However, understanding how the five elements play off each other is critical. Just like any friendship, relationships between the elements can get complicated but here are the basics, demonstrated perfectly in the illustration below.

Feng Shui elements

A destructive cycle that needs to be mitigated (shown by arrows in the center of the graphic above):

  • Earth muddies Water
  • Water puts out Fire
  • Fire melts Metal
  • Metal chops Wood
  • Wood depletes Earth

A beneficial cycle (shown by arrows on the outer circle of the graphic above):

  • Earth produces Metal
  • Metal contains Water
  • Water feeds Wood
  • Wood fuels Fire
  • Fire aids Earth

As you might imagine, combinations representing the destructive cycle attract negative energy while combinations representing a beneficial cycle enhance prosperity. For example, don’t put a barbecue right next to a fountain as Water puts out Fire. However, if there’s no choice the destructive cycle can be broken by placing a wooden structure (obviously corresponding to the Wood element) to mitigate negative energy.

Does the Bagua Map Also Apply to the Garden?

The answer is yes. The same bagua map can be used to improve feng shui in the garden and the home. However, balancing energy in the garden does not automatically improve feng shui inside the home–you’ll need to do both. Let’s dive deeper though into the eight aspirational areas of the year and ways to balance enegy

Improving Career and Life Paths

The northerly direction in the yard needs to be freed from clutter so be diligent about removing weeds and raking leaves, for example. Consider adding a water feature such as a fountain, as Water is the element this direction corresponds to. Experts suggest that it doesn’t really matter which direction the water is flowing, however, if you can manage to have it flow toward your house, that’s preferred.

Applying Feng Shui in the Garden

Keep the area free from too much shade or too many plants as to allow a little bit of sunlight in to keep the energy moving. The career aspiration is symbolized by a celestial black tortoise, so if you can integrate a small turtle statue or subtle drawing near the water feature, then all the better.

Enhancing Spiritual Growth and Knowledge

It’s incredibly important to cultivate energy in the northeasterly direction of the garden to keep your brain moving. Perhaps the area is too sunny or yang in energy, in which case a palm tree or shade structure should be brought in. Maybe it’s too dry and in need of lush plants in the Earth colors of red, orange and bright yellow (found in California native plants or even perennials). A pagoda sculpture is thought to attract good luck, which may be in order if an exam or tough project is on the horizon.

Blessings for Family and Health

Make the east facing portion of your garden correspond to the Wood element by planting bamboo or perhaps adding a gazebo or other wooden structure. Dragons are often placed in eastern portions of the home to counteract negative energy though its expression shouldn’t be too fierce.

Increase Wealth

In feng shui there’s a direct correlation between low energy in the southeasterly direction of the home and bank account balance. Remove any dead plants and rebalance the soil prior to replanting. Wealth corresponds to water so also try to incorporate a bird bath or other water feature in this section of the yard and keep it clean. Koi ponds are fantastic here, but make sure to have an even number of fish. Remove or mitigate any elements that correspond to Fire.

Become Famous

Fire is the element needed in the southerly direction of the yard. Place solar lighting, barbecues, heat lamps and red, pink, orange or bright yellow plants here. (Ideally, this oceanfront setting would have wood between the ocean and the fire pit.)

How to Apply Feng Shui in your backyard

Ignite Your Love Life

It’s important to keep walkways clear and rid the southwest space of clutter completely. Focus on nurturing the soil here (we have plenty of clay soil tips) and let more sunlight into the area if it’s shady. Fruit trees are especially beneficial additions here as they symbolize new growth and a fruitful relationship as do statues in pairs… such as a peaceful pair of people or animals. The element to focus on is Earth.

Children and Creativity

Not surprisingly, zen is particularly important in the westerly direction to focus children. Don’t store bikes and scooters here. Make sure things are calm and stable, like heavy rocks or a statue of Buddha. The area corresponds to the Metal so a gray rock garden or paver walkway would also be beneficial.

How to Apply Feng Shui in your Yard

Find Your Mentor

Welcome supportive people into your life by improving the northwest facing area of the yard which corresponds to Metal. Stone-like objects such as rocks (particularly if they reflect silver and gold) and concrete pavers are appropriate as statues of influential figures. The energy required moves deep within sort of like a bulb underground waiting to bloom. Add a bench to allow for time spent reflecting.

Feng Shui Ideas for your backyard

Your Turn…

How have you incorporated feng shui into your yard?

 Photo credits: koi, istockphoto/sooeyc; five elements, istockphoto/eskemar