Whether you’re designing a new garden or you want to reorganize your outdoor space, using the principles of feng shui can increase your sense of peace and well-being. After all, this ancient practice balances energy and improves harmony throughout all types of spaces. Discover how to apply feng shui principles to your garden to create a balanced, peaceful space.
Use the Bagua as a Roadmap
To create a layout for your garden, you’ll want to reference the bagua, an ancient Chinese energy map. This map can show you how your garden links to key areas of your life. Using it as a template for your garden can improve your health and happiness when you’re spending time in this space.
You’ll need to choose either the traditional or the Western bagua to guide you. The traditional, or classical bagua, is based on compass points. You effectively divide your garden into eight zones, or pie pieces, that meet in the center. The Western, or BTB, bagua doesn’t require a compass. Instead, you divide your garden into nine equally sized squares that represent the eight zones from the classical bagua, plus a yin-yang zone that balances the others.
No matter which bagua you choose, you’ll include eight main zones:
- Northwest: As the entrance zone, this area centers on greeting guests and making connections. Make neutral colors such as white and gray the primary focal points. Keep this area airy and open.
- West: As the creativity or family zone, this area can reflect imagination or children. Infuse metallic tones such as gold and silver into the top points of focus. Create a space where you can feel inspired or relaxed, such as an area to contemplate or practice yoga.
- Southwest: As the relationship zone, this area revolves around love. Position colors such as red and pink as the areas of focus. Shape intimate spaces for spending time together, such as a table and chairs or a porch swing.
- South: As the fame zone, this area puts attracting attention as a priority. Turn bright colors such as red and orange into the primary focal points. Include features that family and friends can gather around, such as a fire pit.
- Southeast: As the financial zone, this area emphasizes creating abundance. Imbue rich colors such as purple and gold into the main areas of attention. Consider including classic Chinese symbols of luck, such as turtles and frogs.
- East: As the health zone, this area serves to encourage longevity. Bring natural colors such as brown and green into the spotlight. Along with lush greenery, you can include boldly colored flowers to balance out the area.
- Northeast: As the spiritual zone, this area concerns wisdom. Introduce earthy colors such as brown and yellow as the main elements. Include an area for meditation or contemplation, such as a bench or a Zen rock garden.
- North: As the career zone, this area covers success. Use dark colors such as blue and black as the dominant hues. Include a water feature, such as a fountain or a birdbath.
Incorporate the Five Key Elements
Whether you use the traditional or the Western bagua to create a map for your garden, you’ll want to make sure you’ve worked the five key elements into your plan. After all, including only green plants or beautiful flowers may look nice, but this strategy won’t align energy effectively. Use the following ideas as inspiration for including the five elements:
- Earth: Feature soil, rocks, gravel, or clay vessels.
- Fire: Add lights, glowing lanterns, a fire pit, or a grilling area.
- Metal: Include metal plant stands or wind chimes.
- Water: Install a fountain, pond, or birdbath.
- Wood: Place benches, tables, or a trellis in the garden.
As you add the five elements into your garden, be sure to use the bagua above. Following your map ensures that you’ll create peaks and valleys that allow energy to flow without obstruction.
Add Pathways and Doorways
No matter how sprawling or small your garden is, you’ll want to add pathways and doorways where appropriate. Installing these elements in your garden does more than merely help you and your guests navigate the space. Creating doorways and placing pathways also allows the chi, or energy, to flow through your garden, balancing that flow throughout.
To ensure that your garden is as peaceful as possible, avoid hard edges, sharp turns, and square corners, as they can trap the chi and compromise the flow of energy. You’ll also want to avoid clear pathways through the garden, as this layout can encourage the chi to flow through your space too quickly.
Instead, use rounded doorways or moon gates as entrances and exits for your garden. Use your choice of pavers to create pathways that meander from one part of the bagua to the next for an interconnected space. Be sure to use pavers of the right color and material for the area to balance energy effectively.
As you design and use your garden, always strive to keep it free from clutter. Feng shui principles indicate that every element in your garden should have a place and a purpose. Extraneous elements can cause distraction and confusion, which will prevent you from enjoying the peace or harmony of your space.
In addition, unnecessary components may block the flow of energy through your garden. If the chi can’t flow through the space without obstruction, your garden may never become the balanced, restorative space you intended.
To keep your garden free from clutter, following the bagua to determine the appropriate placement for each element is a smart place to start. As your garden evolves, grows, and weathers the seasons, continue to keep it free from disorder. Remove fallen leaves and twigs right away and prune trees and shrubs regularly to maintain a sense of order and harmony in your garden throughout the year.
Incorporating feng shui principles into your garden requires careful planning, but it’s bound to be rewarding. Keep the tips above in mind as you design your garden and look forward to an outdoor space that embraces balance, harmony, and well-being.