Is it a good idea to introduce Feng Schui to your garden? What is all the fuss about?  Does it work?  Probably yes if it creates a deep sense of peace and harmony in your outdoor haven. But no it doesn’t mean that you need to dig up your herbaceous borders, turn your lawn into a lake and invest in large strategically placed Buddha ornaments.

The purpose of Feng Shui  is to create an harmonious flow of energies that will have a positive effect on everything in your life. Feng Shui is all about how you relate to the place you are in; how you can live harmoniously with the energy of your surrounding environment.  In a nutshell, Feng Shui is the method of arranging our environment to be as beneficial to us as possible. 

It is thought that cosmic energy, called Ch’i, moves around us all the time. Once we understand how this energy moves we can use Feng Shui to maximise its flow for best effect in our lives. The energy in a garden should be free to flow in all directions. If the energy flows well, this should have a positive influence on your physical and emotional well being.

The key principles of Feng Shui in the garden are to have plenty of curves and nothing too large or too small. All components of your garden should be in proportion. Your garden should be well balanced. Plenty of sunlight and shade, dark and light colours, coarse and delicate textures, dense vegetation and open spaces as well as vertical and horizontal lines, squared off corners and curves and still and moving water. Create curved pathways large enough for two people to walk side by side. Soften the lines of straight paths with a curved iron gate, plantings along the sides, or plants in containers.

The garden should appeal to all of your senses, but interestingly the visual appeal is the least important. If the garden is attractive to all your other senses, then the chances are very high that you will also find it visually pleasing. 

Scent is extremely important and you are advised to fill your garden with as many smells as possible. Your garden should also be tactile. Create areas where the wind will breeze through leaves; other areas where you will feel slightly cooler or if possible, patches that will bask in direct sunlight. Texture is paramount, not only through your plants but also through the other materials you use in the garden such as gravel, stepping stones or grass. Also remember sound. Attract singing birds with bird houses and feeders; consider different path materials and mulches which will crunch underfoot.

The correct way to set out a Feng Shui garden is to use a device called the Bagua. The Bagua is constructed by using a compass and a grid in order to map your house or garden into the areas that represent all the elements of your life.  Your Bagua can be as simple or complicated as you like. By using the principles of the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water), plants and objects can be placed in the relevant areas of your garden that are thought to compliment those areas of your life.

Each section of the Bagua has an associated element. For instance the career section is associated with the element of water. In addition, each element has a supporting and an inhibiting element. So water is supported by metal because molten metal flows like water, but it is inhibited by earth as the earth creates boundaries for water. You are encouraged to select objects to place in your garden suited to the elements. So simplistically, if you felt your career was in need of a boost it would be considered beneficial to place a bird bath and perhaps metal wind chimes in the area of your garden that relates to your career. The bird bath reflects the water element and the wind chimes reflect the metal element.

Most people find that once they have mapped out their garden using the Bagua, there are objects out of place. For instance you may discover that your wooden shed is in your knowledge area. Typically wood in this area is inhibiting and ideally you should have objects or plants that reflect the earth element.  It is unlikely that you would feel inclined to move your shed – but do not fear, there are nevertheless steps you can take to diminish the effect of the wood element and increase the effects of the earth element! Consider painting your shed a bright fire-like colour or if that is not to your taste plant some bright fiery plants around the shed such as the exotic Canna Lilies.