Feng Shui in the Garden

By Holly

Serina and Zoli were discussing a customer’s landscape design wishes of incorporating Feng Shui. I overheard that they didn’t know much about Feng Shui and I was very excited to offer some tips. I enjoy practicing Feng Shui at home and was asked to share a few things with you! Here are the basics with application for your garden.

Basics: Feng Shui is a Chinese philosophy of the movement of energy in design. It can be intuitive; practicality is significant, and feeling is important. There are nine areas of your life arranged on what is called a Bagua Map. Each area corresponds with certain colors, elements, and shapes. The Bagua Map helps bring direction to the flow of energy in your life and if you use it accordingly, you may see areas of your life improve. Here is the map:

If this is completely new to you, the basics are probably as good as reading a foreign language—you don’t understand it.  That’s ok. We’re going to jump right in to application because practice is how you learn.

The first and most important step to enhancing your garden’s Feng Shui is to declutter! Do you know how often people come into the nursery trying make a hedge to block their neighbors unsightly disorganized hoarded crap? ALL THE TIME. Clutter not only affects the energy of your life, it affects those around you. Be a team player, declutter! What is clutter: weeds, leaf litter, grass that you haven’t mowed or weed wacked all month, anything over grown and ugly, rocks that have been swallowed by vegetation, spread out junk that you save because you “might use it someday” but you never really do and now it’s been sitting there for years, things that are broken, garbage, things with no purpose, things you don’t love—this is a kicker. Get rid of things you don’t need and make a distinction between need and want. If you’re a sentimental person, or you’re in denial of hoarding, or you just have unnecessary attachment to Stuff, have someone help you. Don’t touch your stuff. I repeat, don’t touch your stuff! Let someone else. When you hold your clutter, it triggers attachment, which we all experience in one way or another. You will not be triggered if someone else touches it and you’ll be able to make an unbiased logical decision of whether to keep something or throw it away. Here’s an area that’s on our agenda to clean up:

Next is organizing. Keep all your garden tools—shovels, rakes, hoes, etc. in one neat place. I also recommend cleaning your tools (this is Pono anyways) because it tracks dirt around and then you must sweep. Don’t leave your stuff around randomly in walkways for people to trip on, walk around, step over—this is a slip, trip and fall hazard and are the number one cause for accidents in the work place and at home. Safety is our number one concern! If you have empty pots, stack them neatly or bring them back to the nursery to reuse them! We love recycling! Everything has a place and being neat and organized takes discipline and self-motivation, but once you get into the habit of putting things where they belong instead of just leaving things out randomly (and lazily!)—you’ll misplace things significantly less and you’ll enjoy a more peaceful energetic existence. Here is Steve’s mastermind of organization that his crew diligently maintains:

Now that you’ve got the hard stuff done and you’re enjoying a clean tidy yard, do you feel how the energy has cleared? How it has gotten almost lighter or brighter? Just take time to notice this shift because it’s time for the fun stuff. We’re going to orient your Bagua map. There are two schools of thought on orientation. One school orients the map using cardinal directions. If you prefer a more structured approach to life or you’re a more indecisive person, use this orientation. The second school orients with your determined entrance. This allows for more personal flexibility, which I prefer and will use. Either orientation will work as your trying to enhance the Feng Shui of your garden, just believe.

Take your phone with a picture of the map, turn off the auto rotate; or I prefer to print one out. Hold your map with the career quadrant facing you. The Helpful People quadrant will be on your right, the Self-Knowledge on your left. Stand at the entrance to your garden—or where you want the entrance to be. The entrance could be out the back door from your house, it could be where you turn in off the street into your driveway, or you may decide you want multiple gardens on different sides of your house. It’s up to you. At the entrance, simply shift your map left or right to fit appropriately. Here is an example of Seascapes. I used our front gate entrance to orient, and then shifted the map to the right to fit the property. That places our entrance in the Self-Knowledge quadrant.

Here’s an awesome drone photo Steve put together of our nursery these days:

Now that we’re orientated, Feel where you should begin. It might feel like a magnet pulling you towards an area, or your eyes might be drawn strongly to one place. Check your map for what quadrant that is. Go hang out in that area and feel the present energy. Notice whether it feels heavy, empty, chaotic, scattered, airy, stagnant, it might even feel balanced, whatever you feel, there’s no wrong feeling. From here, we’re seeking to bring imbalanced things to balance. If there’s a lot of heavy energy, add something that moves, like wind chimes or flags. If you have a lot of chaotic energy add something heavy like a rock or a statue to ground that energy. Use your map with the particular quadrant as a guide for what to add to the area.

Example: We’ll use the Fame/Reputation quadrant. The colors to add to this area are reds, the element is fire and the shape is a triangle. Don’t add a water feature to this section of your garden. Water extinguishes fire and this will not enhance that area of your life (bad Feng Shui). This would be a good area for a raised fire pit. Or if you don’t care to sit around and roast S’mores like I do–wood feeds fire, add a wooden structure. This could be something as grand as a beautiful bamboo gazebo—but don’t just slap a gazebo in your yard. A lot of gazebos go unused and then they’re just an expensive lawn ornament. Make it a place you are proud of. This is the area that reflects how people know you, so what are you known for? Find a way to incorporate those things into this area. This was challenging for me because surfing is a big part of my life, but water elements don’t mix well here, and there’s more to who I am than just a surfer. There are other areas on the bagua that displaying your surfing mag shots will enhance that area of your life. Not here. Sorry. Something as simple as a wooden bench would also work. If you don’t want a bench or other lawn ornaments, plant red colored plants! Remember, we’re not going for adding things to this area willy nilly, recall the energy you felt in the beginning, and seek to balance it by adding the opposite energy appropriately. Be practical.

Another example using the Wealth/Prosperity quadrant. The colors that work well here are purples, reds, golds, and blues; the element is wood and the shape is rectangular. This is the best place for a moving water feature. Money is something that flows, symbolize with water. Stagnant water will bring stagnant energy. If you want a pond, be sure to balance the still water with fish and live plants (fish move).  Add colorful pots.

Here’s an example of something I did at the nursery. This side of the Paklan tree was always ugly.

I balanced the Ugly with some pretty plants and pots. I didn’t coordinate the pot colors because they sell fast (in fact they sold the next day).

I also put the pots where I did because when I drag the hose it always tips the table and chairs over (annoying) so the heavy pots serve as an anchor to pull the hose around without tipping over the table and chairs (practical).

There are so many things that can enhance the Feng Shui of your garden and this is just the tip of the ice berg. If you have further interest or other questions because your property or garden isn’t nicely rectangular (like most places) let us know in the comments or a message!

This blog was written by Seascapes employee, Holly.

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