Feng Shui originated from China over 3,000 years ago, it suggests that human life is connected and flows with our environment through our senses. It is the practice of arranging elements of your living space to promote balance and harmony. Feng Shui facilitates the flow of energy, or chi, in your home to bring you good health and prosperity. The flow of energy starts from the outside of your home and flows inward, which makes landscaping feng shui key to improving the flow of energy between your social life, career, relationships and family.
There are 5 elements of Feng Shui:
- Wood – Growth & Creativity
- Earth – Stability & Balance
- Metal – Logic & Intelligence
- Water – Wisdom & Serenity
- Fire – Passion & Energy
These elements tie into specific colors and cardinal directions to move positive energy though various aspects of one’s life.
This element is the simplest to attain in your landscaping. Where there are trees and other plants, you have the element of wood. The qualities of wood are said to add health, vitality and strength to your life. Use trees in your landscaping as a natural barrier for your protection and privacy to reduce noise and air pollution. Large trees like ginkgo trees are considered a symbol of peace and hope in feng shui.
Wood should ideally be located in the East and Southeast portions of your landscape. In the east it’s suggested that wood improves health, longevity, and vitality with green and brown plants. In the southeast, green plants, in feng shui tradition, are used to channel energy towards prosperity.
The earth element is best represented by rocks, boulders, soil and pottery. You can use the element of earth by including stone steps in your landscaping, adding stone or clay sculptures, or creating rock tiers for your plant beds. You may even think about adding a zen garden to relieve stress from your life. Check out our previous article on zen gardens.
Consider placing more yellow earth elements, like sunflowers, black-eyed susan’s or yellow pottery in the Southwest corner of your landscaping to channel energy towards foundation and grounding in your relationships and love life. Yellow or brown elements in the Northwest are said to move energy towards improving your knowledge and educational growth. Golden Rain trees, yellow flowering roses and Golden St. John’s worts are other plants to keep in mind to add a little yellow brightness in your landscape.
Metal can be best represented in landscaping through the use of seating areas, light fixtures, sculptures and even wind chimes. You can also utilize the element of metal through its shape and color. Metal is represented visually through objects that are white, gold and silver, and spherical or circular in shape. Adapt metal through white flowers such as white day-lilies to symbolize finding happiness and gratitude, or irises to symbolize wisdom and valor.
When the element of metal is placed in the West region of your landscape, it is suggested that energy moves through the creative parts of your life and said to also improve relationships with your children. Metal can also be placed in the Northwest region of your landscape. It’s thought that it will bring you travel luck, along with helpful and supportive people in your life. You may also consider plants like flowering pear trees, moon flowers and white flowering creeping phlox to symbolize metal through its color.
Water is well recognized in Chinese culture for its incredible healing qualities. Moving water symbolizes a constant flow of positive healing energy as it replicates the flow of chi. Excellent uses of water in landscaping include water fountains and waterfalls. The option of adding physical water to your landscape can be costly but rewarding as it increases the value of your home and adds personal benefits like relaxation and calmness. The element of water can also be incorporated through the use of mirrors and other reflective objects like sculptures or in your outdoor dining area.
Placing the element of water in the northern region of your landscape is said to bring great career luck and life purpose. Water is best represented through cool colors, like blue, purple and black, so consider flowers like cornflower, lavender, hydrangea or salvia, or unique plants like blue avena and little bluestem grass.
The fire element is a fun component to add to any landscape. Use fire pits, fire tables, grills and even candles or tiki torches to add an element of vibrant energy to your home. Fire is said to be crucial for a lively social life, so it’s understandable why fire pits and fireplaces are often an area for gathering.
When you place red, orange, and pink fire elements in the southern region of your landscape, feng shui suggests that energy will flow towards improving recognition and fame in your social life. Consider vibrant flowers like roses and peonies for romance and beauty, or orange blossoms to symbolize grace and simplicity. Trees and shrubs, like quince trees, bloom beautiful red flowers that suggest good health, prosperity in business and a lucky new year. You can also make for a fiery visual using cardinal plants, zinnias and bee balms.
There are many other equally important aspects of feng shui to think about when improving the flow of energy in your home and landscaping. Consider these five elements in your front or backyard the next time you are looking to feel balanced and harmonized. Check out our residential landscaping design and construction services to see what we can do to make your feng shui landscaping dreams come true.