Feng shui in the garden
By Angel Rutherford
Special to the Herald/Review
Published/Last Modified on Sunday, Jun 07, 2009 - 02:15:49 am MST
Garden feng shui is the most important part of feng shui, because it is here where the quality of our living space begins. We need to surround us with good feng shui.
What is the art feng shui? Feng shui is the science of being one with our environment and using manipulation of the energies that surround us to create harmony and balance. It is important to realize that without harmony in our outside surroundings our inside living space has no good chi. The first rule of good feng shui is to be in balance with our native landscape, its mountains, vegetation, waters, wind and energies.
Feng shui is deeply embedded in the ancient history of China and was then only accessible to the ruling elite. Now this practice is available to everyone and has crossed the great waters to the New World.
The philosophy of feng shui is based on the trinity of luck that influences the quality of a person’s life. This is tien ti ren, the luck from heaven, the luck from the earth and the luck that we create for ourselves. Heavens luck, or karma, is your destiny and cannot be manipulated. Luck from the earth is feng shui. If we can live in harmony and balance with our environment we will be rewarded with good fortune. Human luck is in what we create in the opportunities that come our way and bring us best results.
Then there is yin and yang. Yin is the dark and passive, the female energy. Yang is the light and active, the male energy. Yin and yang are the eternal union of heaven and earth, whose breath is chi. In feng shui a balance of yin and yang is optimal, as to be unbalanced is bad chi, or killing breath. Yin and Yang are never steady as they interact. They change like the seasons — the sun rises and the moon goes down, day becomes night, winter follows summer — a never ending cycle.
In the practice of feng shui, balance between yin and yang is achieved by making sure that no part of the garden is too yin or too yang. For example, a front yard consisting mostly of gravel is too much yin and considered bad feng shui. A front yard where the earth is contoured and filled with native plants and rocks and gravel, yin and yang are in balance and is considered good feng shui.
Important are the four celestial animals, the green dragon brings prosperity, the white tiger gives protection, the black turtle provides support and the crimson phoenix presents opportunity. When the land is contoured, it suggests the presence of these celestial animals and this is considered good feng shui. Land that is totally flat is unbalanced and has no life-giving energy and has no good feng shui.
When planning the layout, the garden on the left side of the house should always be higher, as this symbolizes the dragon and can be achieved with structures, like arbors or walls. The right side of the garden, where the tiger resides should be lower, because the dragon should always dominate the tiger.
The backyard should be always slightly higher than the front yard. That symbolizes the turtle. Having the hill, or turtle in front of the house will overwhelm you. The balance can be achieved with just having a wall around your backyard. It also is a good idea to grow lush bushy plants with red flowers, the phoenix, on the left-hand side of the tiger. That will bring prosperity.
In feng shui poisonous arrows, anything sharp or pointed — like straight roads, a tall tree trunk — has to be softened or diffused. A straight driveway or path to your house needs to be disguised and softened with plants. Trees with bare trunks, like palm trees, are bad feng shui and need to be softened with bushy plants. Avoid trees with thorns. Fruit trees are wonderful choices because they bring life to the garden.
The dragon’s breath is chi. Chi is the source of peace and wealth, honor and good health. Good chi is sheng chi. Sheng chi travels slowly and strong winds hurt it. Winds need to be slowed down with wind breaks. Water in the garden is important if you want to create good feng shui. Small fish ponds, fountains and bird baths are wonderful to bring sheng chi to your garden. Water should never be allowed to stagnate and get polluted and become shar chi, the killing breath. Shar chi travels in straight lines. A path should always be winding, never straight.
There’s of course much more to the art of feng shui that I can get into, the principles are interesting and make sense.