FENG SHUI (3): THE GARDEN AS A SOURCE OF ENERGY
Many modern gardens are perfectly designed but somehow lack soul. A few simple Feng Shui measures can breathe new life into them. The principles of the ancient Chinese teachings are applicable everywhere, including the outside area of a house. A garden laid out according to Feng Shui can be inspiring and protective and is an oasis of strength and calm. The harmony of Yin and Yang – the Asian philosophy of the balance of opposite poles in life – for example light and shadow, makes a big difference. Both energy qualities should be present in sufficient amounts.
Activate all the senses
A proper Feng-Shui garden is a garden for the senses. It seduces with areas of light and shadow, places of rest and play and many shades of green and colourful blossoms. Stone figures or rose balls underline its beauty. It smells of flowers, fruits and kitchen herbs. The trickling of a fountain, the rustling of leaves, the melody of chimes fills the air and a whole array of materials cry out to be touched: stone, bark, gravel, clay, ceramics and glass. Clear forms are important because an overgrown garden gives off disquiet and insecurity. Local plants provide for a good atmosphere. Windmills and spirals encourage the flow of energy and in very dark zones solar lamps can be used.
The best location of a house is known as the ‘armchair position’ (see Ibicasa October/07). This can also be applied to the individual parts of the garden. Whether it’s the terrace, balcony or green space, places that appeal to taking a rest need protection from behind: a wall, trees or bushes. The view to the front should be free and comfortable seats should always have armrests.
The front garden is an important part of the garden because it’s the calling card for the house. It embraces and releases guests and should look the part. A wide, winding path should lead to the house and be well lit at night.
Protruding bushes and trees shouldn’t be here, they are just a hindrance. The same applies to trees that stand too near to the house. A very high, impenetrable hedge can isolate the inhabitants, permeable plants and fences are best.
Applying Bagua to the Garden
An important tool in Feng Shui is the nine squared Bagua grid (see Ibicasa August/07). The nine zones stand for the most important areas in life and count as a mirror of one’s personal situation. They can be accentuated by specific directed measures, even in the garden. Thus the ‘family’ area is the ideal place for a table or barbecue where everyone can meet, eat and talk. The ‘wisdom’ corner is all about capacities and intuition. You can hear your inner voice better in a quiet place. This is also the perfect spot to relax or meditate, by a pond or stone garden for example. The zone ‘children’ is ideal for a paddling pool or sandbox, if you have children. It also stands for children in the wider sense of the word; for our ideas and projects. Homemade pots and sculptures can work well here, or a well-cared for vegetable garden.
More Life for Balcony and Terrace
The balcony and terrace are an extension of the living quarters and should be arranged comfortably and alive – with luscious green plants, cosy furniture and objects made out of terracotta, wood or bamboo. Too much shade, but also too much sun and heat make these places uncomfortable. The hidden soul of a shady balcony comes out if it is arranged in a loving, open and colourful way. Candles, lanterns and torches can give it more fire.
The charisma of a balcony always affects the interior of a flat. You should arrange it so that it is a nice sight regardless of the time of year, even when you can’t use it. An unused balcony can have a negative affect because part of its potential is left barren. It doesn’t matter how small or unattractive the balcony may be, there are always possibilities for a loving design. A few stones from the river with a plant, a small tree trunk to sit in, a bird house – with a few means joy and life can move onto your balcony.