Shui In the Garden
by: Abby Straus
is finally here, thanks be, and it’s time to
get outside and enjoy the sun and the greenery.
Whether you live in a tiny apartment or on a sprawling
estate, incorporating Feng Shui into your garden
can enliven your experience, helping you bring
a deeper level of joy and peace into your life.
Shui (pronounced as Fung shwayé) is the practice
of bringing our lives into harmonious relationship
with our surroundings. A great way to get started
is to create living spaces that reflect back to
you the qualities you would like to have in your
life. These spaces act as physical, living affirmations
of who you want to be and how you want to live.
garden is a wonderful place to do this, because
it represents a deep, instinctive connection to
the Earth and all of Nature. No matter how technological
our lives have become, a part of us still yearns
to be connected to the Source.
of you without a green thumb, don’t panic! There
are many kinds of gardens. There are Zen gardens
of stone and bamboo, water gardens (an aquarium
counts), patios with pots of plants, window boxes,
vegetable gardens, flower gardens... the list
goes on and on. The point is that there’s a
garden for everyone, the possibilities confined
only by the limits of your imagination.
kind of garden you choose, here are some basic
Feng Shui principles to get you started on the
right track this year:
one, the Prime Directive: Live with what you love.
Make a list of all the things you’d like to
have in your garden—not just the things you
know you can afford—everything! Now go back
and look over the list and see what qualities
these things represent. How do they speak to you?
How will these things elevate your existence?
Perhaps, in real life, you can’t have the fabulous,
eight-foot tall, hand carved statue of Kuan Yin
you saw the other day, but there’s surely a
way to incorporate the energy of the statue. Maybe
it’s the large scale, or the smoothness of the
stone coupled with the Goddess energy. Now, how
can you bring that into your own garden? Do you
live in an apartment and long for the ocean? Try
gathering some sea stones, sand and shells, and
arrange them around a fountain. If you have a
sunny window nearby, you can buy a beach rose
(rosa rugosa) and put it in a beautiful pot to
round out the scene.
Feng Shui, we use the five elements to represent
the different aspects of life. Wherever all five
occur simultaneously, there is a sense of completion,
unity and power. Try incorporating all the elements
into your garden:
Reflection, Introspection, Flow, Soul Purpose
Use: Water itself, glass, crystal, mirrors, dark
colors, asymmetrical shapes, northerly direction,
Creativity, Strength, Growth, Health & Family
Use: All plants and flowers (including dried and
silk), greens and blues, items made of wood, columnar
shapes, easterly direction, the dragon.
Inspiration, Joy, Emotion, Fame & Reputation,
Use: A fireplace, reds and red tones, lighting,
candles, images of animas, things made of animals
(bones, feathers, etc.), triangle, pyramid, cone,
southerly direction, the phoenix.
Center, Solidity, Receptivity, Nurturing Use:
Soil, brick, ceramics, tile, stucco, yellows and
earthtones, square and rectangular shapes, the
Communication, Heaven, Helpful People & Travel
Use: All metals, rock and stone, natural crystals,
white and pastels, arches, circles, ovals, westerly
direction, the tiger.
you can see, you have lots of choices and room
for creativity. Again, choose what you find pleasing.
Feng Shui, we understand that energy flows most
harmoniously around smooth and curving shapes.
Wherever possible, avoid sharp corners on walls,
flower beds, etc. Don’t worry if you’ve just
finished building neatly squared-off beds or walls.
You can cut the points off of the corners, or
place round pots of flowers where the points meet
your most frequent path of movement. Soft, flowing
greenery can be planted to mitigate pointiness
do you have the most time to enjoy your garden?
Is it early morning or in the evening after work?
If you have the most time after dark, why not
install some low voltage lighting and make a magical
night garden where you can relax with candles
and night-scented flowers? Do you enjoy traditional
gardening: weeding, pruning, deadheading flowers?
If you do, go for it. If not, be sure to use plants
that are low maintenance and choose perennials
over annuals. Perhaps you should consider ground
covers instead of a big lawn. The one big “NOé
in the garden is guilt. So create something that’s
compatible with your personality. Your garden
can and should be a sanctuary, a place to revitalize
your body, your mind and your spirit.
of the basic tenets of Feng Shui is that everything
is constantly changing. If you have a garden that
you see from inside your home, think about planning
it for winter as well as summer beauty. Many plants
are just as lovely without leaves as with them.
Statuary and sculpture change their look as the
backdrop of the garden changes, and evergreens
remind us that life still exists, even in deepest
February. Another thing to remember is that you
are constantly changing as well. What thrilled
you in your garden last year may not work at all
for you this spring. Go ahead, move things around,
trade plants with your friends, shake it up! You’re
growing, you’re moving forward. And every year
you have a fresh opportunity to see your beauty,
your strength and your magnificence reflected
back to you in your garden.
Straus, a teacher, author and consultant dedicated
to helping people enhance the quality and function
of their lives. She has an extensive background
in consciousness studies and meditation and is
a Feng Shui and energy work practitioner. She
lives in Pleasantville, NY. Visit her at http://www.gaialifeworks.com