In the Spring, so many green thumbs emerge from their Winter hibernation to revitalize by digging in the dirt. I am one of them! Just like every other part of my home, I take my Feng Shui knowledge with me when I venture outdoors to commune with the plants.
My entire adult life has included some form of this annual garden ritual. Until recently I always lived in a climate where the weather prevented outdoor gardening half of the year.
This made the time that could be spent outside oh so sweet. All of us gardeners get energized over and over again because a garden holds an abundance of Nature Ch’i.
Feng Shui in the Garden
I’ve been practicing Feng Shui since 2001 and incorporating its principles into my horticultural efforts has been extremely helpful and rewarding. From large scale landscape projects to choosing a plant to put by the front door, Feng Shui helps me make so many decisions.
Like most gardeners, I love to take a walk with friends and share the creative expression that is my garden. In our case, there is an additional perspective to highlight. Let me take you on a tour of Feng Shui Garden in Maine (in the Northeast United States).
As we go, I’ll explain a few basic ways Feng Shui principles can be incorporated into any garden plan. Then you can start to use Feng Shui in the garden.
A Feng Shui Garden Has Good Energy
In Feng Shui, Everything has Energy, and that includes the plants, dirt, shrubs, trees, rocks, garden ornaments and other elements we have in our gardens.
Acknowledging and paying attention to the energy in all of the things around us can change our perspective. We begin to identify a variety of energies in the things we encounter. Some of these energies improve our lives (a bush in full bloom) while others do not (a dead, rotten tree).
Live With What You Love is a Supporting Principle #1 in Feng Shui. When we react to the vital Ch’i energy in something and “love” it, we are getting feedback that the item is providing auspicious, supportive Ch’i to us. This is the primary objective in Feng Shui, to build and receive the right amount of Ch’i for our own individual needs.
Translating this concept to the garden, I only use plants and garden embellishments I love. If the dirt isn’t fortified enough to serve my plantings, it gets replaced. In this garden the soil in over half of the beds was dug up and replaced.
My days of fighting gravelly, undernourished ground – and the depleting Ch’i energy it contains – are over. Dead, dying or struggling plants are telling you that the level of Ch’i they need to thrive isn’t available. Improve the situation or get rid of the plant as good Ch’i energy is always the goal of any Feng Shui Garden.
A Feng Shui Garden Has Smooth Ch’i Flow
We call our house The Cove. As you can see, it has a small front yard. These were the existing beds when we bought the place and the gentle, balanced Ch’i flow they create really appeals to me.
My front yard has many tall, straight established oak trees. Introducing a curved bed visually compensates for this feature. It also leads both the eye and the Ch’i nicely around the vegetation.
Yin/Yang principle in Feng Shui advises us to stay in balance by adding the opposite, hence the subtle low curves of the beds contrast nicely with the high, vertical trees.
Introducing various heights of plants moderates energy flow as well, allowing Ch’i to dance from one plant to the other.
I use a variety of shapes and sizes of plants to direct the Ch’i. The larger Oriental Dogwood tree is placed beautifully to keep energy moving around the garden rather than tumbling down the incline behind.
A Feng Shui Garden Is Connected
Feng Shui Foundation Principle #2 teaches us Everything is Connected by vital Ch’i.
My front door is connected to the driveway and garden by the cobblestone walkway. I love this feature as well as the porch and consider them both as part of my garden design.
These features are connected to the garden by a small path that is defined with a stepping stone. I also flank this passage with special plants and statuary. Two other paths lead visitors from the garden to other parts of my yard, directing Ch’i to all parts of my property.
Another way to stay connected in the garden is to exchange plants with family and friends. I’ve purchased only about 15% of the material in my garden from a nursery.
My Mom lives close by and is an avid gardener. The first year gardening in this home I planted two full pickup trucks worth of plants from her gardens. She was thrilled to have someone to share her beloved plantings with after doing some much needed dividing.
Over the years every one of my gardens has had plants from other people’s gardens. The Ch’i in these plants feels so good. It’s also a bonus to know that they are acclimated to the local climate.
The personal good feelings that these plants conjure connect us even more. A friend who has developed the same garden since the 1980s still has plantings I’d given her from four different gardens of mine. When we walk around and see what’s blooming, it’s such great fun to be reminded of where the various treasures came from.
If you don’t have any gardening friends, think about developing a few. In the meantime, visit plant sales of local garden clubs or nature centers. In the United States, your county’s Cooperative Extension office may have an annual sale or even an occasional free give away.
I’ve been known to walk over to a neighbor who is out in their garden and strike up a conversation. Many offer to share their excess plants, and I always reciprocate. The garden can connect us over and over.
A Feng Shui Garden is Always Changing
Everything is Always Changing is Feng Shui Foundation Principle #3.
One thing I have never been shy about is digging up plants and moving them. If the Ch’i of the dirt, moisture or other factors doesn’t support a particular plant, I look for a place that will.
If I’m wanting to direct Ch’i in a different fashion or don’t care for the visual appearance of a grouping of plants, I’ll change the situation to something that feels better to me.
Principle #3 also encourages us to Express Ourselves. The first year in this garden over half of the established plants were dug up and rearranged. The resulting reinterpretation of this space then became much more of an expression of my energy.
The garden is nothing but change. There are no two days when it looks the same. As gardeners we embrace that as not only fun, but the lessons and wisdom of Nature itself.
A Feng Shui Garden Has Energy Boosts
Plants and Living Things are one of the ten Feng Shui Energy Boosts. Since there is such an abundance of this single category, I introduce a number of the other nine options to my garden to add variety, direct Ch’, express myself and live with what I love.
Here are just a few of the Feng Shui Energy Boosts I utilize. For selected items I’ve included links for purchase should you want to incorporate any into your Feng Shui Garden. Please be aware that I may receive a small stipend for sales from these links. You can check out my disclosure below.
Feng Shui Energy Boost #3: Water Features
Water features such as a fountain, small pond or bird bath attract both Ch’i and wildlife into the garden. I love birds, and adding a bird bath is essential. It must be kept clean and replenished often.
Since this is a seasonal garden, the birdbath allows for easy storage in the colder months. When deciding on a water feature, consider what type of maintenance you’re willing to do for some of the other options as only a clean, full fountain has good Feng Shui.
Feng Shui Energy Boost #5: Art
This is an easy one for me, and one I have to be a bit cautious doesn’t get overdone. My Buddha statue rests at the entrance to the front walk along with two glass gazing balls. Their mystical presence sets the tone for everyone who approaches.
There are a variety of other sculpture as well. The New Zealand Koru gifted to me by family draws people further down the front path. Whimsical woodland creatures dot different corners of plant arrangements, greeting and delighting us as we go.
Birdhouses and bird feeders have always attracted my attention. For many years I’ve displayed a variety of structures both indoors and out. A feature piece that I brought from my last house is the copper topped bird feeder. It’s height lifts Ch’i in an area that requires lower growing vegetation under a large oak.
Another favorite is the hand painted birdhouse by a dear friend. We were members in an artisans cooperative many years ago and, sadly, she no longer creates these beauties. There are a lot of wonderful bird houses out there, and this is just one in my collection.
Feng Shui Energy Boost #4: Items from Nature
As mentioned, in Feng Shui everything holds its own individual energy. Since plants are the predominant natural item in a garden, add other natural materials and items from nature.
A large boulder near my bird feeder gives a fine backdrop for low lying varieties. The walkway is constructed of stones as is the front porch and column bases. I also like to add crystal specimens, shells, driftwood and other found items.
Feng Shui Energy Boost #8: Sound Makers
There’s always at least one wind chime somewhere in my Feng Shui Garden. They can mark a passageway or move energy from one spot to another. Care has to be given to materials and construction as only the most durable can be used season after season.
My Maine Buoy Bell is not only beautiful but always let’s me know when the weather is changing. It is so heavy and well made that it only rings when the wind really starts blowing.
Feng Shui Energy Boost #9: Wind Dancers
Wind dancers activate and move Ch’i in the garden. My whirligig raises the eye as well as the Ch’i. Made of metal, it has been part of my winter landscape as well. The beautiful movements as well as appearance act as a focal point when the dormant Earth’s offerings are limited.
I’ve had this whirligig for almost 20 years, and the store where it was purchased has long been closed. Many new versions are available, however, and I find this Bronze Flower Wind Spinner particularly appealing.
Other times I’ve added Wind Dancers like flags and banners to liven up a quiet corner or to lift Ch’i when the land has sloped away from my home.
Are you motivated to get out in the dirt and have a good time? Which Feng Shui tip will you apply first, and how will you develop your Feng Shui Garden?
Does time, space or other circumstances dictate that your garden is based in pots on a balcony or patio? If so, any of these Feng Shui tips will apply to your situation as well. It’s your interchange with the Nature Ch’i that is important, not the size of the garden.
It’s likely that you have already instinctively incorporated some of these ideas into your efforts. Now you can more deliberately and strategically apply the beauty and wisdom of Feng Shui to your garden.
As all gardeners know, sharing their creation with others is part of the fun. Please share your Feng Shui Garden with all of us. Contact me with a photo and description. Once I’ve heard from a group of you I’ll share your accomplishments and the bounty of auspicious Ch’i you’ve created.
Disclosure: Please be aware that when you buy an item from links in this content, I may receive an affiliate commission. Whether or not I receive compensation, items mentioned are products I personally find useful and recommend whether I am compensated or not. Thank you for supporting The Feng Shui Studio.