Thursday, August 27, 2009

Feng Shui in the Backyard

In Chinese gardens feng shui is an underlying factor throughout many Chinese gardens. Why not use some of these same principles and a feng shui water fountain in your own back yard?

Feng shui, meaning wind-water, is an ancient Oriental wisdom which aims to create a sense of well-being. The belief is that when a person feels well, secure and confident, energy is freed to achieve at higher levels and this can lead to better relationships and greater business success.

As with wind or water flow, subtle energies can be blocked or become turbulent depending on what they are flowing over. The purpose of feng shui is to release energy blockages and enhance energy flow. This energy can fall or disperse, pool or settle on the earth, on people or on the atmosphere. All three affect the landscape. The essence of enhancing feng shui is to balance the Yin and Yang in the garden so that the life force energy is encouraged to flow in a lazy meandering fashion and to accumulate.

The design of a garden should not be flat and lifeless or a basic rectangular shape where every part can be seen immediately upon entering the garden. If it is rectangular, try to introduce curving paths and plant so that the eye is led into the middle distance. Don't reveal the whole garden. Perhaps try a curving path leading behind a screen of plants to achieve this. Paths and edging are important elements in the garden. Try to visualize these as though they were streams and see where their natural flow leads. Garden edging performs a similar function as curved paths in conducting chi or energy. Good definition is important, so ensure plants or loose earth do not cover it.

Water is at the heart of feng-shui. Water is a carrier of chi, therefore where water accumulates, so chi accumulates, where water flows freely so too does chi. However, if water stagnates, so too does the chi. Flowing water is much more powerful a collector of chi. A curving stream, perhaps fed by a water fountain, is an ideal addition to a garden. Even a small backyard will benefit from a little electric pump-fed fountain. Remember that stagnant water causes stagnant chi, so you must be sure to maintain the quality of water not only in ponds and water fountains, but even in ordinary household drains. Don't allow drains to block and make sure they flow steadily.

Like the rest of feng-shui, direction is important, particularly the visible direction that water enters or leaves your property. Make sure the water does not rush along in straight lines, taking with it the beneficial chi, but ensure it meanders in such a way as to accumulate the chi.

Traditionally garden ponds have contained carp or goldfish. The best combination of fish is supposed to be eight red or golden fish plus one black fish for balance, or if the pond is not large enough for this, then any odd number. Avoid having four fish in a pond.

Plants, soil, sun and shade are also important elements in the garden. Vegetation is associated with chi, therefore areas which won't grow plants are seen as dead or lacking chi. Flourishing plants are not simply a sign of good gardening, but also of flourishing chi. The best plants from a feng-shui perspective are those with lots of foliage, flowers or fruit and those which are long-living. Traditionally evergreens are better for accumulating chi as they do not shed their leaves in winter.

Soil types play a part in feng-shui and traditional texts recommend prevention against stagnant or "rotting" soils. Such areas, if they can't be avoided, need to be well turned over and aerated, then stabilized with the addition of something like good clean river sand.

Also, avoid leaving rotting or dead plants or grass cuttings in the garden, as they generate too much Yin energy. The remains of a tree stump rotting in the ground is even worse as it attracts stagnant chi as well as insects. Such stumps should be totally rooted out. One of the worse feng-shui situations would be if a house is built over a buried tree stump or a closed-up well. Trees, ponds and outdoor fountains are the most natural elements of urban feng-shui practice. Pine is often picked out as a single feng-shui tree. From a feng-shui point of view, pines form an energy focus for a garden.

Kristina L. is resource for the website, your one stop shop for any type of water fountains and water fountain information. You will find many outdoor fountains for your garden, wall fountains, tabletop fountains and even custom fountains. Visit or call to talk to one of our water fountain experts.

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