It's no secret that a beautiful landscape can lift the spirits. But many gardeners are moving beyond just creating a lovely garden, and are applying the ancient principles of Feng Shui to their outdoor spaces as well.
Feng Shui - pronounced "fung schway" - is an ancient art and science developed more than 3,000 years ago in China. This complex body of knowledge guides people in their choices of colors, shapes, materials and object placements in their homes and gardens.
Those who follow Feng Shui often report improvements in their relationships, financial situations, health conditions and careers, according to Linda Binns, a Feng Shui coach and owner of Boise-based Harmony Inside and Out, LLC.
"Our homes express a great deal about our lives," Binns explains. "Energy, known as 'Chi' flows through our environment. Just by making a few adjustments to your garden, you can coax positive Chi into your home and enhance your life."
Binns - who specializes in long-distance consultations - offers a few Feng Shui tips for the garden:
Keep plants healthy and remove all dead trees, shrubs or flowers right away. Make sure plants aren't obstructing the path to your door, or blocking a window. Avoid sharp-edged or pointed plants such as holly near doors or entrances.
Create a protected and private garden environment with evergreen hedges, trees or fencing in the back and sides of your yards.
Curvy pathways allow the Chi to travel more effectively than straight narrow paths. Incorporate curves and organic shapes in your garden as much as possible, and soften sharp edges and angles with flowing plants.
Encourage birds and butterflies into your garden by providing food and plants that attract them. These critters' movements keep the Chi flowing in the right way - not to mention, they make Mother Nature happy too.
Protect your home from difficult neighbors, power lines or busy streets with guardian statues (such as Buddhas, angels, etc...) on either side of the door. A wind chime outside the front door also welcomes in rejuvenating energy, says Binns. A tree in the right place will slow and stop negative Chi from hitting your home.
Invite positive Chi into your home with a small water feature, such as a bird bath or fountain, near the front entrance. Water represents wealth and prosperity, says Binns. Keep these water features clean, and always make sure the water is running towards - not away from - your home.
Coming Soon! Don't miss Part II about the five elements of nature and how to apply these Feng Shui principles to your garden.
Linda Binns of Harmony Inside and Out, LLC