Feng Shui gardening considers the garden itself as a separate space. It begins with the location of its formal entry. Through a rounded archway/ trellis - ideally made of wood you could have a beautiful entry way Another idea is to have a pair of pine trees along the side marking an entry (pine is a symbol of eternal friendship and long life). Perhaps a moon shaped entry could be considered There should be a sense of transition between your home and the garden. This area of transition is known as the Ming Teng. It is ideal to slow chi down with yin qualities but, not to stop it. The garden should be of interest all year round.
There are 4 Major directions in a garden:
- North: Known as the Black Tortoise, this represents the winter season, the element water and the color blue. Water, ponds, lakes, etc. would benefit this area as it is considered to be 'yin'.
- The East is known as the Green Dragon. It represents the spring season, the element wood, greenery, plants, and is the beginning of the increase of 'yang' energy. The wood element can be used in this area, as can plants of the color blue/green. The area represents the area of protection, and taller trees are appropriate here. In China, the protective nature of the Dragon is often represented by large, gnarled rocks, symbolic of mountains. Bamboo is another element to consider in this area.
3.The South represents the Phoenix or "Red Bird" area of the garden. It represents the summer, the element Fire and the color red. This area is the height of yang energy. Materials to consider in this location include: brick, pre-cast concrete with interesting openings, wood, post and rail, bamboo, trellis. Statutes in this area might include a bird such as a peacock or pheasant. This is an area where herbs can be planted, and small shrubs. Do not densely plant in this area. A gentle slope can be employed. The Phoenix area would benefit from the introduction of lighting (Fire), torches. Lighting is best below eye level to allow one to be lead through the garden. This is an area where angles are also appropriate, Plants with more angular leaves could be used here.
4. The West is known as the Tiger area. Its seasonal representation is fall, and the element is Metal. Items that best represent this include benches, urns, garden tools. It is an area of slowing down; yang is slowly moving toward yin. It is one of the best location for flowers, especially in pastel colors.
The Center of your garden is ruled by the Earth element. You can use pottery, the color yellow and maintaining a sense of stillness here to best represent the proper Feng Shui elements.
Shapes have different meanings in a garden. One of the best shapes for a garden is round. This is because ch'i likes to flow in a circular pattern, continuing this pattern would be ideal. Thus, consider: circular lawn areas, winding paths, rounded edges on the flower beds, etc. Straight paths can be used to direct energy into corners.
The garden should not slope down from the entry to the rear. Instead, it should have gentle hills or mounds. Overall, the rear should be higher than the entry. Chinese garden walls are often in the shape of the dragon, curved, with a dragon head at the end. Topiaries are not recommended in gardens as they distort the natural design of a plant. Nothing should be forced to grow in a rigid line. Plants should be allowed to grow into their natural state.
If you want to include seating in your garden, consider round and curved seats as they will slow down the chi. Square or rectangular seating will speed up the energy. Materials are also important. Bamboo is considered very auspicious. Pathways should ideally be made of natural materials such as stone, brick, gravel, grass, tile, wood, concrete. If concrete is used, brick edging might be incorporated. Perhaps if two pathways go off in different directions, they could be of differing materials. Any trash containers should be built out of natural materials and fit into the environment.
The element of surprise is a common focus in a Feng hui garden is to. It is good to anticipate, and never be sure if walking around a corner might reveal something beautiful and unexpected. Everything should not be exposed at one time. There should be some areas that are wide open, and others that are hidden or screened. Gardens should also be able to be viewed from above, as well as on the ground.
The concept of borrowed views should be considered. This is the ability to look through an opening/window, and see a scene that may not necessarily be in your own garden. Or, looking out a window, a perfect picture might be framed by a window.
Flowers, birds and fish are often imbedded as pictures of stone or tile emblems in the ground. Small water features are appropriate. If a path is going to be long and straight, break up its length with interruptions of small circles along the way.
In summary, the main points to consider in creating your garden are the entrance, the 4 main directions, shapes, materials, and including the element of surprise. Think of all the pleasurable hours you and your guests will be able to enjoy!
You can learn more and listen to this on Mp3 at: Understanding Feng Shui Elements in Your Garden on http://www.energyofthespirit.com/?p=716