Some of the tips below are very well known to you whether consciously or unconsciously – we sense when what we are looking at appears balanced and in harmony with the surroundings.
In our feng shui (pronounced fung schway) world – which, by the way encompasses just about everything within our living experience, we are shown the reasons why we feel the way we do about home, land or garden. It is comforting to know there is shape, texture, color and what we call energy existing in all things and how using them creates a sense of balance.
Here’s to Summer and all the glory we can pack into 3 months whether on your spacious property or your 18-foot balcony….Summer is Winter’s expectation of all good things remembered.
- Balance -To balance your planting scheme always begin with the back of the planting area and plant higher (yang) than the next layer in front of it and again with the third layer in front until you reach 3* tiers descending in height to yin or the balance. (*3 is a magical number in feng shui). Vegetable gardens the same (corn, tomatoes, cucumbers) – this arrangement also arrests the eye because of the balance (now you know why it is so appealing). High to low and mix it up with an eye to balancing the high/low, open/tight, light/dark.
- Texture – Next, consider texture – this is also yin & yang – use open longer stems (Shasta daisies-yang) creating motion with wind in the back of the above plan and then descend with seasonal flowers or perennials where the flowers heads are more condensed with each layer until you reach both rounder and tighter plants that may also group together like impatiens.
- Texture II – Rocks, garden sculpture, benches, pergolas/gazebos, swings all add visual interest and must find their balance as well within the softness of plants/flowers. One of the reasons we so love gardens is exactly for this reason – we find the balance we want to feel within ourselves in the creations of our outdoor spaces and gardens. So these items are yang to the flowers’ yin.
- Color – If you have lots of room for your gardens, consider either themes of color or multi-color flowers. Multi colors always “fill in” the space as we look at them because all the colors radiate a vibration and take up more visual space (yang). If, on the other hand, you have little room for a flower garden, it is important to consider same tone flowers and plants (yin) – many shades of whites and greens. Not only is it beautiful in its soft variations but also arresting to the eyes. A yin garden is very good for meditating.
- Color II – As mentioned above, colors have vibrations with red having the most (yang) as well as yellows and oranges and even whites. Blues and purples and softer versions of yang like peach and pale yellow are more yin and “quiet” and concentrate their visual energy. So consider what you want to create – vibrant to quiet – or something in between for different areas of your gardens.
- Topography – or the rise and fall of the land itself also is yin (low) and yang (high). Especially if you have a lot of land, it is important to bring balance and harmony to the space or it will look as if your home were dropped on a piece of dirt (or grass) and it feels incomplete and not harmonious. If you can add berms (soil stacked to a soft or hard tier or terrace) so the space is broken and the eye can rest somewhere, is ideal. Adding soil or subtracting can offer the same effect. Bringing in large rocks and grouping them together to bring safety (especially if you live on a corner property) as well as grounding to the home and gardens. Remember round is yin and high and straight (tiers/terraces) is yang. Balance is what you always want to attain.
- Proportion – House to garden/land. We have all seen too many plantings/trees and too little land and just the opposite – too much land and too few plantings. A good rule of thumb is the old rule of 3 – keep the house to 1/3 (if you can) and the property to 2/3. Not always possible so then you must artfully plant trees that will not dwarf the home in 5-10 years or look too small for the life of the house. Another rule of thumb is to plant small/open/multi trunk trees like birches and Japanese maples within 15-20 feet of the front of the home and NEVER in front of the door. This keeps good energy from coming in and not good energy from leaving.
- Proportion II – Rule of 3 (sort of). Any shrubbery planted close to the house (be careful here as well because of roots and water welling up too close creating damage to the foundation) should only reach the bottom of the window – never going beyond and obliterating the window inside and outside. In the feng shui world, you are taking away good Chi from the outside and stifling the Chi or energy inside. In most cases, this one-third fits nicely whether you have a one-story or multi-story home because the windows generally, but not always, are designed within this concept of balance. Also, when shrubbery hides the window it is often an invitation for someone to hide behind. Local police will always tell you to keep shrubbery below the sill.
- To curve or not to curve – Curves slow walking down and the eye as well (yin) and straight lines speed us up (yang) and have us looking beyond and not where we are. Small spaces need straight lines because curves take up more room and could be difficult to navigate (never good feng shui). So, when considering a large piece of property to create gardens, think curves – curving/rounded plant/flower/shrubbery groups. Corners of the property need curves (yin) as well to soften the geometric angles (yang) of the house. In the feng shui world, Chi drops in corners.
- Last and not least – Anything you plant you become responsible for – so perhaps you might think about that and plant areas of grass if you can take care of it, using river rock and stones where you do not want grass and flowers or perennials where no matter what the season you have something lovely to look at. Pick 2 and you just may have something that calms the soul more than it adds to the work. The balance of what you get for what you give must be even or you may start resenting your beautiful space. Not good feng shui.
Bonnie Primm is a Certified Feng Shui Practitioner and Life Coach, Teacher, and Keynote Speaker, who believes in the concept of Beyond Feng Shui – Connecting the Dots. www.bonnieprimm.com, (757) 652-7993 and firstname.lastname@example.org