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Last Update 06/03/08
Feng Shui in the Florida Garden

 A Garden of Harmony -- How you can transform your garden with the help of the age-old Chinese teachings into an oasis of well-being.

Feng Shui

Feng Shui is a thousands of years old eastern art which teaches the arrangement of the elements in our environment in order to attain luck, prosperity, and health.

"Wind and Water" - the meaning of the Chinese characters for Feng Shui - represent the close relationship of the teachings of the art in respect to the forces of nature. Feng Shui's rules are simple, positive energy or "Ch'i ", in conformity with nature, must be encouraged in order to preserve and enable vitality. This principle can be carried out in your garden.

Water
A pond may not be missing in a Feng Shui garden. It collects positive energies and delivers them to the environment. Water is important for wealth, success and purity.

In order to transform the garden into a source of the peace and harmony, it is important to gently direct the life energy "Ch'i" throughout all areas of the garden. Friendly spaces, flowing paths, romantic garden niches and seats as well as appropriate accessories help to provide positive energy.

 

Wind (= Feng) and water (= Shui) may never be missing from the garden: Waterfalls, clear ponds (in which the sky is reflected), or chimes, from which the wind draws quiet tones, help to animate your garden in a quite special way.

The Garden as a Mirror of Life

According to the Feng Shui teachings each place or habitat in which we live, work or play holds energies which affect different areas of our lives. Nine " Bagua" zones divide the garden; with the help of direct organization you can address the energies with which you would like to strengthen yourself.  The perfect Feng Shui garden includes one section devoted to each of the "Bagua" for balance.

The Nine "Bagua" of Feng Shui
 

Sun -- Wealth
4
SE

Element: Soft Wood -- Green
Color:
Green
Symbology: Wind
Group: East Group

Li -- Fame
9
S

Element: Fire -- Red
Symbology: Brightness, the Sun
Group: East Group

K'un -- Partnership
2
SW

Element: Earth -- Tan, Yellow
Symbology: "Mother Earth"
Group: West Group

Chen -- Family
3
E

Element: Hard Wood -- Dark Green, Aqua-marine
Symbology: Thunder
Group: East Group

Center-- Energy
5

 

Element: Earth -- Yellow

Tui -- Children
7
W

Element: Soft Metal -- White, Gold
Symbology: Marsh
Group: West Group

Ken -- Knowledge
8
NE

Element: Earth -- Tan, Yellow
Symbology: Mountain, Youth
Group: West Group

K'an -- Career
1
N

Element: Water -- Black, Blue
Symbology: Water, the Moon
Group: East Group

Ch'ien -- Friends
6
NW

Element: Hard Metal -- White, Gold
Symbology: Heaven, Leader
Group: West Group

In the Knowledge zone for example a separate, romantic niche inspires thinking and  Meditation. Always balance it with the Career zone for a cheerful work ethic. Round forms and bright colors provide freshness here. A friendly round seating area in the open air gives strength in the Friend zone. Strengthen the Family zone by providing a seat for all family members as well as by adding an animated water feature such as a waterfall or fountain. The Center serves as an energy gas station. A Roundel with a bird-bath as focal point or   open lawn collects positive energies. Wind chimes, bells or a sand box belong naturally in the Children's' zone. Clear, moving water in a pond strengthens the Wealth zone. In the Fame zone unusual and interesting accessories will draw "Ch'i" to this spot. Promote "sameness" in the Partnership zone by adding a romantic embankment or friendly flowering plants.

Traditional Cast Iron Garden Chimes

Chimes, which the wind moves gently, produce quiet tones reassuring to the body and soul.


Traditional Cast-iron Garden Bells


The Meaning of the Plants

Depending upon energy content and effect, plants are assigned to the " five Feng Shui items ": Woody plants are for modification and movement. Fire plants such as sunflower or daisy symbolize beauty and humor. Earth plants such as Clematis embody stability and peace. Metal plants such as Pampasgrass donate strength and resilience. Aquatic plants such as summer aster are for strong will and seriousness.

For the Chinese, plants are the source of feelings and hopes; therefore everyone feels drawn to different plants in different ways. Rely on your intuition for plant selection. "Only which pleases, can itself positively affect."  Also be sure to consider the respective requirements for location of the plants, because Feng Shui cannot replace good soil and light.

The Meaning of the Elements

Wood

Wood is considered the beginning of new life. Just as spring brings new plants and new life, wood is the originator of the five elemental cycle. A shrub or bushy plant emits and retains "Ch'i". Plants recycle the air we breath and can provide a natural filter for the air. A dead plant holds no "Ch'i" and is actually a "Sha" (unsightly or bad influence). 

Wood represents the directions of East and the Chen Trigram (3).    It also represents the South East and the Sun Trigram (4).

 

 

Fire

The Fire Element is the most "Yang" of the elements. It is the hot summer or a blast of heat. Red plants or plants with red flowers make excellent Fire remedies.

Fire represents the South and the Li Trigram (9).

Earth

In this case large granite boulders, or a beautiful clay statue can be used. Terracotta pots filled with potting soil make a great Earth remedy. Earth also represents the Mountain.

Earth represents the North East or the Ken Trigram (8). It also represents the South West or the Kun Trigram (2). Additionally, it represents the "Center" of the Master Trigram (5). Energetically speaking, Kun Earth (2) and the center representation (also called a star) of "5" can have negative influences, whereas the Ken Trigram (North East - 8 - also referred to as the Mountain) can have a very prosperous influence.

Metal

The most common solution, Metal can be found in all forms. Copper, Silver, Gold, and Bronze are a few variations of the Metal Element. Using the Metal Element can encourage all sorts of creative ideas. The key thing to remember is that Feng Shui is about creating a beautiful environment. When utilizing the Metal Element, ensure that it is rounded and pleasing, not sharp and pointed. Metal is the most commonly used remedy for the negative Earth energies as mentioned above. Ideally, the goal is to introduce Feng Shui elemental solutions that are not identifiable as Feng Shui remedies. They should blend into the environment and be beautiful. 

Metal represents the Tui Trigram (7) in the West. Tui is a soft metal such as gold. It is also the Ch'ien Trigram (6) in the North West. Ch'ien is a hard metal like steel.

 

Water

Water is what gives life on our planet. Without it, we would not exist. Our bodies are mostly water. In Feng Shui, Water is a very useful element.   Water, when needed, should be clear and flowing. Stagnant water can create more problems than it solves. A simple pond or even a small "metal" fountain can be used.  Do not use ceramic or other earthen fountains.  This is a common mistake.   The Earth element blocks water and neutralizes the positive effect of the Water. A metal trough, a fountain, or even a fish pond can act as an environmental solution. 

Water has always been synonymous with power. Water has been used as an elemental solution by the emperors in the form of moats and by placing their palaces near bodies of Water. If you look at most capital cities today, they are either located near the water or have large lakes or rivers nearby. Most ocean-side and lake-side homes are sought after and usually more expensive.

Water represents the K'an Trigram (1) in the North. 

Feng Shui Can Be Used in Any Garden

Although many basic rules of the eastern teachings of Feng Shui can be transferred to your garden, it is to be believed falsely, such a garden must have a completely determined appearance. Adjust elements of your garden for weak points and consider your given circumstances. It is not critical if you cannot adhere strictly to the rules of Feng Shui. Begin simply with the transformation of individual garden areas which disturb you the most. Small modifications like a waterfountain or windchimes in the correct place can bring Feng Shui into your garden. The most important thing is how the changes you make or elements you add will make you feel.

 
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