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JC Moolman – Shen Mi Yuan Garden Design

We all strive for peace and harmony in our homes but seldom ever consider that the placement of certain physical objects in our space may be working against us.  All things are made from matter. All matter has its own energy, whether it be water, wood, fire, metal or earth, these being the 5 Elements of Feng Shui.  The arrangement and placements of these various elements can promote good energy (Chi), health, wealth, success and happiness.

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy that weaves the energies of those particular elements of nature into a harmonious relationship with our natural environment. After all, we are matter too.

Balance is key to creating a thriving and aesthetic outdoor space. While some outdoor spaces appear more limiting than others, we can apply a few Feng Shui principles to invite peace, prosperity, balance and flow from the earth into our lives. The basic principle is to create an unencumbered flow of energy where you feel comfortable enough to let go of any negative energy, relax and recharge those depleted batteries. 

There are 9 basic Realms which cover all aspects of life, and each realm has a corresponding element and relates to a specific season.  Take a look at the basic map:

Each element connects to a particular season or transition, and this is helpful in understanding which areas of your garden will need attention at different times.  These compass points do not align to the Earth compass points, but rather, your North should be the entrance to your garden, and from there you can plan each of the other sections accordingly. However, without getting into too much complicated detail I will just touch on the main principles of Feng Shui for your garden.

Flowerbeds and pathways should follow flowing lines as opposed to straight rigid lines and hard angles.  This will encourage the harnessing and flow of Chi, Good Energy. Plant plants with big soft broad leaves in the corners, which will help route the energy around the garden.

It is great if you have a lawn, or an open area which is bigger than your garden area, and a section of it which offers both sun and shade to promote a relaxing and inviting energy. It’s the place to sit calmly with your contemplations.

Trickling water features or fountains, birdbaths and blue flowers should be placed to your North, the entrance to your garden. This is a good place to start this journey. 

In the East plant woody stems like bamboo (even in pots if you are concerned about their roots) and hang some wooden wind chimes.  Trees naturally represent the wood element and they are perfect where they are and have already established an energy flow of their own. You can accessorize with a wooden bird feeder too, and with winter on the way it’s a lovely way to invite them into our garden and to help them out with some food. They add a wonderful dimension.

To the South, Fire, red and orange flowering shrubs or creepers preferably with triangular shaped leaves, while in the West white flowers or shrubbery and metal ornaments and metal wind chimes will add a relaxing gentle sound. The Earth, or centre, is represented by yellow, so brick borders and terracotta or ceramic pots will work wonderfully, together with rocks or pebbles.

There are some very detailed pages on Google that deal with this particular school of thought and I encourage you to do some further reading.

And lastly, some things to avoid: Do Not let your tree branches touch the house. It is fine for other plants and shrubs, but tree branches need to be cut back.  Do Not group things in even numbers: 3’s and 5’s are dynamic and have a softer Chi. It is also not advisable to use too much of one element, i.e. metal.

Indoor plants can also inspire good Feng Shui, such as Aloe Vera which combats bad luck and has air-cleaning qualities.  Jasmine for positive romantic feelings, this plant helps strengthen relationships and the scent can sooth a stressed mind.  Lucky Bamboo is a special one as it brings a very peaceful, wise energy into your home, is easy to grow and doesn’t need a lot of sunlight. It will root in earth or water.

Plants soften the hard edges and angles and promote the feeling of being in nature.  Philodendrons with their heart-shaped leaves represent fire and can add a warm emotion to a cold part of your space. Peace Lily and Air Plants are also a lovely addition to your indoor garden.

Good Luck and Happy Gardening!

For more gardening tips or to connect with me please visit my website or find me on social media.

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