Not everyone’s cup of tea working in the garden, personally I love to; I find it very relaxing and most enjoyable. The garden is so often overlooked, it really is the key to good Feng Shui, if you think about it what is the point of having the perfect Feng Shui home if the area around you is producing bad energy (Shar Ch’i) all this energy comes into your home via your doors or windows, and if you have clutter and junk in this area this will be the energy your home will receive.
I am going to assume that you live in a seven bedroom home with at least 6-7 acres of landscaped gardens, the reason, because nearly every Feng Shui book you read nowadays show magnificent pictures of beautiful mansion type homes with hallways bigger than most houses, and gardens with lakes and mountains in the background. Why don’t they bring out a book with an average house in mind and an average budget for the Feng Shui cure? It makes me laugh when I read that some so called Feng Shui expert is telling you that you have to move your house six foot to the left, reposition your front door or move the cloakroom etc. You really don’t have to spend a fortune with Feng Shui you will find a cure for most problems, and not have to demolish your home. In the UK we are generally used to having relatively small gardens and my following advice and tips are based on average sized gardens, of course the same rules apply for large and small plots all over the world.
After our long cold winters you will find heaps of dead leaves in your borders and corners of the garden, broken frost damaged pots, and of course the usual collection of weeds. These all need to be cleared, broken flower pots replaced, lawn edges tidied, weeds pulled out and a general tidy up around your borders.
Now to your junk pile, you know what I am talking about, the one sitting at the back of the garage or the back of the garden or some corner in the garden, all those old bits of wood and metal that you thought may come in handy one day, the old bike frame you were going to fix up a couple of years ago, get rid of all that junk or at least tidy it up, the same rules apply to your garden as they do your home.
Your garden can be a perfect retreat in the stressful times we live in and with regards to Feng Shui it is the Yang that balances the Yin, you can have the perfect Feng Shui house, if it is not balanced with your garden your efforts will be wasted. The reason for this is because with an untidy garden you will not get free flowing Ch’i and it will stagnate and this stagnant Chi will end up in your home.
Ponds and water features can bring good energy into a garden as long as it is moving (Yang) and not stagnant, water is associated with wealth and is an excellent collector and conductor of Ch’i. If you already have a pond or water feature make sure it is kept clean. If you have a leak fix it immediately as this will be a major drain on your finances. You can use Yin water, which is still water with no movement, but this needs to be used with the advice from a Feng Shui Practitioner.
Types of plants are important in your garden and home, do not use cactus or plants that have spikes as they create aggression and tension. Plants with fat succulent leaves are very auspicious. Overbearing large trees at the front of the house are not good either always try and have them no higher than two thirds of your house. Try and fill your garden with colourful plants all year round, they will attract good energy as well as looking great.
Using herbs to create good health, wealth and longevity. The use of herbs in your garden not only adds colour and life they can have a powerful influence on your life. They also contain medicinal properties that have been used for centuries. Basil prefers to grow apart from other plants and is said to promote individual and good fortune in personal ventures, plant in the north area and do not use whilst pregnant. Jasmine lifts the spirits of depressed or those with marital problems, plant in the south-west to improve relationship or south-east to improve money luck. Lavender I love, not just for its healing and aroma properties but as a plant you can place it anywhere in your garden, below a bedroom window is great to promote better sleep. Rosemary aids bad memory; plant it in the south-west to encourage remembrance. Do not use when pregnant or if you suffer with epilepsy, in fact always seek medical advice before using most oils.
Dealing with Si Ch’i is not as great a problem as Sha Ch’i as its influence is negative rather than aggressive. These areas where Ch’i is stagnating are a drain on energy and can affect finances. Look for corners that look bare and you think may be stagnating and place a pot or ornament in its place, plants can also nourish these areas.
Poison arrows are a good thing to look for whilst you are out in the garden, have a good look at all angles of your home, are you situated on a roundabout, cul-de-sac, live next door to a police station, hospital etc. If so place a Ba Gua mirror directed at the offending object. Take further advice before placing more than two on your home as you can easily overdo it and never place a Ba Gua mirror inside your home.
Use of lights and ornaments in your garden, for this part I will assume you will have a budget of £5.000 – £8.000 to spend on Victorian lighting and original ornaments by Metcalfe, only kidding. You can use lights to energise stagnant areas of your garden and if you place them around the boundaries of your home, you will add to your good luck. They are great for attracting good Ch’i. A light placed in the south corner of your garden switched on for a few hours in the evening will bring good luck by stimulating your fire energy, this is obviously general advice and does not take into account the flying stars you have in your home for the year, for a more stable relationship you can place a light in the southwest sector, and by placing a light in the west you can improve your romantic prospects. Again you do not need to spend a fortune, as a jam jar with a tea light inside is just as good as any. Ornaments are not only nice to look at; they create a balance to odd shapes such as missing corners to your home or garden. Ornaments can be classed as your typical statue or even a large pot with plants, or urns and bird bathes. It is best to choose heavy items if possible as this creates stability and do not make the mistake of choosing anything out of proportion to your garden size, i.e. the typical “Dell boy” luvely jubely image, a 10ft statue in a 12ft garden, keep everything relative to the size of plot and this also applies to the inside of your home.
General tips for your garden. Your garden should be treated the same as your home, keep your lawn trimmed, borders clear, patios clean, pay particular attention to your front door, make sure it is unobstructed and no paintwork is peeling on the door. Always clear blocked drains as these can have a serious effect on finances. Use trailing plants on edges of sheds or garden buildings to soften harsh edges, do not let them overgrow or block light.
Hide your rubbish bins behind a screen if possible and do not have seating near them. If you have a BBQ have it in the south, S/E or N/E as it will stimulate the fire energy. Try and use your garden as a sanctuary you will be amazed at how much better you will feel after sitting in the sun or watching the wildlife. I often go out in my garden at night with my shoes off and earth myself with the ground, sounds pretty weird but I strongly recommend it, you basically earth yourself by doing this as the Ch’i in your body is kept on the move through the energy lines known as meridians, and with these days of plastic sole shoes you never have a chance to earth yourself properly. When I first got married 22 years ago, I used to have terrible problems with static hair, especially after blow drying it, well Michael told me if I went into the garden and stuck my head on the ground this would cure my problem, (obviously at that time he was messing around, I think) because I would be releasing all the static into the ground, I am not going to tell you if I tried it but his theory was right, cant say it cured the static hair though. Now you have that picture of me in your mind of me bare footed earthing myself at 10 o’clock at night I think I will close on this topic.
“Every time you think you’ve graduated from the school of experience, somebody thinks up a new lesson”
Using the five elements in your garden
Try and use a balance of the five elements in your garden, there is no point in having metal and wood together, or fire and water, well actually there is but that is used in a more deeper level, try and balance the whole garden with different elements, also balance every part with the use of flowers, trees, colours etc. Sometimes it helps to step back and look at your surroundings as if you did not own the garden. As I was typing this I actually tried it myself, I have just looked at my rear garden from the back window, oops, I must try and follow some of the advice that I give. I have never been happy with my back garden, it is triangular which is one of the worst shapes you can have. We erected a corner shape summer house at the very end to square it off, it helped but having looked at it again I think I will plant a row of small trees or a trellis two-thirds down the garden to completely square it, the only reason I did not do it before was because it would make it look smaller and also because we have many trees in the garden already.
Back to the five elements, as usual got side tracked, Feng Shui as you know is all about using the five natural elements, wood, fire, earth, water and metal, these are all elements that nature supplies us, and traditional Feng Shui is about using nature. The changes I have noticed over the years, that there are so many people trying to force nature. Look at some gardens in the UK and you will find somebody trying to grow tropical plants in their front garden or someone in Saudi Arabia trying to grow roses in the desert, try and keep things in balance, if something is unnatural it will not give you the best energy, this would not necessarily apply to inside your home as I know in the UK we have many beautiful indoor plants that do not originate from here and this does not mean you should not use them inside.
I know I am leaving myself open to receiving e-mails from someone who is going to tell me that they have been successfully growing orchids in their front garden in the North of England without any problems, or someone from Saudi Arabia growing the rarest hybrid roses in the middle of the desert, this is great providing you can grow them without the use of any chemicals or machinery and they look healthy and happy in the environment (Michael has just asked me “how can a plant look happy?”). Bonsai trees are a good example, I have read many Feng Shui books that say they are great to have in a home, I really do not think so, as they are forced in nature, stunted and not natural at all and the energy they produce could almost be considered sad. This is only my opinion and some Masters may disagree especially as this is an Oriental art being practised for thousands of years.
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What you should and shouldn’t throw away?
I am firm believer of clearing your clutter and junk in the home and garden, however I do not follow to the extent of some of the books that have been written on this subject, throwing away all your old books, photo’s etc. I have two teenage boys, a husband who has recently become addicted to Ebay on-line auctions and you would not believe the amount of items that we have collected over the years, I call it “organised clutter” you will not find much dust or dirt in our home, but you will find a good collection of books, sentimental items, board games, photos, ornaments etc. I have seen so many homes that have been Feng Shui’d that do not feel like a home, they are too sparse in furniture, plants, and any real atmosphere they just look like a model house with no heart, that is not what Feng Shui is about, you need to create a “home” a home with heart and love.
Clearing all your junk every now and again, this does produce amazing results, just by going into the garage or study and having a real good clear out will produce great results. But you try going into your 15 & 13 year old son’s bedrooms and start throwing away all their magazines, old toys, or even dare to look at let alone organise their CD collection, this will not be a recipe for a happy home. Try and find a balance, I get the urge to throw things away every 3-4 months, I think it must be instinctive, take no notice of those books that tell you to throw away all your old photos, presents from previous partners, books that you have had from childhood, sentimental items from your parents/grand-parents etc.
I recently received an e-mail asking for my advice from someone in Canada, she had recently lost her Father and was obviously grieving, she had been told by her Feng Shui practitioner to throw away all her photos, memorabilia, and all things that would bring back any memories of her Father, I was so angry how dare these people give advice like this, he had told her to do this because her Father was causing her to have negative thoughts and this would cause detriment (someone she loved dearly) to her existence.
I really do get angry with this “new age” airy fairy type style of Feng Shui, someone who has read a couple of books and adapted a school of Feng Shui with their own beliefs, a real Master would never give this type of advice. Anyway I am rambling again, my view is, if you have happy thoughts of someone, whether they are your Father, ex lover, children, ex husband never throw away photos or similar if your memories are good of that person, if however you had bad memories of cruelty, cheating, abuse etc I would definitely throw them away as this is a very positive way of creating a new life without them, this is only my view, you decide.
All the above recommendations are given as general advice and if you follow a more traditional and authentic approach to Feng Shui you would know that placing a fire element in an area that has the dreaded 2 & 5 star combinations, this would not be good. If you would like further details on our on-line consultations that take you into a deeper understanding of you and your home or business click here.