I see Feng Shui landscape designing, as another way of bringing balance for your personal enhancement. Working with the earth brings the qualities of earth to you. The basic element of earth is healing, regenerative,and without any effort at all, you recieve these benefits. It is a way of bringing forth a balance of the yin and yang, light and darkness are balanced by using different elements: water, earth,fire (example: pointy leaves of plants represent this element) rocks, wood element (trees), metals (flower pots, wind chimes or a metal bench to sit and reflect the days events. When you take these elements and use the bagua-the map of Feng Shui, you are able to draw beneficial energy to you and your home.
A way to apply the Feng Shui philosophy to your garden is starting at the entrance. An arbor, for example, makes clear to people where to come in and makes the garden inviting." Ideally," the entrance faces south -- the direction, by the way, where your garden will get maximum sun exposure. A closed gate would be less inviting for people and energy, and it might shade some of your plants. Though there are no particular Feng Shui plants, Colors have a strong impact on energy flow, just as they have been shown to influence our moods. Hot colors, like red and yellow flowers, lift up your energy level when you're looking at them. The cooler-colored purple and white flowers are more soothing.
Remember, Feng Shui emphasizes diversity. The Five Elements you want to have represented in your garden are:
Water, be it a fountain, pond or bird bath, is very soothing. By the way, attracting birds is the best, most natural form of bug control, because they eat pest insects. If you don't have enough space for a birdbath, there are other ways to incorporate water into a garden. A simple electric fountain would do. Just add water and the electric pump would recycle it.
The compass directions have corresponding colors to help create your balanced landscaping. When you involve the elements and colors of the bagua map, it creates the good energy-chi and it is carried into your home to help empower you and your family. The balance of inside/outside Feng Shui will give you the extra boost it takes to live your life in harmony and balance. You will also realize that once you create this harmony, more birds, butterflies, praying mantis will arrive on the scene to share and add to this energized area. You will also find this area to be one that attracts the human race to your area.
Landscape design is not just a matter of putting up a building, planting trees and flowers, or building an artificial mountain. It is a means of revealing one's attitude of life by displaying landscape esthetically. Landscape needs to be restrained, gentle, and understated. We should modestly hide, not boldly dominate as is fashionable in the West. This enables a more intimate experience and sense of fitting into the environment.
Chinese will search for compromise while a Westerner wants a Yes or No answer. This constitutes fundamentally different approaches to landscape design.
In Western thought we oscillate between total belief in a Creator (ignoring real life) or a full belief in human power to explore and dominate the world (which in many respects also ignores real life). Westerners measure their world in human dimensions, with the formal garden recognized as a symbol of human power and achievement. People of Western thought are conquerors and improvers of nature, so people want a walled-in and controlled copy of Paradise (perfection beyond real life).
By enabling and worshipping human power, we lose our fear of wildness. We conquer nature, sanitize and "improve" it. And these ideas are intrinsically Western, coming as they do from Plato and Christian theology.
There is an attitude of profit regarding land in the West. The practical and utilitarian trend is Western, which historically was restricted in the East. In the East the attitude encompasses humility and respect for the forces of nature and heaven.
It is very rare in Chinese design history to place geometrical forms on hilly land, as is common in Western countries. Only in the Chinese Emperor's gardens were geometric forms acceptable, because for Chinese they are symbols of respect for natural forces (heaven and earth).
You will find nothing about improvement of the land, no modification of perceived imperfections or a need to control or dominate the landscape. Even the Son of Heaven would not assume he had the authority to do such a thing.
Feng Shui patios and gardens are closer in spirit to low-maintenance rock than to formal English artificial and overdesigned European gardens, which are characterized by unnatural features such as severe corners, angles and straight lines.
Whether you live in a condo or a mansion, whether you are positioning a potted plant on your patio or having many acres professionally landscaped, putting everything in its right place according to feng shui principles will help create a healing, harmonious and natural environment.
Stand in the center of your outdoor space.
Use a compass to determine the eight directions.
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