Feng Shui & The Garden
A Small Glimpse
Energetic and Renewing Art In The Landscape
By Mary & Hugh Williamson
Spanning the centuries, the Ancient Eastern science, art and philosophy of Feng Shui and its more contemporary interpretation comprise an extensive topic. It could take a lifetime of study to master the concepts. But simply put, Feng Shui principles include the belief that all animate beings, as well as seemingly inanimate objects, have a “physical life force” within.
This may seem a bit mystical, but consider two everyday examples of invisible forces that theoretically connect humanity and the environment. First, contemplate the compass and what its discovery has done for humanity. The needle always points to magnetic north unless overwhelmed by a stronger energy field. The second example is a traffic light’s left-turn arrow, activated by the vehicle-created electromagnetic field, that we did not even recognize until fairly recently. Invisible forces such as these affect us all and, in Feng Shui, collectively are known as Qi, or Chi.
THE YANG IS TOO MUCH WITH US
Feng Shui also engenders the concept of Yin and Yang. Yin represents energy flowing calmly and restfully, and Yang represents the rapid flow of that energy. Ancient Eastern philosophy espouses a balance between the two, creating harmony within each of us. Feng Shui and good garden design incorporate the home and the garden or balcony as one entity and gives us the opportunity to create Yin spaces in our heavily Yang-oriented world. Reflect for a moment what we seek for our “recharging” – non-Yang places, including weekend retreats, second homes, resort vacations, or a boat on the open water. These are all Yin spaces that provide serenity, although they are far from lifeless. They are dramatic, but tranquil. They all move us closer to nature and its elements.
MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU
We cannot always be on vacation, weekending in the country or sailing the ocean blue, but we can create Yin space in our domiciles through the use of gardens, large or small, and their impact on our interior spaces. Doors and windows link the outside environment with the interior of the home. The garden outside should be designed to create small and diverse spaces, providing interest, channeling positive energy and engaging all the senses of sight, sound, smell, and touch. Channeling positive psychic energy calls to mind a Steven Spielberg film or two, where harnessed positive energy was the ultimate achievement. Rocks represent strength, water represents energy, trees and plants are placed to create kinetic energy through their relationship and the changing perspective as we move through the garden, both visually and physically. Hardscapes such as statuary, seating, planters, as well as fountains and lighting, can be personalized additions to the soft and comforting Yin result. Where space is at a premium, plants in pots can be particularly effective and consistent with the philosophy.
Feng Shui and good garden design principles are inseparable, and both are interpretations and observations of the natural world. The Ancient Eastern teachings can be translated to today’s life realities to block any “potential harmful energy.” It is not always practical to study the old manuscripts dealing with the “physiognomy.” Simplified, it’s all about a welcoming environment. Many of the things to be mitigated while employing the Feng Shui attitude are not often prominent in our South Florida environment, and that makes getting started a lot easier! Those unwanted elements include industrial sites, pollution, and distracting noise. So South Florida is the perfect place to study the art. The Feng Shui rules are fun to research and easy to apply in order to
create a Yin space in your Yang world for your personal satisfaction and renewal.