garden feng shuiText by Lily Sokhi

Our much awaited spring has finally arrived with the promise of a new beginning. Now that the snow has finally left us, all gardening enthusiasts are raring to go out and get started.

The first step is to rid the garden of all clutter, which drags down the energy level. Clear the garden of the dead leaves. Replace the broken pots, pull out the weeds, and tidy up the lawn edges. In designing your outdoor space, be mindful of the basic concepts of Feng Shui: The flow of chi -The life force or chi moves in gentle curve. The path to the front of the house should be curved. A horseshoe shaped driveway or a curved path allows the Chi to arrive gently. The balance of yin (dark, soft, passive) and yang (light, hard, active) is important.

Water is another very important feature in Feng Shui and a very potent conductor of Chi. Water features can bring good energy into a garden as long as it is moving (Yang) and not stagnant. North is ideal for putting up a water feature. Use this area for ponds, fountains, Jacuzzis and birdbaths.

Lights can also energize stagnant areas of your garden. Add to your luck by putting lights around the boundaries of your home. Place a light in the South corner of your garden and switch it on for a few hours in the evening. It will stimulate your fire energy. A light in the Southwest sector will help in making your relationships stable. Looking for romance? Placing a light in the West and you can improve your romantic prospects. South is good direction for barbecues, fire pits, burning leaves, trees and flowers.

The element for West and Northwest is metal. Keep statues of deities, angels, cherubs and animals in the Northwest. West is a good direction for the placement of outdoor entertaining. You should keep metal swings in this direction. Northwest is good direction to put wind chimes.

The element of Northeast and Southwest is earth. Put stone benches in these areas. You can also make rock gardens, or place stones, boulders and statuaries in the Northeast.

East and Southeast areas are good for cultivation and plants. Since east is also for family and health, put the play equipment in this area. Plant fruit trees, herbs, medicinal plants in this area. Do not use cactus or plants that have spikes as they create aggression and tension. Plants with fat succulent leaves are very auspicious.

Try to plant the shrubs and trees in such a way that visitors to the garden will not be able to see everything at once. Mix yin and yang, shade and sun. Let there be a surprise at every turn. Never plant a tree directly in front of your door as it blocks the arriving Chi. Overbearing large trees at the front of the house are not lucky either. Always try and have them no higher than two thirds of your house. Try and keep your garden filled with colorful plants. They will attract good energy and they also look great.

Keep your lawn trimmed, borders clear and patios clean. The front door should be unobstructed and inviting. Any harsh edges should be softened with trailing plants. Hide your rubbish bins behind a screen.

It is not critical to adhere strictly to the rules of Feng Shui though. Start by energizing an area that is important to you. Small additions like a water fountain or wind chimes in the correct place can bring Feng Shui into your garden. The most important changes are the ones that make your surroundings harmonious and create a sense of calm and serenity for you.

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