(ARA) - It is easy to know when you are out of your element. Intuition often tells us when our surroundings are out of place. With feng shui, the classic Chinese art of placement, a harmonious environment can bring balance to your life.
Turning a muddled back yard into a gentle haven is not only pleasing to the eye but soothing to the soul. "Successful design incorporates the essential objectives of feng shui," recounts Karen Nowak, Academic Director of Interior Design at California Design College.
The ultimate goal of feng shui applied to the garden is to create an atmosphere that balances. You don't want a space that feels too frenzied or too lackluster. Curves in pathways encourage wandering and thoughtful reflection. Open gates are welcoming to both guests and their energy. Populate your garden with colors that increase energy like reds, oranges and yellows or calming colors like violet or blue. And remove disorder. Nothing causes agitation more than an untidy environment.
It is important to represent the five elements when working with feng shui: water, wood, fire, earth and metal. Some of these lend themselves to the garden with ease. Dirt, clay containers and rocks denote the earth element. Trellis, benches and trees are suitable for the wood element. Bring water into your garden by adding a pond, fountain or bird bath. Outdoor fireplaces, fire pits or lanterns represent fire. And metal sculptures, sundials or wind chimes signify metal.
In feng shui, aspects in your environment communicate areas in your life. The bagua is a position map that matches up these energy sectors. You can increase positive energy in each part of your life by using zone-specific elements. These regions are:
* Career in the north -- positive effects from water and metal elements
* Wisdom in the northeast -- constructive element is earth
* Family in the east -- affirming effects from the element wood
* Wealth in the southeast -- helpful element is wood
* Reputation in the south -- positive effects from fire
* Relationships in the southwest -- helpful element is earth
* Children and creativity in the west -- constructive element is metal
* Travel in the northwest -- positive effects from metal
Perhaps you want to draw wealth into your life. Planting fruit trees in the southeast area of your garden will encourage the money tree to be fruitful as well. Situating your back yard fire pit in the south promotes fame.
"All areas of life have harmonizing opposites. Your home and garden should pair spatial and design opposites to bring an equalized foundation," advises Nowak. Bring light to shady areas of the yard and balance entryways with plants or trees on each side.
It may not be easy to remove the clutter and stress from inside ourselves. Designing with feng shui principles is an easy way to provide that retreat and comfort that all back yard gardens can provide. Courtesy of ARAcontent