Translating to “wind” and ”water”, feng shui has been around for about 6,000 years. And while it has grown popular in the western world for use in interior decorating, it’s only recently that feng shui has made its way indoors. Before migrating to the U.S. in the 70’s, feng shui was used as a means of manipulating outdoor spaces so as to achieve a harmonious balance with nature, allowing for the proper flow of good “chi”, or energy. While it can get complicated, it’s relatively easy to utilize some basic elements of feng shui outside your own home.
Feng Shui 101
In order to put feng shui to use, you first need to understand the core principles of the philosophy. To start, feng shui recognizes five basic elements, each of which corresponds to their own colors and cardinal directions. They are:
- Fire: red, yellow, orange, purple, and pink
- Earth: brown, green, and sandy colors
- Wood: green and blue
- Water: blue and black
- Metal: white, grey, and silver
Next up is the Bagua, a map of eight symbols that are found in Taoism, another Chinese philosophy. Representing different aspects of one’s life, each symbol has a path leading to it which is made up of three lines. The lines are either broken or unbroken, so as to maintain the proper balance of yin (negative energy) and yang (positive energy). Found primarily in western schools of feng shui, the bagua is used to map out and balance the energy in a home or, in this case, an outdoor space.
In With the Good, Out With the Bad
When it comes to outdoor feng shui, the most important step in also the easiest: painting your front door. This is important because the front door serves as the threshold to and from your home. What that means is that it controls a significant amount of the type of energy you let into your home, as well as the energy you carry with you when you leave.
Depending on the direction in which your door faces, there are different colors which are either compatible or incompatible. This is where the elements and colors listed earlier start to become important, as each of them will affect your home’s energy in different ways. Below is a chart for determining which color is right for your door.
Once your front door is painted, the next step is to make sure your entryway is also conducive to a good flow of chi. You’ll want to make sure to clean up around your front door, so remove any dead plants, cracked pots, tools, etc. and make sure to find another place for those recycling and trash bins. Also, be sure to enter and exit through your front door; not only have you spent time sprucing it up but entering through more dimly lit and less cared for entrances could mean taking some extra bad chi into your home with you.
Creating Harmony In Your Yard
When it’s time for you to start on your yard, be sure to keep the different elements and their corresponding directions in mind as this is a great opportunity to active some of the different pockets of energy around your home. Here are the basics:
- North: associated with your career, this is a great spot in your yard for a water feature like a fountain or a small pond.
- Northeast: representing spiritual growth and inner knowledge, place your garden in this section of your yard.
- East: this is the perfect spot for a long-living tree as this area is associated with health and longevity.
- Southeast: activate this area with purple and gold colors, as well as wood accents, to have better financial luck.
- South: associated with fire, this is the perfect spot for a grill or fire pit.
- Southwest: this area corresponds to love and relationships, so make this a comfy spot with lots of pinks, red, and yellow.
- West: as this direction is for creativity, this would be a great spot to either set up an easel (or another artistic endeavor) or to reserve for children.
- Northwest: home to new people and travel, this is a good area to allow new and old friends to mingle and can be activated by metal elements and metallic colors.
When you’re working on your garden, be mindful of the shape you’re building it in. In order to have good feng shui, make sure the layout is similar to the winding, flowing shape of a river. Harsh edges are not found in nature and should be avoided in your garden wherever possible.
Since you’re already heading out to get some paint for your front door, take a look at the rest of your home too. In order to achieve a proper balance with nature, your home should match its surroundings, be they natural or man-made. You do, however, want some pops of color on accents such as window trim, which should match your front door. Following this rule will allow your house to be more harmonious with its’ surroundings and attract more good chi.