This year, I pulled out my backyard furniture and set it up the same way I always do. I’ve had the same patio furniture for a few years, and have grown comfortable with my arrangement.
Comfortable, and bored.
I began to wonder if there was a better way to organize my backyard furnishings. A way that would not only spice up my tired design, but improve my standard of living, since I spend a good amount of time in this space during the summer.
The art of Feng Shui came to mind. This historic practice has helped me rearrange my outdoor furniture in a way that wows visitors and revitalizes my entire home. If you’re looking to enlighten your backyard experience, here are a few backyard Feng Shui tips to get you started.
1. The Mountain is Behind and Water is In Front
This is the No. 1 rule in Feng Shui for outdoor spaces, and it can be interpreted in many different ways. Feng means “breeze” and Shui means “water”, so many of the design tips that originate from Feng Shui are designed to improve the flow of these two elements.
If possible, design your yard with the larger pieces–trees, fences, large fixtures–away from the house, and fill in the space with smaller items, like shrubs, flowers, and fountains. Keep this in mind with furniture items as well, placing a large hammock or umbrella behind potted plants or chairs.
2. Clear Barriers From Your Doorway
Chi, sometimes spelled qi, is the life force energy in Feng Shui that dictates much of the design rules. Chi should be allowed to flow freely, throughout the yard as well as between indoor and outdoor spaces.
To maximize the flow of positive energy through and around your home, keep the door to the backyard free and clear of barriers. If you are doing some landscaping, avoid planting large bushes or trees near the door. Move your outdoor sofa away from the door and open up the space to the whole yard, instead of dividing the patio and the lawn with a physical barrier.
3. Improve Your Wealth With Water
Feng Shui expert and co-founder of the Feng Shui Institute of the Midwest, Carole Hyder, says on her blog, “One of the features that is almost a requirement in a Feng Shui garden is the element of water.”
She says that water represents flow, movement, and eternity, and is the place from which all life arises and returns.
Water in Feng Shui is said to bring wealth to a home, as well as improve your yard’s chi. Try to add a water fixture or two to your backyard. A small fountain or pond are desirable, but a bird-bath is another smaller option. Hyder also says, “Japanese gardens use rocks to give the illusion of water. If having water of any kind is out of the question, then a dry bed may be the right answer.”
4. Build a Tranquility Fortress
Your backyard should be protected from the elements. Air, wind and noise pollutants should be reduced as much as possible using natural barriers. In ancient times the Chinese built their villages in the valleys of mountains, which provided protection from natural elements and enemies. Today, trees and rocks are commonly used to secure backyard sanctuaries.
Rocks are a popular barrier building material as rock is said to deflect negative energy and provide a sense of stability and security. Stone walls around pathways, stone steps, and rock gardens are some suggested ways to protect and privatize your outdoor space.
5. Don’t Let the Dextral Tiger Dominate
In Feng Shui, the dragon resides on the left of your property while the tiger lives on the right. The rule is that the tiger should never be higher than the dragon, or else the tiger can invade your home and cause mayhem.
Although it isn’t possible to elevate the left side of your house above the right, you can practice this principle in your design. Move taller items, such as your outdoor sofa or end table, to the left side and leave smaller items like the coffee table on the right when arranging your patio furniture. Left and right are determined from your position looking out from the doorway entering the yard.
6. Allow Energy to Wander
Another principle in Feng Shui is that a pathway to your home or garden should be like a meandering stream, not a straight road. If the path is too straight, the chi can pass by too quickly, missing your home. But a curvy path forces the chi to slow down and enter your home, bringing positive change.
Hyder also cautions, “If there are parts of your garden or yard you can’t get to or don’t access, something is going to be dormant in your own life.” Use pathways to access even the more hidden or hard-to-get-to corners of your backyard to help open up your own life.
7. Utilize Bagua to Choose Colors
Bagua color theory is a tool that associates colors with the five elements–Earth, Fire, Metal, Water and Wood–to create nine zones. When the zones are balanced, one will find well being, but over- or under-emphasis on any zone can create dysfunction.
With Bagua, each color correlates to characteristics that you can bring to a space. For health, invite warm yellows and light browns. Blues are connected to one’s life path and career. To ignite your relationship, introduce fiery reds and passionate pinks. Bagua color theory is used to create harmony and beauty, and can break up any color monotony settling into your outdoor space.
The basics of quality design apply to more than the interior of a home. Outdoor spaces are becoming active living areas and a boring design can stop conversation and inspiration in its tracks. Try experimenting with different outdoor furniture arrangements or introducing new items into your backyard design, perhaps you’ll find yourself experiencing a more balanced, positive life as a result.
http://www.fengshui-tips.org/feng-shui-landscaping.html; http://www.lushome.com/11-feng-shui-garden-design-tips-backyard-landscaping-ideas/43312; http://www.carolehyder.com/gardens; http://www.carolehyder.com/garden-alive-feng-shui-on-the-path; http://homeguides.sfgate.com/feng-shui-color-theory-103448.html; http://www.cubehills.com/feng-shui-color-theory/