Incorporating the elements into outdoor design

20 October, 2014

Feng shui is the concept of creating harmony in a space by incorporating certain design pieces. From colors to placement, feng shui outlines ways you can balance your home. You can even bring the concepts outside to your backyard by adding the five feng shui elements: wood, water, fire, earth and metal. As you put together your backyard, consider adopting these ideas for using the elements:

1. Wood

Represents: Creativity, growth, strength and flexibility

Colors: Blue and green

Materials: Wood, plants and natural fibers

Your backyard is naturally conducive to incorporating the wood element, as you likely already have plants. Consider adding a garden if you don't currently have one, or update your landscaping. You can also look for outdoor seating that has blue or green cushions. If your furniture doesn't match the colors used to express wood, you can always get replacement cushion covers.

2. Water

Represents: Wisdom, insightfulness and inspiration

Colors: Black, blue or any very deep shade

Materials: Reflective surfaces, wavy lines and water

You can take a very literal approach to the water element by installing a pool or fountain, or you can be more subtle. For example, you can hang a mirror on your outside wall near your deck. Also, stay away from straight lines and seek twisting surfaces in your furniture instead. Orbital loungers curve to fit the shape of the body and have a circular base, making them a great reflection of the movement of water.

3. Fire

Represents: Expression and boldness

Colors: Warm tones like red, pink or purple

Materials: Fire and light

Fire is a strong element that can make a statement in your backyard design. Get creative by incorporating numerous light sources in your space, such as chandeliers that hang from your covered deck, candles that sit on your outdoor coffee table or even a firepit. The idea is to keep your space bright both literally and in color. Decorate with brilliant shades of red, which you can apply in the form of outdoor seating cushions, throw pillows and decorations. 

4. Earth

Represents: Stability and balance

Colors: Earth tones like brown, yellow and green

Materials: Geometric shapes, stoneware and crystals

Not to be confused with wood, the earth element represents the ground. As such, the items you use to decorate your yard should resemble stones, dirt, etc. You can also use shape to harken to earth. You can get outdoor dining sets that feature both rock and a rectangular shape. For instance, a table with a stone top is the perfect nod to the earth element. 

5. Metal

Represents: Focus, organization and analysis

Color: Metallics such as gold, silver and bronze

Materials: Metal, round and oval shapes, chimes and other sound-producing objects

Having a touch of metal in your decor will add a unique dimension to your space. Consider mixing metal and fire by using metallic candle stands. You can also have round bistro tables and oval serving trays to speak to the shape representation of this element. Hang chimes made of metal pipes to add a pleasant melody to your yard and denote metal. 

You can incorporate any number of these elemental features in your outdoor design. For balance, try using all five!