In most Western Gardens, attention is paid to the forms shapes and materials but nothing is given to the concepts that move our gardens from beautiful spaces to places that help us contemplate our connection to the earth and the spirit that imbibes us. It is this lifting of the significance of the garden that enchants us when we see what the Chinese and Japanese have created in their gardens. These gardens are not constructed to recreate nature but to capture the essence of nature in forms, shapes and materials for the purpose of lifting the human spirit. Read more from landscape design and feng shui expert, Shelley Sparks
We don’t have to clone these genera to create gardens that are meaningful. We can create beautiful, restorative, healthy spaces using designs, plants and materials that are in concert with our houses, land and aesthetic sensibilities. What can be learned from these gardens and is of great importance in a Feng Shui garden is to design using natural shapes, including the five senses and introducing elements such as water features found in the natural environments.
There are many layers in the design process. There is the layer of designing a garden that is beautiful and does not violate any Feng Shui principles. There is the level where natural elements, shapes and the senses are included in the landscape design. Then there is the garden that reaches for much more by including plants, rocks and other elements that hold an innate or cultural significance to give the composition a richer intent. In many cultures, plants are revered for their healing powers. Deeper meanings are attached to their existence in a garden. Using plants that have meaning helps to lift the spirit every time one sees that plant. For instance, in Chinese culture, the pine is associated with longevity. Every time this tree is encountered in the garden, the owner is reminded of the potential for that aspect in their life and the energy that provides that life force.
The study of Feng Shui is a lifelong endeavor under which nuances are discovered and learned constantly. A landscape architect who wishes to use Feng Shui principles can begin with the dictum “Do No Harm.”
Here are a few of the principles that can be followed to insure good energy flow in the garden:
- Design the front walkway using curves to soften the entry. Nature abhors a straight line and a straight line path to the front door from the street is a jarring force for the occupants of the house.
- Entrances should convey an open, spacious, grand feeling. The entry should truly welcome the occupant. Narrow constricted paths feel limiting and can adversely affect a person’s fortunes.
- Healthy plants especially trees are a sign of good energy on a property. Plants need to be cared for and well maintained. It is important that trees and large shrubs do not block the front entry or walkway.
- Trees should be selected and located to be in scale with the house. Large trees located close to the house will overwhelm and overshadow its occupants.
Article/Images Source: Landscape Design and Feng Shui