Summer time Feng Shui

Summer time is the perfect season to ‘Feng Shui’ your home and garden.

According to Essential Feng Shui®, being in Nature, up close and personal, turns UP the supply of energy that sustains your vitality, loving relationships, and an overall sense of well-being. Essential Feng Shui® also gleans wisdom from Chinese Medicine, relating summer time with laughter and heart-centered activities. Tis the season for projects that are fun and collaborative, and that deepen your connection with Nature.

Summertime Feng Shui with Terah Kathryn Collins

Community Garden by Carolyn Kates

A COMFORTING EMBRACE
A great place to start is to assess how your home is situated on the land. Feng Shui, literally translated as “wind and water,” focuses on your safety, comfort, and happiness. To assure these qualities are literally held in place, homes are ideally located where the elements of wind and the water are not too close and not too far away. These ‘just right’ sites include a protective embrace of natural features such as mountains, hills, or trees around the back and sides, and a beautiful view of water from the front. Open your Feng Shui eyes and take a look at how your location corresponds with these guidelines.

Clearly, the location of most homes doesn’t fit this description. You may live on the edge of a cliff, atop a hill or mountain, or in a canyon or lowland. It may be the opposite of an ideal Feng Shui configuration, with a big hill in the front that blocks incoming Ch’i and a pool in the back that offers little protection. Relax. The good news is there are many ways you can capture the essence of an ideal location. And, the more your projects are fun for you and your kids, family members, friends, and neighbors, the better!

For instance, throw a potluck party with close friends and plant evergreen plants in your back yard together. Eat, drink, and make memories while adding a natural backbone of protection to your home. Create your own little ‘barn raising’ by inviting the neighbors over to help install side yard foliage or fencing, followed by a barbeque. Neighborly collaboration increases a comforting embrace around your home in more ways than one. Involve your children in choosing and planting ornamental or fruit trees to define a property line. The fruit and flowers of your labors will nurture your family and enhance your sense of safety, comfort, and beauty throughout every season.

Don’t have any land to play with? There’s still plenty of things you can do to enhance your location. Houseplants, screens, art depicting Nature, and window treatments can be arranged to promote your sense of security, comfort, and beauty indoors.

Summertime Feng Shui with Terah Kathryn Collins

Photographer: Unknown

A WATER VIEW
Water is classically located in front of a house to increase the energy flow into your home. When you don’t already have a water feature in your front yard, you can add one via a birdbath, fountain, urn, pond, stream, pool, or waterfall.

When choosing a fountain, select one that flows 360 degrees around, like many fountains in plazas and courtyards. Or, install a waterfall or fountain to face toward your front door, directing the flow of Ch’i into your home. Most kids love water, making it a fun Summer project to find and install the water feature with them.

No front yard? Consider placing a small water feature or aquarium in your foyer or entry area. When there is space for it, create your own mini-garden by including plants or flowers in your design.

Please note that any water feature requires maintenance. While a bird bath or fountain takes a few minutes to maintain each week, a stream, pool, pond, or aquarium may require hours. When choosing a water feature that’s right for you, consider the time that you or a hired professional will need to keep it fresh and beautiful. Once you’ve made a choice, enjoy your water view, knowing that it is a timeless Ch’i enhancement, prized for uplifting and nurturing all aspects of your life.

Looking for more ‘fun shui’ Summer projects? Here are 9 more ways to enjoy yourself:

  1. Grow food! Integrate veggies and fruit trees into your garden design; fill planters with edibles; and team up with neighbors to grow and harvest food together.
  2. Include bird feeders, plants having berries and flowers that birds and butterflies love, and other enhancements that encourage helpful creatures to visit your garden.
  3. Design an gracious path to your front door that includes points of interest, such as statuary, wind chimes, a water feature, or seating.
  4. Create a fabulous view outside every window and door. Be creative!
  5. Design curvy meandering pathways, patios, and borders to compliment the straight lines of your home’s architecture.
  6. Create aesthetically pleasing and organized storage areas for trash cans, tools, and garden supplies.
  7. Plant protective landscaping in the front of your home when it’s located on a busy street, at the end of a cul-de-sac, or at a T-junction.
  8. Include very comfortable outdoor seating where you can relax and enjoy your surroundings.
  9. Install plenty of lovely lighting to enhance the safety and enjoyment of your handiwork. 

Summertime Feng Shui with Terah Kathryn Collins

Photo by Amy Chini

Remember, the fun, laughter, and camaraderie you enjoy sows Good Ch’i into everything you do. May your Summer time projects remind you of great times with lovely people for years to come!

 

Terah Kathryn Collins is a best-selling author and the founder of the Western School of Feng Shui®. She is also the originator of Essential Feng Shui®, which focuses on the many valuable applications Feng Shui has in our Western culture while honoring the essence of its Eastern heritage.  Read more about Terah.

 

This Feng Shui is for the Birds

Have you seen a bird today? Did you hear its song? Did you know that birdsong helps plants grow? The presence of birds and their songs lifts our spirits and raises the energy of our spaces. Keep reading to learn more about how to make your garden both feng shui and nature friendly by Alisa Rose Seidlitz.

You’ve probably heard that for good Feng Shui it is essential to get clutter cleared away, yes? Keeping clutter around usually drags us down. So you may be surprised to learn that sometimes, in some places, keeping “clutter” is literally essential for sustaining LIFE. Keeping it in our gardens and for the birds, that is!

As the seasons change, birds are migrating and clean-up is in full swing in the garden. However, did you know that leaving some clutter, some ‘mess’, greatly helps the birds?

Birds and Nature, Alisa Rose SeidlitzBirds feed on bugs and worms they find on plants, in healthy soil and mulch, on berries and other fruit, and on the seeds which form after flowers finish blooming.  What we consider messy areas needing clean-up are actually great foraging places for birds. In fact, birds depend on finding these sources of nourishment more than ever now.

Due to multiple factors, including urban expansion, drought or flooding, and use of pesticides, there’s much less available to feed upon in the wild. So our gardens become crucial habitat and food resources for birds, pollinators such as bees and butterflies, and other wildlife.

By doing less, by reframing what you consider mess, and by letting the ‘clutter’ stay awhile, you can truly help!

In urban environments and even in the suburbs, birds, like all living beings (including humans!) still need at least some ‘wildness’ to thrive!

A wide variety of plants provide seeds which birds need and enjoy.

  • Instead of deadheading (removing) spent flowers, leave the seed heads in place for birds to dine upon.
  • Instead of raking or sweeping away fallen leaves, let them stay on the ground, as birds love to forage there.
  • Leave thickets of plants, even dry-looking, with spent flowers and all, as shelter.
  • Dried flower stalks, too, offer great perches to keep birds safe, even during wintertime.

In addition to making meals, the ‘mess’ in your garden makes bird nests! They use dried grasses, twigs, plant stems, leaves, bits of bark, grass clippings and even animal hair to make their homes.

Birds and Nature, Alisa Rose Seidlitz     Birds and Nature, Alisa Rose Seidlitz    Birds and Nature, Alisa Rose Seidlitz

The above photos shown here were taken at Ashby Community Garden in Berkeley, California – a delightful, free-flowing, rustic and bountiful place, where food for humans grows, along with a smorgasbord of yummies for our fellow creatures. With soft and permeable sheet-mulched pathways and deep, healthy soil, this pollinator garden has continued to thrive despite the drought.  Birds, butterflies, native bees and others abound among various yarrows, salvias, scabiosa, yellow dock, echinacea, buddleia, feverfew, sunflower, asclepias, tithonia and lavender, to name just a few plants which have free and ‘messy’ range. At one point recently, scores of little birds (finches, perhaps?) sat on a dry fennel stalks, eating well and loudly singing out their gratitude!

During dry weather, in every season, please remember to put out a bit of water somewhere in your garden for birds and pollinators (yes, pollinators also need sustenance year ’round), and of course do lighten your load of clean-up chores by leaving it for the birds!

That’s the BEST Feng Shui!

  
Alisa Rose SeidlitzAlisa Rose Seidlitz is a longtime Ecological Garden Designer, Certified Green Building Professional, GreenAP for Interiors, Graceful Lifestyles Certified Interior Re-Designer, Flower Essence and Reiki Practitioner. Read more about Alisa Rose.

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