Feng Shui Design for your Garden
The rules of Feng Shui governing the meanings of compass directions, plant symbols and colors can help bring internal and external alignment and balance to a garden. Feng Shui rests on two premises: that your state of mind or energy affects your environment, and that your environment likewise affects your internal state. Confusion and discord result when the alignment of inner and outward energy is poor.
Inner balance is promoted by meditation and concentration techniques such as contemplation of the I Ching (Book of Changes) or the life of the Buddha. A Zen garden can be an excellent place to meditate and cultivate inward attention and harmony with the environment. Outward alignment concerns compass directions, form, and even the relevance of your horoscope. Alignment with these measures of time and space through landscaping design and the placement of garden décor helps bring harmony to your life.
There are five groups of color meanings in Feng Shui. The yellows represent royalty, white represents purity, blue and black represent heaven and blessings, green represents longevity, and red represents joy, fame and luck. Colors also correspond with the compass directions. A green stone Buddha statue can be placed on the east side of a garden, while a black decorative Buddha figure might belong on the north side instead.
Animal symbolism is also important in Feng Shui. Animal figurines that symbolize luck or longevity can be combined with decorative Buddha figures in a garden. A tortoise and a hare both represent longevity, conch shells and deer represent good fortune and prosperity, and bats represent good luck.
Patterns are symbolic as well, and the choice of borders and garden paving can represent long life if it resembles tortoiseshell, wisdom if the shape resembles clouds, wealth if it uses round symbols similar to coins, or heaven if the design resembles rippling water.
The north side of a garden is a center of wisdom and willpower that should be dominated by dark blues like navy and curved, asymmetrical shapes signifying water. The plum blossom is the flower most strongly associated with the direction north, and it symbolizes youth, beauty and long life. Dark orchids that signify beauty, strength and gracefulness or blue irises are appropriate here.
The east side of a garden can attract kindness to your life and promote coordination and good judgment in important decisions. Here greens and blues should dominate, wood fixtures are appropriate, and a long life Buddha statue depicted with a gourd can promote good health. The flower associated with the east is the peony, which symbolizes love, wealth and nobility. Green pine trees signify long life in Feng Shui symbolism, while oak represents masculine strength and virility.
The south side of a garden signifies love and courage, and the colors of fire such as red and purple belong here. The flower associated with the south is the lotus, which symbolizes fruitfulness. Triangles or sharp angular shapes are appropriate landscaping designs for this side of the garden. Red and purple flowers with symbolic significance in Feng Shui include the azalia, which represents feminine grace, and cherry blossoms, which represent red lips and feminine beauty.
The west side of a garden signifies justice and orderliness, and the colors silver or gray and white are good complements. Shapes should be round or oval, and a metal Buddha statue might be appropriate. The flower associated with this compass direction is the chrysanthemum, which is associated with joyousness and long life. White plants with Feng Shui symbolic significance include apple blossoms, associated with peace and prosperity, and magnolias, associated with feminine sweetness.