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The Feng Shui Garden
by Karyn Klaire
January 31, 2010

Feng Shui; The systematic approach of either welcoming or discouraging chi in specific locations, during a specific time frame. Chi is: The immeasurable energy that emanates from absolutely everything. Think of chi as the spirit of a mighty river, the song of the wind, the chill of crisp air and the presence of an imposing mountain crest. Feng Shui is like a biorhythm between people, the environment, and the world. Favourable Chi invites good health, wealth and happiness. We can manipulate Chi by effecting its nature by using the five elements; water, wood, earth, fire and metal. How appropriate for landscape design.

Feng Shui influence in garden landscape is certainly something to watch for in this Deuxlenium. Now, depending on the level of knowledge you wish to employ, you can integrate these ancient philosophies right in your own landscape design.

SUPERFICIAL FENG SHUI; this will include the ornamentations; pagodas, bamboo, grasses, water ponds. The majority of books that are available, are of this nature, they are based on Black Sect Tantaric Buddhist (or similar name) this group is a diluted, window dressing style of Feng Shui, which hailed from Berkeley, California, a few decades ago. It offers everyone the concept that you must place items in only one particular spot, based on where you enter the garden. That would make everyone’s back garden exactly the same. Yawn!

WESTERN FENG SHUI; Somewhere along the line, some folks got a little more knowledge, but stopped short for purposes of simplifying Feng Shui. FENG SHUI IS NOT SIMPLE.

As a garden design, it opened up more room for creativity, but restricted gardeners to always place such things as ponds, for example, only in the north. Sorry, but time changes things, and people are effected by influences differently, think biorhythms.

THE REAL STUFF; is based on the geography around you, the compass direction determined by using an Asian compass called a lo’pan and the state of chi at that time.

A Feng Shui audit looks like a series of mathematical combinations, placed on a grid of your property. Please note***Feng Shui for buildings is based on when the building was completed, which way it faces and sits, and the birthdate of all people who reside there, and the continually changing annual chi that arrives. 

The perfect feng shui site resembles an armchair. Mountain at the back, supporting ridges that cradle the home to either side that descend gradually, and a small plateau that sits in front of the body of water that the home faces. Now how often does that happen? Clever landscapers attempt to create these conditions with various methods; rows of plantings, landfill, water features, fences, berms etc.

What is usual in a FENG SHUI’ED GARDEN? A courtyard sensation is desired.

GARDEN ROOMS are often reached through MOONGATES, which are a circular type entrance, gateway or even a series of arched plantings. STATUARY is important, because the only way of manipulating chi, is by changing it’s nature with the addition or removal of water, wood, earth, fire and metal, so you have to be careful with placement of art and fire pits and barbeques. There should be a great respect for AGED WOODS, you will often find exposed gnarled trunks of trees with a bonsai/topiary nature. Other components are QUIET RESTING spaces and tranquil WATERPONDS. 

Linking the areas are WALKWAYS that incorporate a clever form of trickery. By placing stones close together, you are forced to mind your footing, then when a new vista around the bend is available to be viewed, the stones are placed further apart, allowing you to look about you, discovering the new area. STONES AND BOULDERS are an integral part of this Asian Fusion Design, because they add a stillness to an area. 

COLOURS, SHAPES AND TEXTURES OF PLANTS are important, because their look can cause effect. YIN AND YANG, simply means balancing. A yard with too much light needs trees to filter shade. A dark shady yard, requires a good trimming to let some of the sunlight in. 


There is no typical Feng Shui’ed Garden, an audit to determine your needs, makes every property’s perspectives totally individual and unique. Just like the nature of gardening itself. Trial and error, trends and personal tastes.

Karyn Klaire is the Producer/co-host of Feng Shui Life.

In 1995, she started to study and implement the principals in her home and garden.

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