|Feng Shui in my Garden
Published in the six Nashoba Publishing papers on Friday, 22 February 2002
The lay of the land influences our deep minds: we feel different at the seashore, in lake country, on a mountaintop.... When we build, we influence this; city planners, architects, and interior designers all keep in mind the psychological effects of how we shape our physical space. As science investigates the mind-body connection, we realize that our space also affects us physically. The Chinese, who have been studying this influence for a long time, call it "Feng Shui," pronounced "fung-shway."
The study of Feng Shui can get pretty involved, with elaborate rules and concepts from a culture very different from ours. But I think you can use the basic concepts without all that: how does the energy flow in the space you are designing? How does that flow make you feel?
When I started landscaping our front yard, there was no walk from the street to the house, just a dirt path in March and April, mud. How did the energy flow? With difficulty. I wanted a path with ease and graciousness. I found some big flat stones that had been in creek beds, so they were rounded with the shapes that water makes, and built a nice wide path, that would feel spacious, with plenty of room. I made it in a gentle S-curve, so the energy wouldn't move too fast, but feel relaxed.
The footprint of our house is an L-shape. The Chinese say that the missing corner, where the house does not fill in a whole rectangle, leaves a whole quality of life out of the energy pattern of the house: classical Feng Shui attributes qualities like health, wealth, and love to specific areas in a space. I don't know about that, but it did seem to me that the house was looking out of that empty angle, facing toward the empty corner, pouring energy down a slope and out of the yard. I built a garden bed in a curve facing the corner, to embrace that energy, and circulate it back.
In the back yard, the entrance from the lawn to the main garden is through the arch of a rose arbor. The path zooms away straight for a ways after that, but the eye and the heart! pauses at that dramatic arch. Standing under it, even when the roses aren't blooming, the energy is noticeable to everyone. It feels pregnant with a sense of transition to a special world.
For more infomation: there's lots on Feng Shui on the Web, for example the World of Feng Shui Online.
© Copyright 2002 Catherine Holmes Clark