8 Ways to Transform Your Garden With Feng Shui


Sometimes life feels like a frenzy of chaotic energy. Luckily, your garden can provide a calm counterpoint — the yin (quiet) to your home’s yang (action). By designing your outdoor space using the ancient art of feng shui, you can enhance tranquility, improve relationships and, some say, maybe even increase money flow. Here are simple ways to lay the groundwork for greater well-being.


Feng shui (translated as “wind” and “water” and pronounced “fung shway”) is a venerable Chinese practice meant to promote beneficial energy through careful siting, orientation and placement, guided by the five natural elements of fire, earth, metal, water and wood.


To start, know the bagua or energy map of your garden. Search online for “bagua map.” From there you can take a compass reading of your property and begin mapping.


Even a small patio can bring auspicious energy. The key is creating a harmonious area that is comfortable, uncluttered, welcoming and well-balanced vis-à-vis the five elements.


The five elements appear in certain objects and plants and evoke different qualities and states of mind: earth, for grounding and balance, is in rocks, boulders and clay pots; wood, for creativity and growth, is in planters, benches and arbors; water, for spirituality and wisdom, is in birdbaths and fountains; fire, for leadership, is in lanterns, lights and fire pits; and metal, for logic and mental clarity, is in sculptures and wind chimes.


Undulating pathways allow a smoother energy (chi) flow. Nature has few straight lines, so mirror that principle with softly curving shapes for patios and garden beds.


Wind chimes are gently healing, and candles, stringed lights and lanterns invoke boldness and inspiration. Brighten dim areas and lift spirits with light-colored plants or even a gazing globe or mirror.


Choose certain hues for flowers, furniture and accessories to enhance specific energies: red for positive chi, pink for relaxation, purple for spirituality, blue for focus, black for uniqueness.


Bad plant shape, health or placement can bring “negative” feng shui, and the spiky cactus in particular is thought to bring threatening energy. Positive feng shui plants include citrus (in the health and wealth areas of your garden), jade for good fortune, bamboo for longevity, and tulips for love.

This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s print edition with the headline: “Plant Good Vibes”.