A curvy path winding through the garden? Good feng shui. A prickly cactus plant in the family sector of the garden? Bad feng shui.
Feng shui is the Chinese practice of arranging your environment to create harmonious surroundings, which is said to help energize the nine life sectors: wealth, fame, relationships, family, health and well-being, children or creativity, knowledge, career and helpful people.
Use it to create a healthy garden and balanced life, gardeners say.
Feng shui literally means "wind and water." Practitioners use a bagua (pronounced bawg wah) shape, which is an energy pattern, to map out the sectors in your home, garden or office. On paper, the bagua looks like a square or rectangle and is broken into nine boxes, the center of which is health and well-being. A feng shui practitioner can look at the bagua and see how the entrance and sectors correspond to your home or garden. A session can range from under $100 to hundreds of dollars, depending on the size and scope of the consultation, what the client wants and how many people are involved.
GOOD FENG SHUI
If the terrain or quality of soil is affecting the growth of the garden, add some weather-resistant or kinetic sculptures.
Add surprise and whimsy. It makes you enjoy being in your garden.
Color is good. Choose yellow and red for the front of the house or garden to bring prosperity and get people's attention.
Use pots, like a blue porcelain, or plastic, which allows the soil to stay moist longer.
Plants with round leaves symbolize prosperity, because they resemble money. They can also be used inside the house. Put them in the prosperity sector, generally toward the back left corner of the bagua.
The relationship sector is located in the back right corner of the bagua. In a garden, place a sculpture of animals that mate for life, like wolves or owls. The color pink can also be used here.
Any bird bath in your garden needs to be kept clean and filled, especially if it's in the prosperity sector. Money can dry up.
Use stones that have visible minerals, like crystals, in them. These rocks fulfill the earth element and go in the center of the garden where they can catch the light.
If it's a large garden, put in lilac bushes. Have a curvy path around them that runs into a fountain and have a couple of chairs for people to sit and relax in.
Any edging in a garden should take on a meandering shape so it's curved. Square corners can form an arrow of negativity, especially when it's pointed toward a seating area. If there is an arrow like that, use a rounded plant or a sculpture to round off the corner.
Wind chimes are good. They help move sluggish energy.
BAD FENG SHUI
Don't use the same items and plants every year. Mix it up so the energy can flow and doesn't stay stagnant.
Avoid weeping plants, like weeping willows, especially in the relationship sector. Any weeping plant will bring misery to a relationship if you place it in that sector. Avoid anything like bleeding heart plants or mother-in-law's tongue with its leaves that look like blades of a sword. Steer clear of anything spiky in the garden.
Dried flowers are typically not ideal, but they're acceptable if you keep them looking nice. Replace them regularly.
Don't have big rocks in the garden sit on top of the soil. Dig the rock into the dirt, so it's somewhat buried. This subconsciously can create a feeling of more safety.
You can have a xeriscape garden only if there is also some water, otherwise it becomes too sterile and parched. Put potted plants around the rocks, so you'll have to water, or a bird bath or fountain that can be plugged in.