How to Create a Zen Garden Space
How Can I Feng Shui My Garden Space?
When you think of Feng Shui, you may primarily consider the interior of your home. However, Feng Shui is not limited to just indoor spaces, and you can use its principles outdoors in your garden to create an outdoor oasis.
One of the most important aspects of Feng Shui is to create a balance between the elements of nature. Add elements like water features, trees, and plants to your garden to bring in more natural energy. Water features like fountains, ponds or birdbaths can help to create a sense of peace and tranquillity. Additionally, planting trees or flowers can help to create a sense of balance and harmony in the space.
Even if you have a very small garden, you can still work with Feng Shui principles. Choose a spot that faces the sunrise and make sure the area is well lit, as this will help bring energy and life into the space. Try to arrange the furniture and other elements in a balanced and symmetrical way to create a sense of harmony. To make the garden feel more inviting, add soft lighting such as lanterns or strings of lights, and place curved or winding pathways to add a sense of flow.
Google searches for “Zen Garden Ideas” have soared by 200% since the beginning of May and wellbeing trends are shaping decisions in 2023 from interior design preferences to lifestyle choices. And, after three million people across the nation said that having access to a green space throughout the pandemic improved their mental health*, “Wellness Gardens” are high on the agenda for homeowners as they look to maintain their mental and physical wellbeing.
To provide some advice for those looking to create an outdoor space to unwind in this Summer, our garden room expert, Sam Jenkinson has teamed up with Feng Shui expert Anna Elkington from Melody Maison, to reveal the six zen-focussed design tips to take note of.
Here are some simple guidelines to help you create a harmonious and inviting garden space.
Declutter your Garden Space
Your happiness, focus, energy, and general well-being could all be negatively impacted by unnecessary clutter. Curating your stuff and being selective about what you keep are necessary for a simplified space.
Anna explains, “Having a clutter free garden is essential to provide a good flow of energy and a healthy space to relax. Feng Shui promotes a clear mindset and an organised space reflects those feelings.”
Sam recommends, “Store away any gardening tools that have been left lying around, empty planters or unused garden accessories and toys in a shed. This will leave your garden looking neat and tidy whilst providing a home for interchangeable garden features and equipment when they are not being used.”
Use Natural Materials in Your Garden
Sam says, “Natural materials often have symbolic associations in Feng Shui. For example, wood is associated with growth, vitality, and flexibility. Similarly, stone is associated with stability, grounding, and strength.
“An easy to way to bring wood and stone into your garden is by opting for a traditional garden building or shed made from timber and placing decorative stone and terracotta planters around it to create a harmonious area. Using this as a place to relax and escape to will keep you feeling grounded.”
Incorporate the Wind and Water
Anna advises, “The term Feng Shui translates directly as 'wind water', feng meaning 'wind' and shui meaning 'water'. This corresponds to the idea of human life being connected with the environment and these elements which promote balance, comfort and overall good health.”
For a calming space that celebrates both wind and water, Sam suggests, “Incorporate features and accessories that will use these elements to create a sensory experience in your garden. Hang decorative windchimes from the ledges of your garden building or surrounding fences. Opt for a water fountain or pond to bring some running water into your landscape and enhance your space. These relaxing sounds of nature will enhance the feeling of tranquillity in your space.”
Curate the Perfect Plant Mix
Colour can be used to improve a space by utilising the Ba Gua (Feng Shui energy map) planting guidelines.
Feng Shui states that some plants have a more advantageous effect on the qi in your environment than others. Growing upward is significantly better for plants than growing downward. This represents thriving growth.
Each segment of the Ba Gua can be represented by a colour or colours. Like how Feng Shui is used in homes, you can improve a specific area of your garden by growing something in that place that is the correct colour. Start planning your garden space based around colourful planting.
North - Your career is represented in this area. In this section of your garden, plant dark flowers or think about constructing a small pond.
North-East - This area is knowledge and is split between family and career. This area should be planted with deep blues, greens, and black flowers.
North-West - Benefactor's is represented here situated between children and career. You should grow white, grey, silver, and black plants in this area.
East - Family and health are represented in this region. Family is symbolised by greens like tall, thriving shrubs or trees, while health is symbolised by yellow flowers like marigolds, chrysanthemums, and roses.
South - This region stands for fame. You should put red geraniums, roses, or local flora here.
Tiger Tip - Plant bamboo for your family and fame. There are bamboos for almost every growing condition. It is a very powerful, aggressive plant that gets rather tall. This expansion would benefit the family area. Plant some bamboo that is growing swiftly if you want to gain notoriety and a good reputation quickly. Check out the RHS Bamboo Growing Guide.
South-East - This region is a symbol of riches. You want green, red, and purple colours in this area because it is between family and fame. Plant trees with round leaves for fortune. A specific tree known as the "money tree" in China has leaves that resemble coins or money. Similar spherical leaves can be found on the silver dollar tree; a eucalyptus species.
Tiger Tip - Also consider trees of oranges, apples, and persimmons for good fortune. Persimmons and apple trees are symbols of peace and wealth, while orange trees are considered lucky and auspicious.
South-West - This region stands for matrimony. Use any shade between white and red, such as pink, in the area between fame and children.
West - This region stands for kids. Plant white plants like night-blooming jasmine or gardenias.
Anna explains, “Incorporating healthy plants and flowers into your garden is important to encourage good Feng Shui as they promote balance and positivity. However, the types of plants you incorporate are essential to achieve the positive flow of chi. Try to avoid any plants that are spikey or have harsh edges, for example cacti, as they can easily disrupt the flow and energy in your garden.”
Sam adds, “Layering greenery of different shades and textures will add depth to your garden and create the illusion that you are being engulfed by the nature around you, helping you to disconnect and unwind. Living walls are a great idea that can be used to camouflage hard-lined structures and unnatural elements of a garden that could prevent a good flow of energy, just make sure your base surface is structurally sound.”
Tiger Summerhouse | Wooden Summerhouse | Tiger Sheds | Tiger Sheds
Using Light to Enhance your Space
Anna says, “Lighting is a big element of Feng Shui landscapes, traditionally it can be seen using paper lanterns to create harmony and bring good luck. However, there is now a much broader range of lighting options available, placing this lighting around your garden will provide a guideway in the dark and attract good energy flow. Elements of fire can benefit Feng Shui as well as lighting your garden. Installing a fire pit can provide a great area to relax with guests under the night sky.”
Sam comments, “There’s a whole plethora of garden lights to choose from but for a less invasive look and to incorporate them seamlessly into your natural landscape, I’d recommend hanging lights as a first choice. These can be weaved through branches and trees or even laid on top of living walls to let the light shine through your green hues for enhanced relaxation.”
Mirrors are also an important part of Feng Shui. Place it to make sure it’s reflecting a beautiful view and for smaller gardens to expand a space and make it lighter.
Feng Shui your Seating Area
Creating a dedicated seating area in your garden with the right furniture placement can also help strengthen your relationships and encourage prosperity in your family. Make sure you have enough seats so that all guests have an equal place to sit ‘in equal standing’. A round table to congregate round can also facilitate a smoother flow of energy through the space. A fire feature can also create a focal point to create more warmth in this area.
Something like this beautiful garden pergola is a quick and easy way to create a wonderful seating zone in your garden.
No matter the size of your garden, following these Feng Shui principles will help you create an outdoor oasis that’s full of positive energy. With a few simple steps, you can create a garden that’s both beautiful and harmonious.