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What is Feng Shui and how do we use it in our homes and gardens?

What is Feng Shui and how does it affect us?

The mystery of feng shui is easily unravelled once you peel back the layers of language and ideas. What is feng shui? And how does a feng shui novice use it in their home and garden? The concept is simple and can be reduced to the basic feeling of being comfortable within a space. You have probably noticed how your surroundings can make you react. For example, most of us have a preference when it comes to choosing a table at which to sit within a café.  We like to have a view of our surroundings and to have easy access. The same principles can be applied to a home.

Lucky Bamboo is frequently used in feng shui. Living, growing plants are good for us! Feng shui (pronounced 'fung shway') is all about spatial arrangement which has the capability to affect our comfort in both mind and body. Basically, it is believed that things can easily affect the flow of energy within a space. An easy flow can make us feel good whereas obstacles create an annoyance.

Chinese symbols and features are highly relevant to the art of feng shui. The concept of feng shui originated in China where energy or life force is called chi. This immediately confuses many of us who assume that it must be out of reach because the language is unfamiliar.  Chinese people are naturally philosophical and spiritual and it is easy to see why they might pick up on subtle, invisible fields that are not blatantly obvious. We can tune into our subconscious needs and reap the benefits.

The beginner's guide to feng shui

It's mainly about 'flow' and as much to do with the spaces between things as it is the actual items themselves. Here's a simple guide to help you on your Feng Shui journey:

An uncluttered space and some well-placed house plants. These are all helpful when considering the art of feng shui.

Ensure your space is clear of clutter.

Clean and tidy rooms reflect the state of the inner mind. This is also relevant to the front entry point which should be clean and well maintained. You want to create a feeling of positivity so all rubbish bins should be hidden. A sturdy, well-made front door signifies sound judgement, security and reliability.

A tidy room is symbolic of a tidy mind. It does you good to clear your clutter!

Daylight and ventilation is important.

Ensure windows are clean and clear them of anything that blocks the light. Sunlight and any natural light makes people feel good and can promote energy from within. Always have fresh air, if only from a window vent.

One of the most important jobs you can do is to clean your windows! You will be amazed by the difference it makes! Living plants should be an integral part of the interior. They filter the air; produce oxygen and have the capability to remove a surprising amount of toxins. Plants have an energy which is unique and they strengthen the relationship between occupants and environment. Chinese people believe that plants bring good fortune provided they are not positioned to block the flow of energy.

Lucky bamboo is a really strong symbol of good luck. It's all about the number of stems!

Furniture should be placed to aid circulation.

Any sharp edges need to be faced away from the general flow of pedestrian traffic. Furniture should not block the vision. Particularly important in an office where the desk will ideally allow the seated worker to survey the room with his or her back to the wall. A ‘commanding’ position is said to increase productivity.

The positioning of furniture is very important in effective feng shui.

Stop your energy from escaping!

The basic principles of feng shui suggest that positive energy flowing in through the front door needs to be channelled around the house rather than being allowed to breeze straight through and out the back door. The design of a house should ideally avoid this 'through draught' and it is therefore highly beneficial if you are unable to see the back door from the front.

Don't allow your positive energy to sweep straight through the house and away!

The same ideas can relate to gardens too.

Ideally there will be a circulation 'flow' around the space which is provided by more than one route  i.e. steps up to a lawn and perhaps a slope leading down again. Large features rather than small should be incorporated and nothing to clutter the space. Rounded edges and forms are preferable.

Garden features should be large rather than small and fiddly. Small spaces look bigger when they contain large features.

The art of placement is key!

Try to balance shapes and forms throughout the house and garden, but not neccessarily in a symmetrical pattern. The natural form doesn't often follow formal symmetry.

You can allude to symmetry but it's best to avoid formal symmetry if you are hoping to achieve a good feng shui balance.

Colours can be used in feng shui to promote positive energy.

Yellow tones are nourishing and happy colours. Red is for romance, passion and vibrant fire. Pastel tones are good for relaxing and black tends to encourage reflection. Most colours have an associated meaning. 

Use colour to achieve certain energy. Some colours are better than others!

The aim is to live in harmony with not only the environment but to make sure your house is in harmony with you.

This includes making a home in which you feel you belong, and finding your place within the local community too.

Live in harmony with your home and this will spread to other areas of your life too.

Combining elements.

Feng shui comes from two Chinese words meaning wind and water. The combined elements of air and water represent life itself. It's important to remember we are all part of the life force and we can choose to live in harmony or to deliberately clash by allowing mis-alignment. It will affect our everyday state of mind.  

The elements are strongly represented in feng shui.

By Perfect Plants


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