Feng Shui & Trees

These large, beautiful trees are behind the home, and serve as guardians.

Bill Bryson is my favorite writer, and this is from his book about Australia, Down Under: Travels in a Sunburned Country:

“Sydney has whole districts filled with palatial houses that seem to consist of nothing but balconies and plate glass, with scarcely a leaf to block the beating sun or interrupt the view. But here on the north shore, wisely and nobly, they have sacrificed large-scale vistas for the cool shade of trees, and every resident will, I guarantee, go to heaven.”

While I can’t guarantee the go-to-heaven part, planting shade trees is a big step toward creating a more heavenly Earth. The chi energy around your home is greatly increased by the presence of large trees. Life itself is a form of chi, and a tree invites a massive amount of life—birds, insects, squirrels, and various plant and animal life need trees. A mowed lawn has very little chi energy. The Earth needs the return of tall trees.

There are three sides of a home that benefit from trees—in the back, they represent guardians, and on the sides they help bring balance. It’s only in the front of a house that trees can be problematic in feng shui. The big rule is: Never plant a tree directly between your front door and the road. (This, of course, does not apply to large properties with woods. This rule is about standard home lots.)

In fact, any tree, anywhere in your front yard is best if it has a rounded, mounded, or flowing shape, rather than a tall vertical shape. Vertical shapes represent the Turtle (one of four archetypal energies that surround and protect a home) and those shapes are best in the back of a home. If there’s already a very vertical tree in your front yard (and you don’t want to remove it), read page 43 of my book, Feng Shui for Hawaii Gardens. The information applies to any home anywhere.

This bungalow home has a very inviting look. Unlike the example in my story, the two columnar shrubs flanking the stairs pose no problem because they are small and are not directly in front of the front door.

I consulted for a woman in Hilo years ago. The first thing I noticed about the property was that there was a line of columnar junipers (sometimes called Italian junipers) in front of the house. They looked, for all the world, like jail bars between the house and the road. When I mentioned that to my client, she said, “It’s funny you should say that. Since my brother planted those trees, I’ve become housebound. I used to have a business and drive myself everywhere. Now I have to rely on rides.” She said she would ask her brother to remove them, and that he would probably want them.

Here are the three priorities you should consider for tree planting:

  • Native trees—the trees that evolved in your area
  • Food trees—fruits and nuts
  • Fragrant trees—such as witch hazel and magnolia. The fragrance lifts our spirit.

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