Feng Shui & Outdoor Spaces

Your garden may have a specific purpose or style, and often the physical constraints of your home’s location will impact the type of garden you are able to cultivate. Be it humble or grand, your garden can do wonders for your life.

I got this email recently, and I’ve had time to reply, so I thought I’d share the information beyond the person who asked.

“I’ve been using your books and blog posts to work on my home, especially the outside garden and yard. I have found it very satisfying. Thank you for your offerings!

“I am especially interested in the outside spaces of settings such as child care centres, palliative care centres and aged care homes [caring spaces] and doing some further feng shui reading and study and wondered if you could recommend any titles.”

And here’s what I replied:

Here’s how I deal with those kinds of unusual situations when I’m called to work with designers on the project:

  • I alert the designers about poison arrows—no sharp right angles. (Experienced designers generally know not to install sharp right angles in spaces where delicate people go.)
  • I look around the larger visible environment (neighboring trees and buildings) to see if anything looks like a foreboding object, and if so, I (usually) recommend a mirror to symbolically reflect away the influence of the problematic object.
  • Then, if it seems like the designers are experienced people, I try to stay out of the way. If they’re experienced, they know more than I do about the particular needs and details of designing such spaces.
  • I do recommend trees. They are what bring the birds, and birds are big in feng shui, as far as assuring good energy in an outdoor space.

And here’s the reading list I sent. (I can never write a plain reading list—it’s always annotated. Having been a bookseller for decades, I want people to know why I recommend a certain book.)

Feng Shui & Your Health by Dr. Jes Lim. This book is one of the deepest wellsprings of feng shui knowledge that I know of. A large portion of it deals with outdoor environments. The illustrations of positive and negative views of tree limbs (as viewed from a window) are found in no other books that I know of.

Feng Shui for Hawaii Gardens (Watermark Publishing, 2012)

Feng Shui for Hawaii Gardens by me. I’m not being smarty or proud—I’m being honest. The principles in this book apply everywhere (only the plants are different) and the main feng shui concerns and remedies for outdoor spaces have never been explained more clearly (no pun intended). The list of potential problems is extensive, and that’s what you want in a feng shui garden book—anything can happen outdoors, and you need to know what kinds of things to watch out for as potential problems.

Lighting the Eye of the Dragon by Baolin Wu. You don’t know feng shui until you’ve read this book! Much of it cover outdoor spaces, but the best thing about this book is that you’ll honestly and truly understand what feng shui is all about by reading it. No other book that I know of conveys the understanding that this book does.

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