Dig­gin’ In: Feng shui for your gar­den

The Progress-Index - At Home - - News - BY KATHY VAN MULLEKOM

Is your gar­den call­ing out to you to do some­thing and you are not sure what to do first? Feng shui prac­ti­tioner Bon­nie Primm of Nor­folk, Va., has some sim­ple so­lu­tions.

“We all need to start with what we have and some idea of what we want be­cause time and money and the largest piece _ en­ergy will al­ways pre­vail,” she says.

Here are some ev­ery­day gar­den feng shui tips from Bon­nie that can be your guide:

1. Be­gin with bal­ance. Bal­anc­ing your plant­ing scheme be­gins with the back of the plant­ing area where you plant higher (yang) than the next layer and again with the third layer in front un­til you reach three tiers de­scend­ing in height to low­est (yin) _ 3 is a magic num­ber for bal­ance in feng shui. This con­cept ap­plies when you use prop­erty lines as the vis­ual fo­cus; if you plant in spa­ces away from the prop­erty lines, the tallest plants will be in the cen­ter _ but not too tall or you risk good pro­por­tion. Veg­etable gar­dens are done the same way. Mix even more _ high/low, open/tight and light/dark within the plant­ing.

2. In­cor­po­rate tex­ture. There is also yin and yang in tex­ture. Use open, longer stems, like Shasta daisies that cre­ate mo­tion when the wind ca­resses them. De­scend your plant­ings with sea­sonal flow­ers or peren­ni­als where the flower heads are more con­densed with each layer un­til you reach rounder, close-flow­er­ing plants that group to­gether.

Rocks, gar­den sculp­ture, pa­tios, benches, pergolas/gaze­bos, swings all add vis­ual in­ter­est and find their bal­ance within the soft­ness of plants and flow­ers.

“We love gar­dens be­cause we find the bal­ance we want to feel within our­selves in the cre­ations of our out­door spa­ces and gar­dens,” says Bon­nie. “The ‘hard’ sculp­tures are yang to the flow­ers’ yin.”

3. Mind­fully use color. If you have am­ple room for your gar­dens, con­sider ei­ther themes of bril­liant color or mixes of color. Multi-color plants “fill in” space as you look at them be­cause all the col­ors ra­di­ate a vi­bra­tion and take up more vis­ual space (yang). If you have lit­tle room for plants, con­sider softer color flow­ers and plants (yin) _ such as shades of whites and greens. A yin gar­den is ideal for med­i­ta­tion.

Col­ors such as red (yang) give off the

to one-third, if you can, and the prop­erty to two-thirds.

“This is not al­ways pos­si­ble, so then you must art­fully plant trees that will not dwarf the home in 5-10 years or look too small for the life of the house,” says Bon­nie.

“An­other rule of thumb is to plant small/open/multi trunk trees like birches and Ja­panese maples within 15-20 feet of the front of the home and never di­rectly in front of the door. In the feng shui world, this trans­lates to keep­ing good en­ergy from com­ing in and block­ing our view of the world.”

Also, shrub­bery planted close to the house should only reach the base of the win­dow frame _ never go­ing be­yond and oblit­er­at­ing the view in­side or out­side. In the world of feng shui, you take away good en­ergy com­ing in from the out­side and sti­fling the en­ergy in­side.

6. To curve or not curve. Curves slow your steps and eyes (yin) while straight lines speed your en­ergy (yang), caus­ing you to look be­yond in­stead of en­joy­ing where you are. Small spa­ces need straight lines be­cause curves take up more room and could be dif f i cult t o n av i - gate (never good feng shui). If you have a large prop­erty for gar­den­ing, think curves _ curv­ing/rounded plant/flower/ shrub­bery groups. Curv­ing, rounded plants (yin) also soften t h e g e o me t r i c an­gles (yang) of your home.

7 . “Lastly, but im­por­tantly, think about the care plants need and choose wisely,” says Bon­nie.

“You just may have some­thing that calms the soul more than it adds to the work. The b a l a nce o f what you get for what you give must be even or you may start re­sent­ing your beau­ti­ful space or miss­ing out on some fun.”

Learn more about feng shui in the gar­den and ev­ery­day life with Bon­nie, who reg­u­larly leads feng shui gar­den­ing walks in Nor­folk, Va., at www.bon­nieprimm­con­sult­ing.com.

• Kathy Van Mullekom is gar­den/home colum­nist for the Daily Press in New­port News, Va. Fol­low Kathy at Face­book @Kathy Ho­gan Van Mullekom, Twit­ter @dig­gindirt and Pint e re t @ di ggini; o r o n h e r bl o g a t Dig­gin@RoomandYard.com. great vi­bra­tions, fol­lowed by yel­lows and or­anges and even whites. Blues and pur­ples and softer col­ors like peach and pale yel­low and mauve are more yin and “quiet.”

4. Work with to­pog­ra­phy. The rise and fall of land it­self is yin (low) and yang (high). To keep your home from look­ing like it was dropped on a piece of land, add berms _ soil stacked to a soft or hard tier or ter­race _ so the space is bro­ken and the eye rests some­where. Sub­tract­ing soil of­fers the same ef­fect. Bring in large rocks and group them to­gether to of­fer a feel­ing of safety and sta­bil­ity _ es­pe­cially if you live on a cor­ner prop­erty) to the home and gar­dens.

“Re­mem­ber round and low is yin and high and straight is yang,” says Bon­nie. “Find­ing bal­ance in your gar­den cre­ates bal­ance in your life.”

5. Plan for pro­por­tion. You’ve prob­a­bly seen too many shrubs and trees on too lit­tle land and just the op­po­site _ too much land and too few plant­ings. A good rule of thumb is the old rule of 3 _ keep the house


Above: This bland, bare side yard in Wil­liams­burg, Vir­ginia, does not fol­low good feng shui. Right: De­signer Peggy Krapf says this side yard in Wil­liams­burg, Vir­ginia, prac­tices good feng shui with an area for din­ing un­der the stars.

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