By Kartar Diamond

The branch of feng shui which concerns itself with the natural landscape is called "Form School" or "Landscape School."

Reasons for paying attention to a garden or a home's exteriors:
1. To make sure that the house is adequately protected from harsher elements (like wind and rain)
2. To enhance the energies inside a house
3. To shore up or help maintain the good energies which flow around a structure
4. To create an extension of the house and its functions.

Reason #1
When you have a house that is perched at the very top if a hill, it can be vulnerable to high force winds. What is needed is an armchair like landscape where there can be walls, hedges, and/or trees to protect the house from having too much wind whip around it. As well, if you had a house at the very bottom of a hill, it could be vulnerable to flooding, so the landscape would need to help divert or shield the house from an onslaught of excessive water drainage.

There always needs to be a balance. For instance, a house that has too many trees and casts a chronic shadow on the house could make the house very dark and the occupants will get depressed. At the same time, a house without any vegetation around it will feel desolate and there could even be a circumstance of too much sun beating down on it.

So, feng shui for the landscape is critical in creating the balance of yin and yang aspects.

Reason #2
Enhancing the energies inside a house by doing something on the outside is confirmation that the two spaces work together. They influence each other. If you had a pool outside the house, but aligned very closely with an interior area that should not have any water, there could be problems as a result of that.

There are four major house types. Two of those house types should have water in the front and two of those four house types should technically have water in the back. In feng shui theory, water features are not placed randomly because they may look or feel nice, but for a very specific and targeted affect.

Reason #3
Most properties have a defined shape to the lot itself. In a residential setting, the lot may be outlined by fences or walls, sometimes a change in the land level. If there is a gaping hole in the perimeter of the property or none at all, the end result is that the occupants will have difficulties saving money. So a major goal in the feng shui gardening techniques is to make sure this does not happen. It matters less which plants or trees are used, just so long as they are creating a less permeable border to the property.

Reason #4
Sometimes the garden is most useful as an extension of the living space and to provide tranquil, meditative views. If a room is relatively small, but can provide large windows or glass doors leading to a garden, it gives the occupant the experience of being outside when they really are not and it makes the room inside feel bigger.

In keeping with the concept that "your home should be your castle," having a beautiful, lush, healthy garden can also be a wonderful retreat from the stresses of life. This in and of itself is good feng shui.

Feng Shui Garden Myths
1. That each corner of your garden represents a life station (such as wealth or marriage). This notion was created in the 1970's and is an extension of the "fake feng shui movement."
2. That your garden furniture must be a certain element (such as wood or metal) depending on where you position it.
3. That certain colored flowers are needed in certain directions. (This is another example of people misinterpreting Five Element Theory).
4. A tree that is aligned with a front door should be removed. This is only necessary if the tree is very close to the door and actually blocking light and access to the door.

General Feng Shui Garden Truths
1. A dead or dying lawn or plants will drain the land of it good "chi" or life force energy.
2. A diseased tree or one that buckles foundation or strangles plumbing should be removed.
3. A pool should not be too close to the house. A distance of at least 10-15 feet is preferred.
4. Curving, meandering paths in a garden are better than straight passage ways because the chi (air currents) can develop more healthful effects when they curl and wind.


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