If you’ve done a bit of experimenting with interior design in your home, it’s likely you’ve come across the concept of feng shui, which is grounded in ancient Chinese philosophy and helps people find a sense of balance by harmonizing their living spaces with nature through spatial design. Since many of us are clocking more hours than ever at home, we decided to ask a few feng shui experts about how you can incorporate these specific design principles into your outdoor space. Read on to learn more!
Stacy Scott, Feng Shui Practitioner and Owner of Sanctuary Feng Shui, shares some handy starting advice, noting that you’ll want to first think about your use and intention of the space, whether that be a backyard, porch, balcony, etc. “Once the intention for the space is determined, identify furniture that helps you achieve that feel,” she explains to Lively. “For example, if you're someone who is going to be outside for hours with tea or coffee and a good book, think about lounge furniture, rather than an Adirondack chair to keep you comfortable.”
Laura Cerano, Certified Feng Shui Expert and Owner and CEO of Feng Shui, Manhattan, Inc., says that incorporating the “five elements theory” into your outdoor area is a wonderful way to promote “harmony and balance.” These five elements include water, fire, wood, metal and earth. She adds that you also may want to consult a compass for this part, as each element is associated with a different direction (water: north; fire: south; wood: east, southeast; metal: west, northwest; and earth: southwest, northeast). “Once you have noted the directions, it’s important to become aware and conscious that each of the five elements corresponds to a particular color, material, pattern, shape and meaning,” she says.
For example, to incorporate fire into your space (which represents joy, excitement and transformation), Cerrano notes you might look to add colors like reds, red-oranges, or red-yellows and items such as red mulch, a fire pit or outdoor tiki torches. Zigzag is the foundational pattern that corresponds with fire and shapes include stars, diamonds, triangles and pyramids. When it comes to water, the traditional colors of this element are blue and black, and you can add it into your space with a water feature like a pool or pond. Wood is represented by greens and blues and adding living, thriving plants and flowers will do the trick. Earth is highlighted by yellow or neutral colors, so Cerrano suggests incorporating terra-cotta or ceramic pots. Lastly, look to grays, whites and metallic to represent the element of metal in your outdoor space which might include things like wind chimes, metal patio furniture or a metal tool shed.
“Feng shui is about improving the quality of qi (or energy) in a space that supports and nurtures us — we want our spaces to feel fresh and invigorating, that’s why we love spending time outdoors,” explains Laura Morris, Certified Feng Shui Consultant, Co-Founder of the Mindful Design Feng Shui School and Author of Creating Change: 27 Feng Shui Design Projects to Boost the Energy in your Home.
She further points out that if a space feels static and stagnant, the qi most likely isn’t circulating. “To get the energy flowing, try adding movement to your outdoor space — there are many ways you can do this from planting tall grasses that gently sway in the breeze, to adding objects like a kinetic sculpture to your patio,” she tells Lively. “Here’s an easy way: Hang a good quality brass or metallic wind chime in your outdoor oasis as movement and sound make a soothing combination, plus these sound vibrations will also clear the energy in your space.”
Scott says that adding a rug is one of her favorite tips, especially for someone with a balcony. “Rugs are grounding energy and offer really cozy vibes, which is the perfect feeling for any outdoor space both big and small,” she explains.
When it comes to feng shui and our outdoor space, the front door is another area to keep in mind. “Make sure the front door is unobstructed and people can walk through freely both on the inside and outside — there should not be any shoes or other stuff scattered around,” says Jennifer Bonetto, a feng shui master. “This area should be an open space which even includes not having a tree in direct alignment with the front door (it should be at least 10 feet away) — this allows the positive energy to flow unobstructed and helps attract money into the home.”