Landscape design is an art form that extends far beyond aesthetics; it delves into the realm of philosophy and energy flow. Feng Shui concepts, an ancient Chinese philosophy that emphasises harmony and balance within environments, are one unique approach to landscape design. This practice tries to increase the flow of energy, or “qi,” to cultivate a sense of well-being and tranquillity. 

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The Foundations of Feng Shui

Feng Shui, which translates to “wind and water,” is rooted in the belief that the arrangement of objects and elements in our surroundings can profoundly impact our lives. It aims to create harmony between individuals and their surroundings by increasing the flow of positive energy while decreasing negative effects. Feng Shui concepts can be used in landscape design to create outdoor spaces that are not only visually appealing but also feel harmonious and revitalising.

As Feng Shui has been practiced since the ninth century BC and is still popular now, it has had historical significance. Feng Shui was documented as early as 960 B.C., and a significant flowering of Feng Shui occurred under the Zhou dynasty from 770-475 B.C. 

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Gardens as Serene Retreats

In Feng Shui landscape design, gardens play a central role. They are viewed as places of tranquility and connection with nature. The positioning of gardens within outdoor spaces is crucial for harnessing positive energy. Ideally, a garden should be located in the rear portion of a property, providing a sense of seclusion and protection. This placement allows residents to feel secure and nurtured by nature, fostering relaxation and meditation.

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Water Features: Flowing Abundance

Water is a significant element in Feng Shui, representing abundance and the flow of energy. Water features such as ponds, fountains, or streams can completely modify a landscape design. The positioning of these elements is critical since it directly impacts the distribution of energy throughout the area.

Water features should be positioned so that they flow toward the center of the property or home. This inward flow symbolizes the accumulation of wealth and positive energy. Moreover, the sound of gently flowing water has a calming effect, promoting relaxation and reducing stress. Placing water features strategically in the north, east, or southeast areas of the property can enhance the positive flow of qi.

Pathways: Guiding the Way

Pathways in a landscape serve not only as functional elements for movement but also as channels for energy to flow smoothly. In Feng Shui, pathways should be gently curved rather than straight to encourage the gentle meandering of energy. Straight paths can be too harsh and disrupt the harmonious flow of qi.

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Furthermore, pathways should be wide enough to allow comfortable passage but not too wide to avoid excessive energy dispersion. Carefully chosen materials, colors, and textures can also influence the overall energy of the space. Earthy tones and natural materials like stone or gravel can ground the energy and create a sense of stability.

Balance and the Five Elements

Feng Shui is deeply connected to the concept of the five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Each element is associated with specific colors, shapes, and directions. In landscape design, integrating these elements in a balanced manner is key to creating harmony.

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Wood: Represented by tall trees and wooden structures, this element promotes growth and vitality. Placing wooden elements in the east or southeast areas of your outdoor space can encourage personal development and health.

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Fire: Fire is associated with passion and transformation. Red or fiery-colored flowers and lighting features can represent this element, and they are best placed in the south or southwest areas for increased energy and recognition.

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Earth: Earth is about stability and grounding. Earthy tones, boulders, or terracotta pots can embody this element. Place them in the northeast, southwest, or center areas to enhance stability and balance.

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Metal: Metal symbolizes clarity and precision. Metal elements, like metal sculptures or outdoor furniture, are best positioned in the west or northwest areas to promote communication and mental clarity.

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Water: As previously mentioned, water represents abundance and flow. Incorporate water features in the north, east, or southeast areas to attract prosperity and well-being.

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Key Principles

The art of feng shui, often perceived as intricate, becomes remarkably accessible when its fundamental principles are grasped. These principles, at their core, revolve around creating an aesthetically pleasing and harmonious landscape design to harness positive chi.

Crucially, feng shui aligns with nature rather than opposing it. Achieving balance among various elements is paramount, sometimes requiring intricate adjustments in certain instances.

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To optimize the flow of positive energy in your landscape, steer clear of straight lines, insufficient lighting, clutter, conflicting sounds, narrow pathways, and walkways, as they can engender negative energy.

Conversely, embrace elements like wind chimes, water fountains, and clay pots, as they elevate the presence of positive chi. Encouraging the integration of natural elements over artificial ones in your garden further enhances the overall feng shui harmony.

Transformative Potential with the Bagua Map 

Leveraging the Bagua map for a feng shui garden offers individuals a pathway to unlocking transformative possibilities, mirroring the principles applied indoors. The journey commences at the garden’s entrance, where one can stand and employ the map to delineate specific areas corresponding to diverse aspects of life.

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  1. Wealth and Abundance: Positioned in the back left-hand corner of the garden lies the symbol of wealth and abundance. Here, individuals should position items that nurture love and incorporate elements such as vertical plantings, and red or gold flowers to beckon abundance.
  2. Relationships: The right-hand corner signifies the realm of relationships. In this space, one can cultivate intimacy and love by introducing pink or red flowers and adorning them with love-themed artwork. The addition of a small coffee table or chairs here fosters companionship and conversation.
  3. Water Feature: The inclusion of a water feature emerges as a pivotal step. It functions as a conduit, elevating the flow of chi throughout the garden, ranking among the most critical elements.
  4. Clutter-Free Pathways: Ensuring open pathways devoid of clutter and dirt is essential to maintain the smooth flow of chi within the garden. Eliminating dirt and clutter is crucial, as these elements symbolize negative chi.

Guided by these principles, individuals can nurture a harmonious and energetically balanced garden that positively influences various facets of their lives, all while adhering to the guidance of the Bagua map.


The integration of Feng Shui principles in landscape design transcends mere aesthetics; it transforms outdoor spaces into harmonious, revitalizing environments. By carefully considering the placement of gardens, water features, and pathways, designers can harness the power of positive energy, or qi, to create outdoor sanctuaries that nurture the soul. Whether you seek serenity, abundance, or balance, the art of Feng Shui in landscape design can help you achieve it, bringing your outdoor space into harmony with the natural world and your well-being.


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  4. ‌Wikipedia Contributors (2019). Feng shui. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: [ Accessed 5 Sept.2023].
  5. (n.d.). fengshui | Chinese philosophy | Britannica. [online] Available at: [ Accessed 5 Sept.2023].
  6. Goldstein, S. (2023). Feng Shui for Landscape Design. [online] J. Montgomery Designs Production. Available at: [Accessed 5 Sep. 2023].

Deepika is an undergraduate architecture student who truly believes everything has a relation to everything. Therefore, several fields do teach us a lot about the same thing. She perceives Architecture as a paradigm of change in the world followed by evolution with the utmost potential for a better civilization to come.