Andrea helps people design their homes and gardens. She likes to use Western Astrology and the Chinese Zodiac to help build templates.
Designing a Garden with Water Feng Shui
Water is an amazing element to use in a garden. In feng shui, you want to balance all five elements: water, wood, fire, earth, and metal.
I want to help you come up with ideas to boost the water element in your garden. This can make your yard more calm, and it will help nourish the wood element.
Water in traditional Chinese mythology symbolizes wealth, prosperity, and your career. Waters that flow to you and are clean bring you good luck and fortune.
Water Element Properties
- Water destroys fire.
- Water is destroyed by earth.
- Water is supported by metal.
- Water features include: fountains, ponds, waterfalls, sprinklers, hoses, rain, moisture, snow, ice, streams, creeks, wells, moats, dew, dampness, and cold.
- Glass and mirrors mimic the properties of water. Reflection is a property of water.
- Ovals and circles relate to water and yin energy.
- Water is represented by yin principles rather than yang.
- The element's colors are blue and black. Add flora in these colors to increase water feng shui.
We are made up of chemicals and all around us chemical reactions are taking place. Feng shui seeks to balance the energies around you. It's meant to create positive chemical reactions and not destructive ones.
Water is a diverse compound. H2O is necessary for life. It changes into different states of matter with ease. It's important to keep your water features fresh and to look out for possible signs of malaise, such as water turning unpleasant colors, strange odors from water, acidity, and aspects that will turn water into a den for mosquitoes.
Feng shui teaches you to care about water and to respect it. To have beautiful water around you, you must treat it well. Healthy waters will nourish your plants and make your wood elements strong.
- All life on Earth traces back to the oceans.
- Our bodies are composed largely of water. Hydration is important for longevity, clarity, and happiness.
- Water is malleable. It shifts into different forms: ice, steam, liquid, snow, hail, sleet, bubbles, and foam.
- Too much water creates vitamin deficiency and washes out electrolytes. It takes a great deal of water to do this.
- Too much water creates flooding, storms, and mold.
Yin and Yang Principles
Blue and Black
Red, Yellow, White
Circles, Ovals, Spheres
Rectangles, Squares, Triangles, Stars, Diamonds, Prisms
Distinct, Sharp, Lines
Time of Day
Dark and Dim
Bright and Light
Black and White
Water / Earth
Fire / Air
Ox, Rabbit, Snake, Goat, Rooster, Pig
Rat, Tiger, Dragon, Horse, Monkey, Dog
Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Pisces
Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, Aquarius
Cusps and Blending Your Elements for Balance
Yin and yang are about polar opposites. Energy does change between those two poles, creating cusps. A cusp would be like sunrise and sunset between night and day. At sunrise and sunset, both night and day are present. This is a good thing. It would be jarring if night suddenly changed to day and vice versa.
Cusps are important to keep in mind while designing your garden. You want to blend elements seamlessly and to gradually move out of one element into a contrasting one.
- When combining using water and fire in the same space, add more wood to protect the fire element.
- When combining water and earth, add more metal to protect the water element.
- Too much of one thing can be a bad thing. It creates a kind of overindulgence and makes the element too powerful and volatile. Think of it like genetics: you want a healthy flow of different genes interacting together. Too similar of genes creates health issues.
Elements in Feng Shui
Water nourishes wood by feeding plants and helping them to grow.
Water destroys fire by putting out flames.
Wood nourishes fire as tinder. Wood feeds fire, it helps it to grow, and it gives it a path to burn.
Wood destroys earth by popping out of it and disheveling the ground.
Fire nourishes earth by turning into ash and helping the ground to form and spread.
Fire destroys metal by melting it.
Earth nourishes metal by creating minerals in the soil.
Earth destroys water by drying it and cutting off its path.
Metal nourishes water through condensation.
Metal destroys wood by chopping into it.
Locations for Water Feng Shui
Before you get started designing your space for water, you'll want to clean things up. Remove items you don't need, make sure you're getting good lighting, good air quality, and level things out. It's important to prepare a space before getting knee-deep in the design and implementation phases.
Experienced feng shui consultants can work with you to determine the best location and positions for water features on your property. This hub is meant to give you an overview and inspire your imagination for your outside areas. You can always raise the bar on your expectations, so don't be afraid to hire a consultant.
Your Garden's Bagua
Water does best in the following bagua areas: East, Southeast, and North. It is generally best to have water flow toward your house. Again, water is a symbol of wealth, so you want that to flow toward you not away. Water should also flow toward the center of your garden.
Water also represents your life journey and your career. This is the sector that's located in the bottom center of your garden. Water nourishes wood that's associated with the wealth sector in the back left corner.
FYI: the Southern area of your property is usually dedicated to the fire element. This is a bad place for water features.
Also, important to note: there are times when weakening an element is desirable. If you have too much of an element, to the point that it's creating issues, like flooding, you should use the destructive element to tame it. In this case, earth.
If you're struggling to get moisture into an area, add more metal features. You can add coins, metal art, and mirrors to reflect energy. Ultimately, you want water to create auspicious energy for your home.
Water and Your Life Journey
Water acts as a mirror to your life. It is revealing of your financial choices, your home life, and your knowledge. A garden with an intelligent gardener will be healthier than a garden built without any knowledge. The same goes with finances: those who have knowledge on wealth know how to grow it, whereas those who only rely on luck will have a harder time holding onto money.
We use water to grow plants. We use our decisions and stabilizing structures to grow money. Water in feng shui helps you to consider your relationship with money.
Homework to Consider Your Relationships to Water and Money
Consider the following questions in relation to money and wealth. These questions can be your own personal homework. Spend an hour thinking about these questions and meditating on them.
- Is your garden setup in a way that it can handle water flow? Is your life setup in a way that you can handle cash flow?
- What insurance have you bought to protect your money from high fees? What metals have you put in place as insurance to protect water from earth drying it out?
- What practices do you use to stay hydrated? What practices do you use to make sure your money doesn't dry up?
- Single droplets of water by themselves will fade away. Put all the water together, and you'll have a pond, a river, or a lake. Single coins in a purse will fall out: coins altogether = wealth accumulation.
- A garden with plenty of water features generously gives to fauna. Generosity is created when you have wealth to share. Do you have a plan for how you can be generous both in nature and in wealth?
- Without water you'll die of dehydration or become very sick. Without money you lose leverage on your ability to make choices. What element is destroying and stealing your water and what element is destroying and stealing your money?
- Money is a measure of one's choices. Water is a measure of one's life. What can you do to optimize your measurements?
Some of the most popular water design features used in feng shui include:
- Koi ponds
- Container for plants
The most popular water feng shui feature in gardens is the fountain. It brings a sense of tranquility into your yard. Fountains represent balanced energy and personal strength.
An excellent fountain can hold a large amount of water, several gallons. Avoid bright warm colors associated with fire like red, orange, and yellow. This will appear jarring or clashy.
The material you pick for your fountain will also represent an element. A copper or steel fountain relates to metal. A stone or ceramic fountain relates to earth. The material doesn't matter so much as its ability to hold a great deal of water.
- Fountains should be in the open. They should not be put under something. Don't hide your fountain. It will splash onto things and ruin things.
- Some feng shui experts advise putting the fountain to the left of a door as opposed to the right side. (This rule is for indoor fountains.)
- Try placing a bucket of water in your desired location and leave it there for a week. See if it creates any changes or unwanted effects.
- It's advised to install one fountain at a time and see how it influences your garden. Installing too many fountains all at once could be disastrous. It could put a strain on water, and it also could be noisy.
- Fountain waters should be constantly flowing and not left still.
- Use a timer or auto shut-off pump.
- Once a month, turn the fountain off to wipe it down with a mild cleaner.
- Add water treatments to keep the water of your fountain clean and clear.
Fountains are beautiful and picturesque. They can make your garden look more dynamic and fresh. People like to sit by fountains and think. These are great spots to sit by around noontime to eat lunch.
Add Water Elements to Embrace Fauna
A proper garden attracts life. A garden will be a sanctuary for fish, birds, and four legged creatures. You want to make sure your garden is domesticated and not too wild. You don't want lots of animals running around ruining your flowers, veggies, and fruits.
There are right ways to invite in animals as guests, and wrong ways that invite in pests. You must be intentional with your garden and give it consistent energy and care in order to help it stay balanced.
Add a Koi Pond
Ponds attract positive energy or chi. Water helps balance the forces of nature and creates a healthy environment for living creatures. A koi pond should be large enough for fish to happily swim from place to place.
- Add curved bridges over the pond.
- Add mirrors to reflect energy.
- Koi ponds are great near places where you want to grow vegetables, fruits, and pretty flowers.
- This space should be tranquil. It should be away from dangerous elements and noise.
- Monitor your koi pond to make sure it doesn't become overcrowded. Consider moving some fish to another pond if it becomes too crowded.
Birdbaths and Bird Feeders
Birdbaths are inviting to birds who want a spritz of water. These can look attractive in your yard, and help give your yard some height.
- Columns and vertical items are associated with the wood element.
- Ceramic birdbaths are associated with the earth element.
Check on your bird baths from time to time to make sure they're not developing mold or growing algae. Clean them with a water + citrus combination. Don't use too harsh of a cleaner as it could be harmful to birds.
Bird feeders often have liquid in them. Be careful with bird feeders because they're usually red to be eye catching for birds. You may want to place the bird feeders in areas more designated for wood, that way birds have a good view of plants and can eat away pesky insects.
Blue and Black in Nature
Blue and black are somewhat odd in nature. They're not as odd as gray, which is what represents the metal element.
Blue and black are water's colors. They make for tasty berries and gorgeous flowers. There are not a ton of truly blue vegetables, but there are several that are purple or black.
It's unusual for a tree to have blue leaves, bark, or flowers. Jacaranda is the best blue tree for watery colors. The rainbow eucalyptus trees in the Philippines have bark with every color imaginable. These trees are beautiful, but they're likely not native to your area. I advise going with indigenous plants. It can be hard to grow tropical plants in a Midwestern area, and by bringing in plants that are non-native you could bring over something invasive.
Blue & Black Vegetables, Fruits, Flowers, and Trees
Purple varieties of asparagus, eggplant, wax beans, purple snap peas, blue corn.
Black nebula carrots, black beauty tomatoes, maize morado black corn, purple lady bok choy, black beans, black garlic, black pepper.
Blueberries, blue tomatoes, concord grapes, elderberries.
Mulberries, blackberries, currants, huckleberries, plums, black cherries.
Larkspur, hydrangeas, cornflowers, forget-met-nots, morning glory, iris, grape hyacinth, gentian, lobelia, sea holly, blue daisies.
Hellebore, pansies, bat orchid, black dahlia, queen of night tulip, onyx odyssey, molly sanderson viola
Japanese maples, purple leaf plum, crabapples, barberries, purple ninebark, purple leaf sand cherry.
Add Images of Rats and Pigs
In the Chinese Zodiac, the Rat and the Pig represent the water element. The Rat is the cunning winner of the great race held by the Jade Emperor. He traveled on the Ox the day of the race and jumped off the Ox in time to win. The Rat earned himself the first position of the Zodiac. (The Rat is sometimes referred to as the Mouse in other countries / cultures.)
The Pig, however, took her sweet time to get to the end of the race. She was last, even after the Monkey, Rooster, and Dog who all absconded the race to go fight off evil in another country.
- The Rat represents yang water energy.
- The Pig represents yin water energy.
- Add a fountain with rats, mice, or pig designs.
- Hide rat and pig art throughout your yard.
- Add scarecrows with rat or pig faces.
- The Rat and the Pig are symbolic protectors of wealth and prosperity.
- The Rat and the Pig are not seen as gods or deities. You're not supposed to worship the Rat nor the Pig. They're meant to be amicable protectors.
- Rats scare off thieves.
- Pigs encourage you to live life to the fullest. Take your time before ending the race.
Tips for Using Water Features in Your Yard
1. Keep water features clean. Keep debris out of your water area that can clog and dry it up. Cloudy or algae-heavy waters create negative energy in your environment. You want water to flow without contamination.
2. If you have a koi pond, mointor the pH levels. This will help your fish to stay healthy and happy.
3. Add plants that crave water for your water element space. You want plants that like moisture, for the ground to be soaked, and don't mind water saturation. A water space isn't great for succulents and cacti.
4. Wells have great water energy to them. They're great at holding water and also have the roundness that represents water and yin.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Andrea Lawrence