Are cacti inauspicious? Does a gazebo affect the garden's feng shui? Dato' Joey Yap explains some feng shui do's and don'ts when planning your garden

We often think that feng shui stops within the home, but with gardens becoming an extension of our living spaces, there's no reason to limit it to the indoors.

According to renowned feng shui master Dato' Joey Yap, while classical feng shui doesn't strictly apply to gardens, one can apply feng shui principles to make your outdoor space look more attractive, tranquil, and balanced.



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The Bhubing Palace is located on Doi Buak Ha, Muang District, Chiang Mai Province.  It is the royal winter residence in Chiang Mai where the Royal family stays during seasonal visits to the people in northern part of the country.  The palace is also the royal guesthouse for prominent State visitors from abroad.
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How do you feng shui your garden?

As with any living space, you want to ensure the flow of qi or energy is not impeded. Whether there’s blockage or not depends on the accessibility of the garden. What this means is whether you can enter and exit the garden area properly. For example, if it’s not well-kept and there are tall bushes that block out sunlight, some housekeeping should be in order.

Besides that, there’s little to nothing else regarding gardening as far as classical feng shui is concerned. After all, feng shui is a goal-based system. If you’re considering to feng shui your garden, what is your end goal? How long do you spend your time gardening? These are some factors that need to be accounted for if you decide to go ahead with it.

Although there are not many do’s and don’ts where garden feng shui is concerned, the digging process does play a role. To do so at a particular time and date may affect the house's overall energy. The effects are usually minor and wouldn’t be much in the long run, but if you’d like to be on the safe side, use a planter box or a large pot instead.

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Beautiful backyard landscape and garden view. Garden with wooden trim and stairs
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What are key things to think about when planning your garden?

The key thing to think about is why you want a garden in the first place. There are numerous reasons why one would want a garden. For the most part, it’s a relaxing activity; it’s a way to connect with nature; it’s a good form of exercise and pretty healthy activity for you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

So, with that sort of activity in mind, you simply have to match it with the right sector. The effects could be amplified if you were to have your garden in your personal Stability Sector. If it’s related to a healing process of some sort, Life Generating Sector could also be a viable alternative. Each of us has different personal sectors, which are based on your individual BaZi astrology charts.

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Are there any preferable plants or trees?

Plant what you like. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that as far as living spaces are concerned, they shouldn’t block your movement. For example, having a garden or a tree directly in front of your main door is not recommended if it blocks your path.

There’s a misconception that one shouldn’t get cacti as the needles would produce sha qi or negative energy. This is false as, generally speaking, cacti are not big enough to have any meaningful effect. 

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Wooden gazebo with a clock in a shady courtyard garden on a bright summer day.
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How about colour, size, and whether plants are flowering or fruiting?

Colours are irrelevant. It could be any colour you want, even your favourite. Any possible benefit from this has no basis in traditional feng shui and is more of a psychological effect.

As for the size, as long as it doesn’t block your pathway around the house, the windows or any other points of entrance to the house, it’s okay. Whether they are flowering or fruiting is also irrelevant. 

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beautiful flowering plants, around the fountain, in a small courtyard
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How about water features? Where’s a good place to put them, what kind of water feature is best, and how about placing fish in them?

This depends entirely on the house’s overall feng shui and the energy pattern of the property. Generally speaking, a water feature is a form of activation, and having fish inside helps to facilitate that.

While the placement is more of a case-by-case basis, generally, having them in the southeast, southwest, east or north of the house would be good.

Does having a structure like a gazebo or a swing in the garden affect the feng shui? 

Is it big enough to obstruct movement? If yes, then it would affect the feng shui. However, remember that while there are negative connotations to the word “blockage”, sometimes it can be a good thing.

For example, these structures can be used as borders when the property isn’t receiving or containing the qi properly. Besides that, boulders and rocks can also be used as earth activation for specific formulas.


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