FENG SHUI FOR COURTYARDS
In ancient China, the practice of fengshui was considered so important to wellbeing that even the poorest families would put aside funds to pay a fengshui master. Traditionally, Chinese homes were designed around the courtyard, which was believed to facilitate the flow of qi and connect heaven, earth and the people. As large numbers of Australians move into smaller, inner-city dwellings, the courtyard garden is becoming increasingly important as a means to commune with nature.
Every courtyard has characteristics, like orientation, that cannot be changed. The practice of fengshui looks at ways to balance out pre-existing conditions and bring good fortune to the inhabitants of a dwelling, or at the very least, ensure they don't invite adversity.
THE EAST FACING COURTYARD
In fengshui, east is represented by the element of wood. Planting trees on the eastern side of the courtyard is said to promote harmony and prosperity in the home. Bamboo is especially recommended for this and is considered to be an auspicious plant species because of the vertically rising nature of its growth habit. The Dragon is the Patron Saint of the east and can be represented by a meandering path or water feature on the eastern side of the courtyard.
THE SOUTH FACING COURTYARD
In the southern hemisphere, south is represented by water. A courtyard with a south facing aspect should be kept clear of any shade producing trees. In the garden, water-loving and pink flowering plants are recommended.
THE WEST FACING COURTYARD
West is represented by gold in fengshui. Tall and robust plants should be planted to balance qi in a west facing courtyard. White, yellow and cream flowers are recommended as well as short and rounded decorations like flower pots.
THE NORTH FACING COURTYARD
In the southern hemisphere, north is the direction from which we receive full sun, and represents fire in fengshui. A north facing aspect lends itself to flowering plants but not water features. Placing a water feature in the northern position of your courtyard is thought to attract bad luck. Similarly, red flowers are considered unsuitable for a north facing courtyard because red is the same colour as fire.
THE CENTRALLY ORIENTED COURTYARD
In the practice of fengshui the central courtyard represents earth. Any unstable qi here will adversely impact the home and the prosperity of the family. To maintain stable qi in the central courtyard it is important that there are no ponds, water features, or tall trees that block sunlight.