19 Jul Got Water? A Feng Shui Garden on Tour

One of the features that is almost a requirement in a Feng Shui garden is the element of water. After all, “shui” means water so it is appropriate to incorporate water in some way. Water symbolizes flow and movement. It is the place from which all life arises and the place to which it returns. It symbolizes eternity since its flow is perpetual and eternal. Water represents renewal and is used in many ceremonies for that reason.

Water expresses itself from intimate form to dramatic flair. The ocean definitely represents water in all its majesty and splendor. The sound and the crash of waves leaves no ambiguity as to what we’re dealing with. A lake takes this articulation and tones it down. We are still aware of the waves but they’re calmer and quieter. A pond even more so. By the time we get to a stream or creek, we see the gentler side of the water element where it’s easy to get mesmerized by the soft trickling sound.

In the Ming and Qing dynasties of Chinese history, gardens were typically designed to be a miniature of real life. Much like our current fairy gardens, these gardens replicated nature in a smaller version. A few small shrubs represented the forest; rocks represented mountains. Waterfalls imitated the ocean and fountains represented a lake or a river. So just as every authentic Chinese garden had rocks and shrubs, they also had water. To this day, every good Feng Shui garden has water as an integral part of its make-up.

Having just been qualified to be part of the Masters Gardeners tour in Hennepin Co. (MN), we were unique because this was a Feng Shui garden. True to form, we have several expressions of water in our outdoor space.

Follow the pictorial guide to our garden as identified by our use of the water element. . . (to see larger photo ~ click on image)

Our front walk was intentionally created to bring water to the front door to offset a challenging direction for us.

Our front walk was intentionally created to bring water to the front door to offset a challenging direction for us.

There is another small fountain that marks the middle of our mini-labyrinth where a small wren has been seen flittering over it occasionally to get a drink.

There is another small fountain that marks the middle of our mini-labyrinth where a small wren has been seen flittering over to get a drink.

Undulating, flowing paths represent water such as this one depicting a fork in the river.

Undulating, flowing paths represent water such as this one depicting a fork in the river.

Another way to bring water into a space is to use a dry bed.  As you can see it has attracted one of our cats!

Another way to bring water into a space is to use a dry bed. As you can see it has attracted one of our cats!

We certainly have literal water in the form of our fountain.  Its beautiful trickling sound fills up our garden space.

We certainly have literal water in the form of our fountain. Its beautiful trickling sound fills up our garden space.

Here the path is reminiscent of a small creek ambling through the woods

Here the path is reminiscent of a small creek ambling through the woods

Our overall intention as this garden was emerging was peace and healing.  Everywhere we look we are reminded of that.

Our overall intention as this garden was emerging was peace and healing. Everywhere we look we are reminded of that.