For thousands of people, interior design involves more than just picking pretty throw pillows. A growing number of individuals across the country are exploring the ancient art of Feng Shui (pronounced “fung schway”). Those who use the principles of this centuries-old practice to guide their choice of color, materials and object placement often report improvements in their relationships, financial situations, health and careers.

“Our homes express a lot about our lives,” says Linda Binns, executive director of the Feng Shui Success Institute and a certified Feng Shui practitioner based in St. Charles. “Energy, known as ‘Chi,’ flows through our environment, and Feng Shui helps to ensure that our homes contain an optimal flow of Chi. When we achieve this, it affects our lives in remarkable and surprising ways. I’ve seen it work over and over again. People are always amazed at the results.”

When it comes to creating a beautiful and inviting home that incorporates Feng Shui, what works inside also works outside. And since many of us are spending more time outside during the warm summer months, it’s a good idea to take a look around your garden, yard, deck or patio and put Feng Shui to work in your outdoor living environment, Binns says.

“People are attracted to beautiful gardens and landscapes for many reasons,” she notes. “They can be relaxing, inspiring and uplifting due to the generous amount of beneficial Chi they create. By making just a few improvements in your garden, you can coax some of that positive Chi into your home, enhancing all aspects of your life.”

Binns offers the following tips to homeowners who want to invite positive energy into their gardens:

First, make sure that your plants are healthy. Replace any trees, shrubs or flowers that have died, and trim any overgrown plants, especially those that may block light through a window or obstruct a clear path to your door.

Use evergreen hedges, trees or fencing at the back and sides of your yard to create a protected and private garden environment. However, be careful not to place trees, which are powerful energy-producers, too close to your house in order to prevent them from overshadowing or overpowering your home. If you already have large trees near your house, keep them trimmed so they don’t touch the house, and make sure they still allow plenty of natural light to shine through your windows.

An excellent method of inviting Chi toward your home is to place a small water feature, such as a bird bath or fountain, near your front entrance. Water represents wealth and absorbs and stores energy. Make sure any waterfalls run toward, rather than away from, your home to symbolize a positive flow of prosperity. As the Chi flows toward your home, it is best for it to follow a curving path or walkway rather than a straight line.

You can create balance and harmony by ensuring you make good use of the five elements – wood, fire, earth, metal and water. While trees provide an abundance of wood, we can introduce the other elements by using colorful flowers, shapely shrubs and statues, texture-rich rocks or crystals, and outdoor lighting. Balance “hot” colors, such as red, orange and yellow, with “cool” colors, such as green, blue and purple.

Encourage butterflies and birds into your garden by using plants that they are particularly attracted to. The presence of these animals enhances the Chi and brings the element of fire into your garden.

Enjoy your garden this season, be grateful for the positive energy it provides and feel its rejuvenating effects on your well-being.

Author's Bio: 

Linda Binns shows you how to be more successful in all areas of your life by working with your environment. Get FREE Feng Shui Success Secrets. These powerful and practical secrets can help you transform your life. Go to now.

Linda Binns is author of Feng Shui for Your Relationships: Changing Your Environment to Create Better Relationships. She has been a Feng Shui Practitioner, Author, Speaker and teacher for over 10 years. She has appeared internationally on television and radio and in local publications. Linda is also the founder of The Feng Shui Success Institute – which teaches in-depth Feng Shui training and practitioner certification.