How To Feng Shui Your Outdoor Space

The feng shui method of design focuses on arranging areas to honor the natural elements, achieve spatial harmony, and improve the flow of chi (via National Geographic). Chi represents the central life force and energy that flows through all things, a core tenet of Taoism, the ancient and peaceful religion from which feng shui emerged. Enhancing the flow of chi in a space is believed to bring good luck, health, wealth, and strong relationships.

Whether it's a balcony, patio, poolside deck, or dedicated garden, an outdoor space is one of the most valuable areas in our homes. It allows us to reconnect with nature and each other, which makes it an excellent place to incorporate feng shui in order to enhance the flow of positive chi through our lives. Applying feng shui principles to your outdoor space may seem complicated at first, but by following the proper steps, it's actually quite simple. When you're working outside, you've already got the natural elements at your fingertips! Of course, it's easiest to begin with a clean slate, so start by moving any furniture to the side and giving the entire area a good cleaning.

Consult your bagua

Classical feng shui associates each direction on the compass with an element and different aspects of human life, notes Love to Know. The essential map of feng shui, called the bagua, is an octagon that depicts eight directions: north, northeast, east, southeast, south, southwest, west, and northwest. Feng Shui Nexus explains that each direction is associated with one of the five feng shui elements: wood, water, metal, earth, and fire. The individual directions also correlate with a specific aspect of life, such as career, health, relationships, or fame.  

In China, the concept of the bagua has been used to design everything from bedrooms to local parks and city layouts. To properly line up the bagua to your outdoor space, start by figuring out which way your patio or balcony faces. In your mind or on paper, overlay the bagua on a map of your outdoor space so the north directions align. This will determine which corners of your space should contain which elements. Having a strong and balanced flow of chi is important in feng shui, but you can also arrange your space to influence certain areas of your life, such as using water to draw more chi into your career aspect. 

Place earth and metal

The order in which you set up your space isn't especially important, but you may find it helpful to follow feng shui's creative or productive cycle. Patio furniture is usually made of metal, and placing these large items first will give you a solid start when laying out your outdoor space. Metal correlates with the west and northwest directions. In feng shui, placing metal furniture and décor in the west and northwest corners will increase your luck with children and mentors; it's also believed to improve your fate and destiny, per Feng Shui Nexus. If you don't own any metal, you can opt to represent the element with the colors white, gold, and silver. 

Earth correlates with the northeast and southwest directions, and these directions influence your education and relationships, respectively. Peace Love Feng Shui explains that when you place items that correlate with the earth element in your northeast and southwest corners, you will create a strong sense of security, stability, and home. Earth element representations in your outdoor space may look like terracotta pots, large stones, pea gravel, or concrete. If you don't have any of these materials, earth can be represented by the colors brown, yellow, and pink. When working with an outdoor space that already has concrete or stone flooring, you don't need to add more stone to your northeast and southwest corners, as this could bring the elements out of balance. 

Add a water element

In the productive cycle of feng shui, earth turns to metal and metal turns to water. Water belongs in the northern corner of your outdoor space, according to the bagua map. The north direction is also associated with your career, so Love to Know explains that adding water to this area may bring you good luck in the form of promotions, new job opportunities, or praise from your colleagues. 

Installing a water element in your backyard can seem a little tricky, especially if you don't have a natural creek or pond, but this feature doesn't have to be extravagant. It could be as simple as a tabletop fountain, bird bath, or rain chain. For best results, make sure the water flows toward your home, and not away from it. This will encourage the flow of luck into your life. If real water just won't work for your space, you can instead use the colors blue and black in your north corner to channel water's energy, suggests Feng Shui Pundit.

Arrange wood in the space

Water turns to wood in the next step of the feng shui productive cycle, and wood belongs in the east and southeast portions of your outdoor space. Money may not grow on trees, but it can come from adding wood to these corners. According to Feng Shui Nexus, the east and southeast directions correlate with your health and wealth, so it's very important to keep them balanced and strong. Bringing the wood element into your porch or patio also fosters a sense of abundance, growth, and wellbeing. 

Wood is a versatile element that's easy to incorporate into an outdoor space. Potted plants, mulch, shrubbery, and bamboo chimes are some simple decorations that can channel the wood element. Of course, wood energy can also come from wooden and wicker furniture or stacked firewood logs. Fabric and décor in shades of green are great, but stay away from browns, as these are more strongly associated with the earth element. If you already have a wooden deck or patio, you can consider the wood element covered; no need to overdo it.

Incorporate fire with caution

Wood fuels fire in the last stage of the productive cycle. Fire is a very powerful element in feng shui, so it's important to carefully consider the placement of any fiery items. Using fire in the wrong areas can bring unwanted destruction and chaos to those aspects of your life. The bagua map shows that fire belongs in the south corner of your space. This direction is associated with your reputation, fame, and recognition, according to Feng Shui Nexus, and using fire in this area is sure to boost your confidence and bring you good luck with your personal endeavors. 

One of the most obvious ways to incorporate fire into your outdoor space is with a fire pit or even just a barbecue grill. If you can't have any open flames on your balcony or patio, you can still represent the fire element with small votive candles, battery-powered tea lights, or string lights. Fire can also be represented with fabrics and décor in bright colors like red, pink, and orange. By bringing energy, light, and life to your yard, fire creates a focal point for entertaining guests or enjoying a romantic evening outdoors.