Principles of feng shui can be applied to landscape design

Updated Jun 14, 2022

Outdoor living spaces are becoming increasingly popular for entertaining, but they can also serve as meditative places that rejuvenate both the body and the mind.

If your client’s goal is to create a space that improves their overall well-being, suggest designing the area to follow the principles of feng shui.

Feng shui is the art of placement and is said to affect the the energy flow in a living environment. The goal is to create harmony and balance. Feng shui focuses on the belief that there is a place for everything and each thing has its own energies.

Here’s the breakdown by compass points as to what energies, colors and landscaping features you should use in each area:


The energies in the north are focused on one’s career or path in life. The element associated with this direction is water, so a bird bath or a water feature here would work well. Deep blues and blacks should be used in this area.


This space is all about spiritual growth and knowledge. Adding comfortable seating with a beautiful view – a place to contemplate life – is one option, as is a Zen garden with its raked sand or gravel around rocks to remind one of his or her place in the world. The element is earth and the colors are yellow and brown.


The energies in the east focus on health and longevity. The element is wood and the color is green. This space is all about things that are green and growing. Ornamental trees with bright green leaves can add height. Because one principle of feng shui is yin and yang, balance the greenery out with a pop of color from lilacs or hydrangeas.


The southeast is about money and abundance. The element is soft wood and the colors are purple and gold. Wooden ornaments such as carved turtles and frogs are said to talismans of prosperity. This area can also include a water feature with golden bells, as this too is said to be lucky.


Fame is the energy of the south and fame attracts attention. Fittingly, its element is fire and its color is red. This space is ideal for a fire pit or a grill, as this is where one would entertain and receive recognition for cooking skills or storytelling abilities.


Tucked away in the southwest should be an alcove for love and relationships. This should be an intimate area with outdoor furniture for eating with loved ones. The element is earth and the colors are pink, red and yellow.


Depending on whether your clients have children, this area is either for creativity or kids. The energy in the west is for pleasure and relaxation. The element is metal and the colors are white, gold and silver. Wind chimes can be placed in this space, and the western section of the landscape is also the appropriate place to practice yoga.


While the southwest was for close friends and loved ones, new people and travel is associated with the northwest. This is a welcoming area for networking and getting to know guests better. This should be an open space with white and silvery plants nearby. The element is metal and the colors are gray and white.

Graphic: Pottery BarnGraphic: Pottery Barn


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