The Japanese garden
Feng shui is a philosophy of very ancient origin, its origins are to be found in the China of the VI-IV centuries BC; this type of doctrine is aimed at those who intend to live in a harmonious and soothing way, studying the position of the house, the shapes of the rooms, the choice of furnishings and the garden. From China, feng shui has moved to most of the East, especially to Japan, and also to Europe, where various schools guided by slightly different principles were born. The design of a house, following the rules of feng shui, requires a careful study of the arrangement of each element according to the cardinal points; in addition to this each element will have an important role in the constitution of a harmonious and "clean" environment, free from confusion; all this to obtain places suitable for a peaceful and calm life, without bright colors or clusters of useless or superfluous objects. Each element that makes up the garden is charged with symbolic meanings, which go beyond simple daily use or the color of the flowers.
- Japanese garden">The Feng Shui garden
In the design of a garden following the feng shui rules, some particular tools are used, useful in the design of any environment following this doctrine. In feng shui, life is made up of five fundamental elements: fire, water, earth, wood and metal; the cardinal points and some moods correspond to each element. To prepare a garden following the rules of feng shui, a special compass is generally used, called Ba Gua, which identifies the element that characterizes each place in the garden, in order to decide what to place in that place; for example the north is linked to water, the south to fire, the center to the family. Once the cardinal points in the garden have been identified, it can be divided into sectors in which to insert the objects or plants that symbolize the characterizing element of this area. With the help of the ba gua we divide our garden into segments, then place a possible body of water in the northern area, or choose plants, flowers and furnishings, following the colors suggested for that area. In a well-balanced and balanced garden each area should occupy a similar extension, if not, due to the shape of the plot of land, in the under-represented area we can insert an object that activates that area in a particular way: for example in the area dedicated to the sky we can place a stone or some flowers, in order to balance the missing space.
After having identified, with the help of a ba gua, the areas of our green space, we proceed to place furniture and plants inside it. Recall that a feng shui garden it is not a collection of plants, it is instead an important space for the peace and harmony of the people who live there; we therefore think of a well-balanced space, where nature flows in a relaxing and pleasant way; where the vital energy can generate itself and flow freely. Feng shui philosophy divides all things into two large groups: yin and yang: in a balanced garden both elements must be present, in a similar way, so that they do not prevail over each other. So we choose a few plants, if we have little time to devote to the garden we choose plants that need little care, as in a feng shui garden it is very important that the essences are in good health and well developed; if the garden is crossed by an avenue or a path we avoid straight lines, but we prefer a slightly sinuous course; in addition to greenery, we also insert other natural elements in our garden, such as a body of water, or a small tub; rocks, and even animals, such as fish or turtles. In preparing our green corner, following the rules of feng shui, we try to remember that what we are setting up is a place of peace, meditation and harmony, not a place for play or anything else.
-">Feng shui gardens: The Ba gua
The particular "compass" used in feng shui also helps us a lot in the garden; as you can see above it is divided into eight sectors, plus the center which identifies the ninth sector; sector number six (in this illustration) aligns with the north, designing the house we should align the entrance door with this sector, which is associated with the sky and career. So here we note the sector indicated with the number six, then the north, dedicated to career and water; 1 sector of the sky; 2 the lake; 8 the earth; 3 the fire; 5 the wind; 4 the wood; 7 the mountain. Each of these sectors is linked to different colors, which help us in the choice of flowers and plants; in addition to the colors each sector identifies an element, in the sector dedicated to the lake or water we can insert a small body of water, while in the sector dedicated to the wind we choose to place objects that, like the wind, are constantly changing, such as for example annual plants or deciduous trees. And so on, the ba gua helps us by indicating what is best to place in every corner of our garden, but also in our home and in every single room.