If a tranquil yet energising balcony or terrace is what you’re after, check out Samantha Wong’s feng shui-approved design tips
If you know the basics of feng shui (and you will if you’ve been reading this column for the past seven months), you’ll know you can radically up the sheng chi (positive energy) levels on your balcony or terrace in next to no time. Step one: Get out your scrubbing brushes and give it a good clean; accumulated dirt and dust translates into a build-up of bad luck. Step two: Clear any unnecessary clutter; chi travels best when there aren’t many obstacles in the way.
Next up, particularly on a confined balcony, check the ventilation. It may be that you need to install a couple of fans to get the air and chi flowing freely. You’re at an advantage if your balcony or terrace faces east, since feng shui says that peace and prosperity blow in on an easterly breeze.
Now, check the lighting – si chi (negative energy) is drawn to spaces that are harshly or dimly lit. In addition to a couple of ceiling lights, deck your space out with standing lamps (that you can move around), candles (preferably scented) and hanging lanterns. Of course, an east-facing outdoor space that enjoys sunlight for most of the day is preferable to a west-facer that only gets the sun in the afternoon.
Natural light is your friend so, if your outdoor space is overlooked, don’t screen it off with a solid barrier that blocks out the sunlight. You’re much better off hanging a sheer curtain or growing a decorative ‘bamboo wall’ to shield yourself from prying eyes.
Furniture and accessories
With all this in place it’s time to take a fresh look at your outdoor furniture – and what you actually use your space for. Are there any items that you seldom use and can do without? An overcrowded space is never welcoming or productive, which is why less is always more in feng shui.
While arranging your furniture to create a balanced look, you’ll also want to balance the yin and the yang, the feminine and the masculine. You can embrace the yin with soothing colours and soft textures, and then even this out with solid furniture and a few pops of bright colour that represent the yang.
When it comes to accessorising your outdoor space, there are a number of feng shui-approved items worth introducing. These items boost the energy levels, while also promoting harmony – harmonious surroundings support a peaceful life.
Windchimes, for instance, are a popular feng-shui cure, since they dispel si chi and replace it with sheng chi. You position a metal windchime in the west or north of an outdoor space, a wooden windchime in the south or east. Its size doesn’t matter but choose one with five, six or eight rods for maximum effect.
Feng shui says a bell is a good addition to any outdoor living space – it has the power to heal the environment around you and maintain a calming atmosphere. When the bell rings, it releases energy blockages in both your space and your mind. Figurines depicting the four celestial animals are also well-homed in outdoor spaces. In feng shui, they denote the four directions so be sure to position them correctly. The black turtle sits in the north, the red phoenix is the guardian of the south, the green dragon sits in the east, and the white tiger is the guardian of the west.
While each of the celestial guardians serve to protect your home, the turtle also promotes harmony and stability, particularly in relationships. When you place the turtle beside a water feature (no matter how small), its effects tend to magnify.
Tap into the elements
Remember that the five elements – fire, earth, metal, water and wood – also need to be represented on your balcony or terrace. Feng shui says that a water feature placed in the north, and a barbecue (representing fire) placed in the south will bring prosperity. Whether it’s in furniture, plant pots or windchimes, metal belongs in the north-west and west. This will bode well for your future and future projects, since well-placed metal helps create an ambition-andcreativity- boosting space.
A symbol of bounty and health, wood should dominate the southeast and eastern parts of a balcony or terrace. Here, you can make use of wooden furniture, miniature trees or anything green. The earth element, meanwhile, finds its home anywhere in an outdoor space, and is easy to invoke with flowers
Plants bring ‘live’ growing chi into your life and feng shui says they also have specific ‘super powers’ – the ability to get you what you want. Jade plants are popular wealth enhancers and spider plants reduce stress; choose pink orchids for love and bamboo for luck. Evergreens and succulents with rounded leaves are always a good choice, as are flowering plants of any colour. The scent of fresh flowers is beneficial and will flood your outdoor space with sheng chi.
Flourishing plants equate to a successful life, so be sure to choose species that will do well in your particular outdoor space. And you need to take good care of them. Sweep up any fallen leaves and remove any dead plants to avoid an accumulation of si chi.
Feng shui says that a house protected by thorny plants has no need of a burglar alarm, so fill a few planters with cacti, roses or, my favourite, rosemary.Tags: balcony, Feng Shui, outdoor spaces, terrace