By Samantha Wong
If you know the basics of feng shui (and you will if you’ve been reading this column for the past couple of issues), you’ll find you can radically up the sheng chi (good energy) levels on your balcony or terrace in the space of an afternoon. 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 any 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 (bad 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. Note that 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.
Open to the elements
With all this in place it’s time to take a fresh look at your outdoor furniture – and for what purpose you actually use your space. 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 playing with scale and proportion 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 bold reds and solid furniture representing the yang.
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 or something red (representing fire), placed in the south, will bring prosperity. Whether it’s in furniture, plant pots or wind chimes, metal belongs in the north-west and west. This will bode well for your future endeavours, since well-placed metal helps create an ambition-boosting creative space.
A symbol of bounty and health, wood should dominate the south-east 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 and plants.
Flourishing plants equate to a successful life, so be sure to choose species that will do well in your outdoor space, and take good care of them. Sweep up any fallen leaves and remove any dead plants to avoid an accumulation of si chi. Evergreens are always a good choice, as are flowering plants of any colour. The scent of fresh flowers is beneficial and will flood your terrace with sheng 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