Optimize your Outdoor Living Spaces with Feng Shui

outdoor living
Summer is the time of year when the outdoor portions of our home expand the living areas of the home itself. Barbecues, pool parties, Fourth of July celebrations and more take place outdoors and after the confinement of winter, it feel great to be outside and enjoying the nature that surrounds us. Here are some easy ways to optimize your outdoor living environment.
  1. Plant new flowers. Rutgers University did a ten month study and found that people actually release endorphins and dopamine (“happy” hormones) when they see flowers. Choose bright, happy colors and plant them in pretty pots and along the edges of patios and sidewalks. This will brighten the area, lift the spirits of your guests and create a more festive atmosphere.
  2. Freshen the patio furniture. Is your patio furniture in need of paint, new cushions, or just overall replacement? Old, worn patio furniture can spoil the look of a beautiful garden. Clean off the spider webs, touch up chipped or faded paint and throw some new cushions on the seats and you’ll have a fresh clean look to enjoy  all summer long.
  3. Choose patio furniture materials according to where they will be placed in the yard. Metal furniture is good in the north (career), west (creation), and northwest (synchronicity) where metal is a positive element. Avoid Metal in the East and Southeast and use wood instead. Metal is undesirable in the east (family) and southeast (wealth) sections, but wood is excellent there. If you have questions about where these areas are and how to determine them, please get a copy of my book and you will find out exactly where to place the elements properly.
  4. Consider adding a water feature to your outdoor areas. Water is a soothing, refreshing element. Water is excellent in the north (career) and also in the east (family) and southeast (wealth) sections. Avoid water features in the south (fame) however, because fire is the element and water puts out fire in the five element cycle.
  5. Speaking of fire, consider adding a fire pit to warm up chilly nights. Fire is the best element for the south (fame) and will add light and a feeling of coziness to the space in the evening. Too hot in your area for a fire pit? How about stringing clear “fairy” lights in the branches of your trees or across the top of seating areas. In addition to the south fire (lighting) is also good in the northeast (knowledge) and southwest (relationship) part of the garden.
  6. If your deck, patio, or outdoor surface areas could use a splash of color, outdoor patio rugs are a great choice. They are made from a special type of plastic that are mold and mildew resistant and can be hosed off for easy cleaning. Sites like homedecorators.com have a great selection in lots of patterns and colors, and they are also fairly inexpensive.
  7. Be sure to have places for shade and places for sun. I have been to many garden parties that had inadequate shade and either I was so hot that I was uncomfortable or so sunburned that I regretted attending at all. On the flip side, some people enjoy sitting in the sun, so have options available. Patio umbrellas are a no-brainer here as are retractable awnings.
  8. Make sure to keep spiky or thorny plants away from walkways and sitting areas. I wrote about this in my book, but it bears mentioning again. I went to an outdoor party at a friend’s house who had lovely rose bushes all along the walkways of her outdoor areas. Several of the guests (including myself) tore our dresses on the bushes as we mingled in the backyard.
  9. Trim back bushes and overhanging foliage. We all love to have lush healthy plants surrounding us, but sitting with a tree branch poking into your back or having to stoop when walking under hanging branches is not conducive to a care free time (or good feng shui!)
  10. Be sure to have plenty of tables for drinks and food. Spills are easy outside because we are usually a bit more active in these areas. Having plenty of room to place a drink or food where it can’t be knocked over is a big benefit to comfortable outdoor entertaining. Spills also attract ants and other pests, so preventing them is easier than cleaning the spill and the ants attracted to it up. Needless to say, non-breakable dishware is a must, especially with bare feet running around.
Our outdoor entertaining areas are a wonderful break from being indoors. Be sure to make them as comfortable and as attractive as possible. By keeping in mind all aspects of outdoor entertaining including bugs, temperature changes, and lighting considerations, you will provide your guests with a wonderful outdoor experience and excellent feng shui! Enjoy!
Copyright 2013 by Cathleen McCandless   All Rights Reserved.
Copyright protected c. 2012 Cathleen McCandless  www.sandiegofengshui.com

Copyright protected c. 2013 Cathleen McCandless http://www.sandiegofengshui.com

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