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Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Articles

Elements to consider for a Feng Shui garden

By Carole Hyder – Whether gardening in a large space or a small patio, there are some elements to consider if you want to be able to call it a Feng Shui garden. Size does not matter, but intention and layout do.

flower1Before starting, it is important you determine the overall feeling or theme you want to express. Do you want to use the garden for quiet time? Do you want to amble through your flowers to get inspired? Is it your intention to create an outdoor space where friends and family can gather? Do you want the area to be kid-friendly?

Even if your gardening efforts are confined to a very small spot on the deck, think about what you want to create. Fairy gardens are intended to be small but that doesn’t make them less engaging.

Here are some additional elements to consider whether you’re designing a large backyard or a small pot:  Read more

A Feng Shui garden and a surprise around the corner

By Carole Hyder

There are nine features that a traditional Feng Shui garden should have. A water element is one obvious feature, a fence, a curving path, just to name a few.  My gardener husband has made sure that his magnificent expression of flowers and herbs follows those Feng Shui garden directives as closely as possible.  Last year, he expanded the path idea by creating an additional one that connects our steep back hill with the rest of the garden.  Now we take a few steps up to the mid-point of the hill and can easily and comfortably meander the full width of our yard, giving us a new perspective on our home and our property.  (Also, our garden is often the topic of discussion in our Feng Shui classes so it’s important in both my personal life and my professional one!)

Feng Shui garden

A gnome home is a surprise in Carole’s Feng Shui garden

Another Feng Shui element is that there should be a “surprise” in the garden.  The Feng Shui garden should not tell its whole story on first glance, but rather reveal itself little by little.  This means you might tuck a little troll behind a tree, seen only when someone walks up close to the tree.  There might be a small chair or bench located under a lilac bush that isn’t noticed until you get to the lilacs.  A garden ornament could delight someone unexpectedly when they come around some tall irises.

The prime force behind a Feng Shui garden that relies on these elements is the intention of the garden. What are some possible intentions for a garden?  Read more

Feng Shui for the Garage: A Space You Don’t Want to Overlook

HouseAlthough often treated as though it has little impact on a family’s life, in Feng Shui the garage can have an enormous influence. From money and relationships, to health and well-being, the garage may affect in positive or negative ways. Even if the garage is detached from the house, it can still be instrumental in making a person or family feel welcome or feel disconnected.

Feng Shui is based on the principle that your space reflects your life. Since the garage is typically the first place you see when you come home, its condition can significantly influence how you feel about your home in general and correspondingly about your life.

It goes without saying that the condition of the garage and the experience you have driving into it can influence how you feel overall. Even if your garage is detached from the house, it can still be critical in making you feel welcome or making you feel discouraged.

The first step is removing clutter. This is especially important if you aren’t using the garage its intended purpose – to park your car.

Here are some additional tips for enhancing your experience with your garage. . .

  1. hardware-tools-ladderDeal with the floor. At the very least, sweep out the garage once a year. Hosing it down is better. It may be time to consider painting the floor or adding an epoxy coating for a nicer, cleaner look – not to mention it will make sweeping it out a whole lot easier.
  2. Have a system for storage. The garage can certainly be used for storage but there should be a system. Shelving works; cupboards work; plastic bins with covers are also an option. Make sure you know what it is you’re storing and that it doesn’t impede the experience of getting out of your car.
  3. Be inspired. Have something fun in the garage to lift your spirits when you come home. This might be a banner or a poster. Change it up from time to time to keep your interest level high.

Your goal is to make the garage the best garage that it can be. You don’t have to convert it to an office or a bedroom – that is never an easy conversion anyway. You don’t have to wallpaper or carpet the floor. You only need to make it an enjoyable experience. Pretend you were your car – would you want to live there?

CH-15-twitterBy Carole Hyder

Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Founder, Faculty and International Feng Shui Expert

Getting to Sold! Feng Shui Tips for Selling Your Home

Sold HouseThis is a busy time of year for real estate agents. The weather is nice and the timing is right for house buying and selling.

I bought my first house during late summer and years later would sell it to buy another (with my husband) during the same time period. I pulled out all the feng shui tools I had to sell. And even though the market wasn’t “favorable” at the time, we sold both our houses in a short time frame.

Here are three tips that you can use if you are selling your house, or share with someone else on the market:

  • Depersonalize. Real estate agents will tell you the same thing. It helps people see themselves in your space. It also helps you begin to detach energetically from the space and open up to someone new.
  • Declutter. More advice we share with agents. The space shows better when it is clutter free, in addition to feeling larger. From our perspective it also calms the space. Too much clutter creates a feeling of being overwhelmed for both seller and buyer.
  • Detach. Hopefully if you are selling your house it has been your decision. Otherwise this becomes more challenging. Either way, you will want to start separating yourself from the space. Start with depersonalizing. Then think about writing your house a “thank you” letter to provide the closure you need.

Some houses sit on the market for months while others sell within hours. Even though I hear “location, location, location!,” I also believe energy has a big impact. If a house has been loved and people are moving for positive reasons (better job, bigger family), the house can’t help but project that type of energy. It welcomes a new owner with that sense of supporting them and their dreams.

lisamccueBy Lisa Janusz

Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Registrar and Faculty

How Does Your Garden Flow? Feng Shui Tips to Create an Intentional Garden

Whether gardening in a large space or a small patio, there are some elements to consider if you want to be able to call it a Feng Shui garden. Size does not matter, but intention and layout does. The first consideration in a Feng Shui garden is to determine the overall feeling or theme you want to express. Do you want to use the garden for quiet-time or to be inspired? Is it your intention to create an outdoor space where friends and family can gather? Even if your gardening efforts are confined to a very small spot on the deck, think about what you want to create. Fairy gardens are intended to be small but that doesn’t make them less engaging.

Here are some additional elements to consider whether you’re designing a large back-yard or a small pot.

  1. Caroles Garden Dry BedWater. In line with the concept of “wind and water,” having water in a garden is a natural.  If a pond doesn’t seem like the right fit or feels like it would be too much work, a fountain could be integrated into your garden or a bird-bath. If having water is out ofCaroles Garden Rocker the question, then a dry bed may be the right answer.
  2. Place to sit. The point of having a place to sit is so you can absorb the energy of the garden, relish the view and assess the next leg of the journey. A rock or tree stump could provide this element or a bench or hammock would also work.
  3. Curvy Path. In your Feng Shui garden you should provide an effortless and enticing indication of where to go.  A path of flagstones, chips, or round pavers will work as will a foot-worn path. Making it curvy implies a slower pace where ambling and lingering are appropriate. If your garden is small, you can still create a path that the eye will follow.

These photoCaroles Garden Clematiss are all from our garden. Its exquisite beauty and strength come solely from the labor of my husband Tom who is a master gardener. His efforts have paid off since he was selected to be part of the Hennepin Co. Master Gardener Tour on July 13.  If you want to come see his masterwork and the work of others, register here.

CH-15-twitterBy Carole Hyder

Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Founder, Faculty and International Feng Shui Expert

5 Elements for Weddings

Weddings 3“Wedding season” is quickly approaching. There is something about the summer that makes it a prime time for saying vows. It could be that travel plans are more flexible with kids out of school. Or that the warmer weather is a nice background for strapless dresses and beautiful flowers. Whatever it is that brings that energy, it totally encapsulates us for months at a time.

With all the razzle-dazzle, it can necessitate a yearning for balance. In Feng Shui, one of the ways we try to capture that feeling is through the Chinese five elements – water, wood, fire, earth and metal. Look outside and you will see how one element does not exist without the others. This is why people feel so peaceful in a natural setting.

Whether you are planning on getting married or attending a wedding, you can use the five elements to keep your personal chi (energy) or the event chi balanced.

3 Ways to Incorporate the 5 Elements

  1. Color: black for water, green for wood, red for fire, brown for earth and silver or gold for metal.
  2. Shape: wavy for water, columnar for wood, triangular for fire, square for earth and circular for metal.
  3. Themselves: water, wood (trees, plants, flowers), fire (fireplace, candle, heat lamp), earth (soil, ceramic vases or pots) and metal (jewelry, vases).

Weddings 2For my own wedding several years ago, the five elements were subtly – yet significantly – present. There were a few of us who knew, but for most people they were just added details. I wore all 5 elements that day – from the wave of my hair, to the metal of jewelry and the structure of my dress. Each bouquet and boutonniere included all five elements through flower colors and added ribbons.

Even the centerpieces comprised all five elements with their nourishing water, wood plants, bird cutouts (animals are traditionally “fire” energy), earthy soil and metal ribbon.

Weddings 1You can use them as a mix – a black ribbon here (color representing water), a candle there (fire itself)…whatever works for you! Use as much or as little as you like. I used them quite a bit – incorporating in several details for the day. But you could also just concentrate on a presence – like your flowers. Or if you are a guest – colors in your outfit. Even carrying a purse with colored ribbons tucked inside will do.

No matter how you decide to surround yourself with the 5 elements, you will experience their harmonious and comforting balance.

lisamccueBy Lisa Janusz

Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Registrar and Faculty

Seeing Red? Feeling Blue? Tickled Pink? Feng Shui Color Suggestions

white chair red wallPerhaps one of the questions I get asked more than any other is “What color should I paint the (fill in name of room here)?” It goes without saying that a person who is integrating Feng Shui into their space is already on board with energy and intention, as well as the basics of Feng Shui principles. They want to get it right in terms of setting up their space to reflect their ideal life. That includes their choice of colors.

There are some Feng Shui “rules” that determine a color that should be used in a room or an area based on that room’s position in the overall layout. This can be a help to those who want to assure a Feng Shui alignment on this level:

  • Partnership area – Pink
  • Creativity & Children area – White
  • Helpful People area – Gray
  • Career area – Black
  • Knowledge area – Blue
  • Family area – Green
  • Wealth area – Purple
  • Fame & Reputation area – Red

red candlesThe suggested colors come with a fair amount of lee-way because there is no specific tone or intensity required. For instance, if the area in question is in the Family area where the color green is recommended, this could be a very soft green, a dark forest green, something in the mint tone or have a more sage feel to it. There is no one right green. Likewise, the Fame & Reputation area could be enhanced with a dark red, a blue-red, something with more purple or jewel tones in it. Personal preference is the guiding choice.

Additionally, there could be a small representation of the color and it would still be an effective Feng Shui adjustment. If your intention was to activate your Career area, a small black pillow might be all you want in this area. Or perhaps you would add some artwork with a small amount of black in it or with a black frame to address your career issues. If the specified color isn’t one of your favorites, adding a small amount may be the way to address the problem.

That said, you may still object to having the smallest hint of a color, let alone painting an entire area the designated color, because you simply don’t like it. It may not align with the other decorative items you have in that space. Well, then, here’s the new rule: Use whatever color you love. It’s pretty simple—-check in with your own preferences, find a color that makes your heart sing, and your Feng Shui will be right in line with your goals. Use the rules as a guide first and adjust accordingly if need be. This is, after all, your home and you want it to show your true colors.

CH-15-twitterBy Carole Hyder

Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Founder, Faculty and International Feng Shui Expert

A Complement of Energies

I am sitting heAroma Therapy Bowl of Flowersre at my desk looking out the window at the snow that still covers our lawn. Weather can affect so much about our day. It can be both beautiful and challenging at the same time. A pretty snowfall can be so peaceful, while still creating hazardous driving conditions. Like most things in life there is a yin and yang. They need each other to create balance.

Besides Taoism, yin and yang is one of the earliest concepts associated with Feng Shui and many other modalities (I-Ching, Chinese Medicine, yoga, martial arts). No doubt you are familiar with the tai chi symbol. The circle comprised of black and white tear-drop shapes intricately connected, yet, visibly different. They flow into one another making it difficult to tell where one begins or the other ends. Each has a center of the opposite. Even in the darkest space there is some light; and in the lightest space some dark.

Yin is considered the feminine energy often described as inward and receptive. Yang is considered the masculine energy often described as outward, dynamic and expressive. Most things have a yin and a yang. Hot and cold, night and day, rough and smooth are all examples. At first they might appear to be opposites, but upon further reflection we see that they are complementary.

Each provides its own advantages and at times may enable you to look more positively at the other. Too much heat might make you long for some refreshing cooler air. The energy of the day can keep you motivated, but the stillness of night is what helps you rejuvenate. Together they create harmony.

In Feng Shui we use the yin and yang concept to look at spaces from a balanced perspective. A space that is overly one or the other often lacks a sense of stability and comfort.

Look around your space to see if you have a balance of yin (curvy, round, asymmetrical, soft, sentimental, reflective) and yang (straight, square/columnar, symmetrical, productive). Look at paint colors; are they dark and saturated or light and bright? Look at your furniture; is it soft and comfy or do you have more hard lines? Those are two areas that you can start to think about how to balance with the complementary. Places to start include adding soft colors to a dark room, or adding round pillows/tables to a room that has more square furniture, for example.

I know that soon the white carpet that has captured a tiny boot print from my son and a larger paw print from my dog will melt and fade away. The yin of the winter will start to transition into the yang energy that captures spring and summer. And when the timing is right we will complement the memory of snow by capturing our footprints in the grass.

lisamccueBy Lisa Janusz

Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Registrar and Faculty

From the Wild Dragon to the Meandering Snake

Snake 4Many of us are grateful that the Dragon year is over.  Although exciting, it wasn’t without its moments of frenzy and upheaval.  The Snake energy arrives according to the Chinese solar calendar on February 4th and according to the lunar calendar on February 10th.

The year of the Snake will be a gentler and kinder year than we just experienced from the Dragon.  The Snake, by nature, moves slower than the Dragon and, of course, doesn’t breathe fire!  Although the body shape and texture (scales) between the two zodiac animals is similar, the Snake will reduce the energy considerably since it’s lacking feet.

According to the Chinese calendar, 2013 is made up of water and fire (snake).  Because fire and water are at odds we can expect continued conflicts and violence around the world.  The water, however, is yin which means the encounter between the two elements is less turbulent than if the water was stronger in nature.  This is a patient easy-going form of water which could forecast intelligent and innovative reforms and ideas.  On the other hand, it also could prophesy secret plots and deceptive attacks.

The fire element of the Snake is the driving force of all things financial so we could expect improvements in the economic world and the stock market.  From a financial viewpoint, there is a potential for a confidence and optimism.

The animals that will be in harmony with the Snake are the Monkey, the Rooster, the Horse and the Ox.  The Pig will be challenged as will the Snake who, oddly enough, will be challenged in its own year.  The antidote for challenges coming your way during the year of the Snake is the Monkey.  Having a figurine, a poster or a picture of a Monkey will ease any difficulties that may arise between you and the Snake.  Place it where you will see if often.  You do not have to be challenged by the Snake this year to benefit from the presence of a Monkey.

Continue to de-clutter your home and office, and find an appropriate blessing or clearing to do in your space on the eve of February 4th or February 10th.  This would be the time to reflect on any resolutions you made around the time of the western New Year or, if you didn’t make any, to do so now.  One way to assure you are not negatively influenced by the Snake is to do one good deed a day.  This good karma will bless you with a pleasant and memorable year ahead.

CH-15-twitterBy Carole Hyder

Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Founder, Faculty and International Feng Shui Expert

Clearing Clutter & Preparing for the New Year

Garbage bagHappy New Year! Many of us celebrated the Western New Year on January 1, welcoming in 2013. You probably did a mental review of your last year and a mental “to do” for the year coming up. If clearing clutter is one to-do, this is a great time to start. Making progress now will help you feel more prepared to usher in the Chinese Solar New Year on February 4.

Clearing clutter and releasing your “stuff” can seem overwhelming. The ironic (?) piece is that having too much clutter can make you feel overwhelmed! So, the good news is that even small progress can really make a big impact.

3 simple tips to break through clutter in the new year:

  1. Start small. Break it down into a few smaller projects so that you can keep on task. Maybe there is a drawer you can tackle one day. Mail the next. Or if you know the bagua, maybe you prioritize using that. For example, start by looking at the prosperity area in each room (one at a time of course!).
  2. Make it routine. Clearing clutter is ongoing process. It can get the best of any of us. That’s why making it part of your daily/weekly/monthly routine will help. Maybe it’s something you schedule to do 9 minutes every day. You can start by having a permanent “donation” bag in your house. Then when you come across something you don’t need you immediately know where to put it. Donate it when it’s full.
  3. Remember the bottom line. If you don’t love it or use it, then let it go. Yes, it bears repeating: give new life to something by releasing it to someone who will appreciate it. You can start now with holiday decorations! Then move forward with other items around the house. If you are following tip #2, you’ll always have somewhere for it to go so you can take action right away. This goes for family heirlooms and antiques as well. Don’t hold on to something for guilt. If you aren’t enjoying it, offer it to another family member or thrift it. Someone else will look at it with fresh, new, excited eyes.

Following these tips allows your space the ability to breathe and helps you focus on the goals you have for the upcoming year. It also aligns nicely with the traditional activity of cleaning your house to welcome the Chinese New Year. There’s nothing like a fresh house to renew the energy inside. And that can mean your house, as well as yourself. Hopefully that is one of your “resolutions” this year too:  you.

lisamccueBy Lisa Janusz

Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Registrar and Faculty


Minneapolis, MN
Phone: (612) 751-3828