The Chinese were masters at blending their indoor and outdoor spaces into one. They married the two as one continuous space. According to David Slawson, “the Chinese integrated buildings and landscapes into one area”. Often the Chinese would have a courtyard in the center of the home that brought in natural sunlight to their dark spaces. One could sit inside and enjoy the fresh air of the outside or sit outside and still be close to the conveniences of their home. They would blend the two spaces together to give a more expansive feel to their space. Let me explain how we can use these same principles in our home.
Gardens have always been a prominent feature of Chinese life. In FENG SHUI, we believe the area surrounding ones home should harmonize with nature. It is important to enhance our natural surroundings, blending our indoor living spaces with our outdoor garden areas. When we apply FENG SHUI to the exterior surroundings of our home or workplace, we will enhance the energy, making our space more desirable.
In FENG SHUI, we view the garden as an extension of our homes. We think of porches and patios as an outdoor room. We want these areas to compliment and balance the structure of our homes. Our homes and yards should be linked physically and have a continuity of style. Frank Lloyd Wright was brilliant at doing this; bringing the style of our exteriors to the inside and vice versa. He did this by using the same building elements inside the home as well on the exterior. Wright was known for using the wood from the land that surrounded the property on the inside as flooring, cabinets and furniture.
I like to suggest to my clients to use their outdoor spaces as additional living space. They could start by making their front porch cozier or try using their deck as another dining area or a side yard as an additional living room. When they use these outdoor spaces as an extension of their living space, it gives them more room to spread out and to feel less constrained by the four walls of their home.
You can always incorporate furniture and accessories from inside your home and bring them outdoors. It is as simple as adding some throw pillows from inside and curling up with them on your porch. Place some of your houseplants on your deck so they can enjoy the sunshine that they crave. I love sitting on my patio and enjoying my backyard on a summer evening. When I add a soft blanket, it allows me to stay outside longer and linger in nature’s restoring energy.
When we combine our indoor living spaces with our outdoor gardens, we enhance the energy surrounding our homes. This makes our environment desirable and the energy more harmonious. We can add additional living space without a costly renovation. Try to view your outdoor spaces as extensions of your home; and think about how you can integrate the two into one area. When we marry our indoor and outdoor
environments into one, this will ensure that vibrant energy will encircle our living areas.