Fabulous Outdoor Spaces for SummerHow to use Feng Shui to put the “sizzle” in your summer entertaining! By DeAnna Radaj, Bante Design LLC/3E Products The sun is shining…the grills are a blazing’…the smells of summer are in the air. You are spending most of your time outside and all of the hard work you’ve done on the interior of your home is a distant memory. But did you know you can apply all of the Feng Shui principles you’ve applied to the inside of your home, you can apply to the outside as well? Did you also realize that you could use these same tips to your food and décor when entertaining? You can! In case you forgot, or are a newcomer to this column, here is a brief re-cap of the Bagua Board and how to use it. In using and applying the Bagua board to your space, you must line up the bottom row (Knowledge/Spirituality, Career/Life Path and Helpful People/Travel) with the entryway wall of the space. If the door/entry is in the LEFT corner looking in, you enter the room from the Knowledge/Spirituality area. If you enter the room from the CENTER of the entryway wall, you enter the room from the Career/Life Path area. Lastly, if you enter the room from the RIGHT corner, you enter the room from the Helpful People/Travel area. See below: Wealth/Abundance Purple/Metallic Water Element Wavy lines SE Family Green Wood Element Rectangle E Knowledge/Spirituality Blue Earth Element Squares NE Success/Fame Red Fire Element Triangle S Relationships Red/Pink/Peach Earth Element Squares SW Health/Well-Being Yellow/Earth-tones Earth Element Squares Center Creativity/Kids White/Metallic Metal Element Circles W Career/Life Path Black Water Element Wavy Lines N Helpful People/Travel Gray Metal Element Circles NW OK-now that you’ve re-oriented yourself with the Bagua Board, you can apply it to your outdoor space. You can be more creative outside in your color choices by using flowers (hanging baskets, pots or planned gardens) and/or fabric choices on cushions, umbrellas or indoor/outdoor rugs. Here are some ideas for accessories that would activate an area by element: EARTH: terra cotta planters and/or chimes, use brick or any other stone for your patio/walkways, square sandstone coasters/trivets, stone garden figurines WOOD: any plants, trees, bushes, wood outdoor furniture, bamboo chimes or accessories METAL: furniture, accessories, metal chimes, shepherd’s hooks to hang flower baskets FIRE: your grill (!), candles, Tiki torches, fire pit, cactus or any other spiky plants (a thorny rose bush works as well). WATER: pool, pond, fountain, any water-themed accessories ***You can use chimes to activate any of the areas of the Bagua Board, but make sure that you are using chimes made of the appropriate material! *** If you don’t have a perfect square or rectangle deck/patio not to fear-you can use plantings (tree, bush), some garden statuary or if that won’t work, you can plant a crystal point in the ground at the spot that “creates” the corner to close off your square/rectangle. (A crystal point can be purchased at any rock shop or nature/science store for about $2). Dig a hole in the ground, about 6”, and place crystal in the ground point side up. You are good to go. Ideas for outdoor accessory that you can use to activate particular Life Areas of the Bagua can include: RELATIONSHIP: peonies, anything placed in pairs (a bistro setting w/2 chairs), birdfeeder/birdhouse or anything else that brings action to this area (whirligigs or chimes work as well). You can also place FIRE items here as well: grill/bbq, candles and the like. ***Roses are typically associated w/romance, however, in Feng Shui terms the thorns on the roses keep people away and create “thorny” situations. Peonies are the flower of choice for bringing romance into your life. *** WEALTH/ABUNDANCE: a fountain, birdbath, pond w/fish, any upward growing tree/bush, rocks painted gold (Feng Shui theory would require 9 rocks to be used to activate this area), a wishing well SUCCESS/FAME: your grill/bbq, fire pit, red rose bush, outdoor fireplace, anything representing the sun or stars, any upward growing tree/bush, items placed in groups of 3, gazing globe CREATIVITY/KIDS: any metal item, stepping stone or anything else you or one of your kids made, metal wind chimes, weathervane, kid’s play area/swing set/slide HELPFUL PEOPLE/TRAVEL: angel/fairy figurines (particularly made of metal!), anything from a foreign country or one of your travels, metal wind chimes, CAREER: fountain or other water feature, metal wind chimes ***Think of what is in front of large office buildings/complexes and large homes…typically it’s a fountain! *** KNOWLEDGE/SELF-EMPOWERMENT: anything made of brick, stone or clay, a hammock or other chair for reading or journaling, your grill/bbq, candles FAMILY: ideally your seating area should be here, any green plants, birdhouse HEALTH: nothing should be located here; this area should be kept clear and clutter-free. If you have a walkway through this area make sure it’s curvy and meandering (like a stream) and not a straight line. It should also be noted BEFORE you begin any planting, painting or placing new accessories out, you must do a thorough cleaning and de-cluttering of your space and clear out old (i.e. baggage) existing stuff. Clear out flowerbeds and trim bushes and trees. Go through your garage, tool shed and/or any other storage bins and get rid of any and all items that don’t serve a purpose. Remember, if you don’t LOVE IT, USE IT or NEED IT you must GET RID OF IT! Some more tips to treat your outdoor space like your indoor space: Don’t forget the light! Just because the sun goes down doesn’t mean you have to go in. Use the same lighting principles outside as in-have general, task and accent lighting to create ambience and address all security/safety issues. General lighting to fully light the area and for security; task lighting by the cooking/grill area, by the table and all entryways-again so you can see what you are doing and not hurt yourself; and lastly accent lighting to show off unique landscaping, pool/spa or walkway. Candles, torches, wall sconces, a lighted ceiling fan and landscape lighting can all do the trick. Get an area rug made of natural fibers (sisal, jute or sea grass) or other indoor/outdoor rug to help anchor your furniture grouping-just as you would inside. Alright, now your outdoor space is organized and you’re ready to entertain. In my upcoming book, Fabulous Feng Shui Entertaining, I discuss how to use Feng Shui and the Bagua Board to help plan your parties and events. Using the Bagua, you can pick your décor, according to which Life Area your event falls under, and menu. Since its July and the height of summer, lets discuss how to use Feng Shui to throw a 4th of July party (or any type of July BBQ). 4th of July, with all of the parties, BBQs and fireworks, is a true celebration in every sense of the word. Lots of FIRE energy going on this time of year! For this type of party, look to the SUCCESS/FAME Life Area of the Bagua for décor and menu options. Most of us already, subconsciously, decorate and use this area already. The color red (along w/blue and white) is featured prominently in decorations, place setting and even wardrobe. We’re already off to a good start! To bring about the fire element into this party, think fireworks, candles, grills and sparklers. (This is pretty easy!). You want to create lots of energy for an event in this Life Area, so the more light the better. You can bring the fire element into your flower arrangements as well by using brightly colored or contrasting colors and/or flowers with pointy leaves placed in triangular, pyramid or star shaped vases. This will create a visually stimulating centerpiece and give the sense of more energy in the space. Placing the flowers on mirrors will also help to “add excitement” and also help to create more light as the mirrors will reflect the light back up into the space. ***Red=Fire element, Blue=Water element, White=Metal element. You can add some Green=Wood element and some Orange/Tan/Yellow=Earth element to balance things out if things get “too exciting.”*** Your place settings for an event like should be brightly colored and in unusual shapesthey don’t necessarily have to be identical either. (Napkins, placemats, glasses, flatware and plates are considered place settings). If you are the type of host that needs some sense of semblance and organization on a buffet table (like me), you can use placemats (other fabric, mirrors, trays) to help group food. The shape of this area is the triangle. This doesn’t mean you have to find triangular plates and the like, but you can group things in “3s”-like the 3 points of a triangle/pyramid. You can offer 3 types of drinks (soda, beer, and water), salads (lettuce, taco and 7 layer)…you get the idea. As stated before, you can also use STARS as a symbol of SUCCESS/FAME-how applicable for this party (I told you this was easy!). Menu ideas that would use Feng Shui principles include food that is RED, SPICY, HOT food with STRONG flavors. Think cilantro, peppers (any kind), shrimp, garlic or any red fruit are some examples. For drinks, anything that “stimulates” works (i.e. has caffeine). Coffee, soda, tea, sake, whiskey or brandy are examples of this. (Red wine, red sangria or beer will also work of if your friends are like mine!). Sample food items for your 4th of July party: Fried jumbo shrimp (or any other fried food) Stir-fried vegetables Fresh vegetables Any RED or GREEN fruit Any meat or fish for the grill Shish kabobs Chips and salsa Avocado dip Asparagus Watermelon Any food made from animal products-ice cream, cheese, honey, yogurt Now that you know some of the basics for using Feng Shui outside AND how you can apply it to menu choices and party decorations for a fabulous event, you are ready for your guests to arrive. Enjoy!! DeAnna Radaj, an interior designer who specializes in Integrative Lifestyle Design (the fusion of Eastern and Western interior design philosophies incorporating Feng Shui and healthy home principles to create a balanced, healthy and supportive space) is the owner of Bante Design LLC and its production division, Eden Place Productions. Ms. Radaj is a national speaker on topics ranging from Healthy Home design for all family members (children, adults and pets), Feng Shui, easy design tips and trends and exploring a problem most of us have...CLUTTER (why we have it and how to "get rid of it"!). Ms. Radaj was the editor of the WI ASID newsletter, which featured her column "The Business of Design", and has been featured in M, Milwaukee Home, and MKE and frequently in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She has also been a featured guest on radio and TV. Her first book, "Designing the Life of Your Dreams from the Outside In" hit #1 on Amazon.com in its category (10/06) and continues to sell well in the US and UK. Her second book, "Feng Shui for Teens" was released 4/1/07.