Feng Shui Guide – Your Outdoor Pool

This article will go over applying Feng Shui to your outdoor pool using the five Feng Shui elements – in particular the feng shui water element!


I was interviewed last month by a pool and spa magazine who wanted to know about applying Feng Shui to your outdoor pool and in particular using the Feng Shui elements to create harmony and balance.

Thought you’d appreciate reading it before it goes to print!

 Question – Shape, Dimension and Placement of Pool

Please forgive me when I ask an uninformed question. I’m only peripherally aware of feng shui, and I’m certain there’s a lot of myth out there. That’s part of why we’re doing this piece.

Let’s start with the point about the shape, dimension and placement of the pool. Why is that important?

In Feng Shui water is hugely important as the source of life itself. It should therefore be free flowing and not impeded by obstacles in any way. The attention to water is dominant in classical Feng Shui where it symbolizes good fortune (mainly financial wealth). This is why you’ll see aquariums placed near the cash tills in shops and restaurants.

Similarly in the garden, the shape, dimension and placement of the pool should be given careful consideration. Design features are less critical. For example, it doesn’t matter whether you have a sunken or raised pool or a pool surrounded by marble or terracotta tiles.

Ideally, what you want to aim for is a rounded, heart or oval shaped pool rather than a rectangular pool with sharp angles. This is quite simply because ‘invisible’ waves of energy fan out from right angles at the 45-degree point.

In Feng shui, these waves are referred to a cutting chi and can often create discomfort without you even knowing it.

However, if you already have a rectangular pool don’t despair! You can always modify cutting chi by placing plants around the pool to cover the sharp edges and therefore minimize cutting chi.

If you are sunbathing or relaxing around the pool avoid sitting opposite the 90 degree angle. You’ll then be out of the direct line of cutting chi.

Try it and you’ll feel the difference!

Another Feng Shui friendly pool shape is one that cups or embraces the house (kidney-shaped). This is believed to act as a magnet for escaping chi and thereby stabilizes your financial situation.

By the same token, it’s advisable in Feng Shui for water to flow towards the house as opposed to away from it. This is due to it’s life giving qualities that will nurture you and your family.

In Chinese classical Feng Shui pool dimensions are also adhered to with pools dug to a depth of in between 31 or 33 inches. For the Chinese these are master numbers that carry their own spiritual essence and capacity.

We in the West may or may not choose to adhere to the strict guidelines on pool dimensions. I’ve just mentioned them so you are aware of what goes on. However, the important thing to remember is that the pool should fit in naturally with its surrounding environment.

Question – Pool Help or Hurt Energy Flow

Since water is one of the Feng Shui elements, does a pool near the house help or hurt the flow of energy?

One good way to achieve peace and harmony around your pool (and in your garden) is to incorporate what’s known as the five feng shui elements or energies.  Most gardens contain a significant amount of Wood energy, as all plants belong to the Wood element.  However, try to obtain the right balance of the following five feng shui elements:

  • Wood: plants, wooden furniture, wooden fences, wooden pagodas, wooden seating
  • Fire: outdoor lighting, candles and incense, barbecues, statues that stand tall or are triangular in shape
  • Earth: earthenware pots, ceramic objects, terracotta tiling, sand, rocks, stones, crystals
  • Metal: metal furniture, brass statues, wrought-iron fencing, brass or metal pots  
  • Water: pools, ponds, fountains, mirrors, bird baths

What’s important here is that no one element or energy is out of balance.  What can happen with a pool is that it dominates the garden and becomes the focal point.

This means that there is too much Feng shui water element or energy present which may translate into a feeling of being overwhelmed emotionally (water also represents emotions and healing in Feng Shui).

You also want to avoid a pool being too near a house as it can symbolically submerge its inhabitants.

Question – Already Installed Pool

What about those who’ve already installed pools?
What can they do to improve the space according to the principles of feng shui?

If you have already installed a pool that is too close to your house you should try to erect a barrier between your pool and your house.  Please note that a pool that reflects directly into your home is considered to be too close.

Foliage or plants are the best natural barriers in this instance.  Not only will the foliage create a visual barrier but the Feng Shui wood energy of the plants will also soak up the excessive Feng Shui water energy.

As water feeds wood you will be working with feng shui elements that support and nurture each other thereby reducing the chance of inhabitants feeling overwhelmed.  A wooden fence is a good second alternative.

Question – Putting it all Together

How does each of those feng shui elements affect the whole? What does it affect? Are we talking chi, positive energy or just the feel of the space?

When you make adjustments to your environment you are simply altering the invisible world of energy that exists in all things (from the air you breathe to the PC that you use on a daily basis).

The Chinese refer to it as Chi, the Japanese Ki and the Hindus Prana.  Here in the West, it can be referred to as life force or simply positive energy.

This is the true essence of Feng Shui – to bring feng shui elements or energies into harmony and balance.  It’s not about indulging in superstition that was practised by an ancient culture thousands of years ago.  It’s not about littering your poolside with a bucketful of gimmicky cures either.

Feng Shui is simply the art of balancing the flow of natural energy in your environment to create beneficial effects in your life.

Through Feng Shui you’ll learn how to live in harmony with your immediate surroundings.  You’ll become aware of the significance and usability of natural light, colors, pictures and the presence of living objects such as plants and animals. You’ll learn how each of these things affects you and how to change your life by changing your surroundings.

Question – Pool Design

Why should consumers be aware of feng shui principles in their design?

Nowadays, we tend to buy or inherit properties that have not taken Feng Shui design principles into consideration.  We often encounter problems and can’t understand why our lives aren’t running as smoothly as we hoped.  Feng Shui is not solely responsible for everything that happens to us but it can help.

Take for example, concrete cities where all you see is brick and cement.  There is generally too much yang energy at play here.  A fountain or pond in this environment can create a small oasis that is peaceful and soothing.  In short, it introduces feng shui water or yin energy that provides the balance.

Singapore is such as city where you’ll see fountains surrounded by plants in the middle of shopping malls or
concrete car parks.  These spaces provide a welcome haven in an otherwise austere environment.

This is why it’s useful to have an awareness of Feng Shui because it provides you with peace, tranquility and good energy!

Question – Common Mistakes

Are there design features commonly included that should be excluded? What are some of the big mistakes pool owners make?

One of the biggest mistakes pool owners make is not to invest in a pump and filter that cleans the water and keeps it moving.

The last thing you want is for flies and mosquitoes to be resting on the surface of your pool.  Stale or stagnant Feng Shui water is not ideal!

Remember, moving water tends to activate chi and get things moving.  Clear, still water on the other hand can be useful if you are seeking to balance negativity or introduce a degree of calm to a tense atmosphere.

The sound of gently running water is also used as an effective Feng Shui cure when tempers are frayed or in a healing environment.  What you’ll want to avoid is the sound of dripping water much like a leaking tap that will can often translate into a financial drain or loss.

Another mistake that pool owners make is to drain their pools into their own gardens when it needs emptying. I’ve often seen this happen in Europe. This causes your garden to become waterlogged which is a direct conflict of the five feng shui elements or energies.

For example, when too much water is added to earth it creates a bog.  Not ideal!  So, make sure your drainage facilities are up to scratch.

Question – Feng Shui Balance

When you’ve had Feng Shui elements or energies out of balance, how long does it take for things to come into harmony? How much longer does it take for you to notice the effects?

Once your environment and the Feng Shui elements are balanced you’ll have clarity of vision and be open to new possibilities.

The changes can happen so quickly that it’s difficult to not get carried away.  You’ll want to race through your home or garden and change everything.  The key thing with Feng Shui is to take it slow!  This will enable you to see what has worked and what hasn’t.  You’ll then be able to make further adjustments to the energy.

Remember, Feng Shui is all about working with energy and balancing it so that it supports and nurtures you as an individual!

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