There was a time when we used to see homes with no specific boundaries and it used to be positioned amidst nature with large garden space and greenery. Modernisation and space constraints made us adapt to smaller spaces and we had buildings with defined boundaries. We all need boundaries in order to feel protected and safe. As children, our boundaries are formed by the family unit, and as we get older, they expand to include school, our work and the place we join.
Our most important space is our home where we go to be ourselves and for support and rest. The home is nothing but a miniature of the entire universe or in other words, the effect of macrocosm on microcosm is what one needs to understand to identify the cause and effects of a building and its effects on the occupants.
Boundaries or compounds as we call are important in our relationship with our neighbours and with the world at large, as demarcation gives us a sense of security. Although many condominiums and housing projects overseas and in many parts of India have now adapted demarcation between properties with garden and hedges, although aesthetically this looks fine, a proper boundary wall between buildings does gives a well defined support.
In China, the ideal is to have an open view in front of the building, with a small barrier to mark the boundary. Feng Shui strongly advises that the front barrier or wall has to be minimum and not exceed the ground floor window sill or waist height. Many homes shut themselves off from the world with extremely tall compound walls and are disenchanted from the world.
The boundaries for the building could be used intelligently and can act as a backdrop for the plants as well as providing protection. Whether we build walls or erect fences or have hedges we need to keep a sense of proportion and plant things which will not outgrow their space or interfere with buildings. For insecure areas in garden we could put barriers along the perimeter but avoid prickly plants.
Boundaries could be created out of various materials like bricks, pre-cast blocks, wood panels, chain link, split bamboo or simple hedges. In either case skill is required to create a visually pleasing and lasting effect. If a plot curves, then placing a straight wall along the boundary will spoil the look. If a hedge is built using mixed planting, incorrect weaving and supports will create a problem for the future. Ensure that you do not place very high main gates on extremely tall pillars which give the feel of a high security jail when viewed from outside. Gates which are simple and curving from the ends towards the centre upwards are considered good to channelise the energy into the home. Gates with openings at the top are also considered good. Avoid placing spear like objects or decorative metal pieces which are sharp pointing towards the outside or facing the road or drive way as this generates negative ‘Chi.’
Most importantly, boundary not only demarcates your home but when we have the right plants around, it gives a sense of tranquillity to the occupants.