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The Element Series - Using the four elements in design.

There are four fundamental elements - earth, air, water and fire that are necessary for the existence of all life on earth. Many ancient philosophies believe that when we bring these four elements into balance, we bring health, satisfaction and joy to our lives.

Each element has its own unique properties:

AIR represents intellect and our connection to a universal life force. EARTH represents grounding, a connection to our life path and family roots.

FIRE represents energy, a tool for transformation, personal power and inner strength.

And WATER represents emotions, intuition and inner reflection.

Each of us is made up of a unique combination of these elements, with one element being dominant. When our elements are out of balance, we can experience burnout, overindulgence, laziness, aloofness, and insecurity. Most likely you already know what's out of balance because you are naturally drawn to it. Based on my astrological sign, I am an earth element and receive energy and draw calm from water, so I am mindful about being near water and integrating water wherever I can through our home.

So, with this knowledge, it’s possible to bring ourselves back into balance. We need to be conscious of what element is weak and strengthen it by integrating its properties into our lives, including through our home. We can then set in motion our healing & integration. 

The Four Elements for Design Series will look at how we can integrate each element into our home to help bring about balance. The first entry we will feature inspiration to keep you cool with a goal to lengthen time spent outdoors increasing 'Air'.

Image Credit: Deviant Art

Umbrellas for all.

The convenient thing about an umbrella is that it can be moved around from person to person, moved out of the way when you want sun or moved in a completely different location in the backyard.

Credit: Juliettes Interiors


Adding another two to three umbrellas will not only provide your family and friends a bit of a breather from the hot sun, it will allow your line of vision to be drawn through the outdoor space.

Credit: Hayneedle


This is a more stationary umbrella but covers a large area depending on the size you buy. It's a product that mimics a sail but can be adjusted to accommodate the location of the sun.

Credit: Starfire Direct


An umbrella that mimics a sail and covers more area than a normal umbrella as it's stretched out flat.

Credit: Archiproducts

Permanent structures to keep out weather.

A large outdoor pergola is a permanent solution to blocking or reducing exposure to the sun.

Credit: Truvaluhome

Control the amount of sun coming in by reducing the space between each board. Leave the sides open for air flow. And use white to keep it cool.

Credit: Buzzfeed

Add a little bit of the tropics.

A small thatched roof can add a tropical vibe but can also be removed and stored in the winter to increase the life of the roof.


A thatched roof keeps things cool in the summer and it triggers the emotions felt during a tropical vacation - peace, relaxation and ease.

Cover your roof during major snow storms but remember to take the cover off following the storm. If you leave your cover on, the roof will grow mold.

Credit: Global Adventures

This roof resembles thatched roofs, so you can stir the same emotions, but it can easily be removed for the winter.

Credit: CN Traveller

Sail on silver girl.

Keep things cooler and protect your skin from the sun by stretching sail fabric from joist to joist.

Keep it white to keep it cool and bright.

Bridge over Troubled Water, Simon & Garfunkel

Credit: Zonz

Sails can cover just one outdoor space or stretch across the entire backyard. The great Credit: HGTV

Wood blinds.

Wood sun blinds protect from weather - storms and sun. Just make sure that you consider air flow when choosing your preferred system as tight blinds can reduce air flow.

Credit: byCOCOON


inspired by the coast

Resources: Home Science Tools Inspired Learning. Each drawn to a unique element to balance ourselves out. Desy, Phylameana lila. "Learn About the Four Elements." Learn Religions, Feb. 11, 2020, What Astrological Element Am I? The Meaning and Signs of All Four Elements. Gaia, Sept. 5, 2018

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