A cemetery design requires a thorough understanding of sales trends, demographics and burial needs. It also requires a thoughtful approach to hard-to-develop areas on the site.

The result is a cemetery that is more than a place to lay a gravestone. It is a vibrant celebration of family, history and individuality within a shared community.

Master Plan

A master plan allows a cemetery to identify short and long term needs, map their overall strategy and goals, and provide a logistical and realistic implementation plan for a wide variety of projects. It helps to optimize land utilization, while also improving the overall aesthetics of a cemetery.

Grever & Ward has worked on numerous master plans, both for new and existing cemeteries. They always include detailed planning for roads, drainage, earthwork, water supply, landscape schemes and supporting facilities (i.e. office, maintenance center). All designs emphasize economical development, operation and low maintenance to maximize return on investment.

This master plan for Mount Hope will guide future decisions affecting the cemetery’s grounds. It will provide a way to increase interment inventory reflecting current and projected need, as well as develop a community mausoleum. The plan also addresses preservation and stewardship of the cemetery as a cultural landscape and resource, while strengthening its horticultural importance. The public will be provided opportunities to give input throughout the process.

Landscape and Architecture

A cemetery landscape design is an important part of the overall cemetery experience. The cemetery should include walking paths that are easy to navigate and well-lit. The landscape should also have proper drainage to avoid flooding.

Cremation and estate gardens within a cemetery should be well designed with pleasing textures, colors, water features and patterns that reflect the natural surroundings of the cemetery. These elements provide a soothing experience for mourners.

Mourners often leave flowers on columbarium walls and urn niches, so these structures must be designed to accommodate this practice without creating a maintenance problem. Newer designs incorporate clips beside each plaque for holding a single flower or small posy.

The layout of a cemetery should allow for efficient mowing lines and be designed to flow from one area to the next. It should be easy to find specific gravesites and memorials. The layout should also allow for the placement of benches, trees and other landscaping that will enhance the beauty and serenity of the property.


A headstone is one of the most important memorial choices you will make. A standard headstone contains the name of your loved one, their date of death, and a special inscription.

The most common headstones are made of granite, although they can also be made of marble and bronze. Granite is a popular choice because it is durable and affordable, and it can withstand temperature fluctuations and weathering.

The first step in creating a headstone is shaping and finishing the stone to its exact dimensions. The design is then etched or carved into the surface of the stone, which can be done either by engraving or etching. Engraving is a physical process that uses a rubber stencil and carbon-backed design arrangement to cut lines into the stone. A pitched rough finish is also available, which adds a more natural look to the headstone and fits in well with older cemeteries. Other finishes include honed, sawn, frosted, axed, and steeled.


A cemetery can be filled with a number of accessories that can help to further memorialize a deceased loved one. These items include crucifixes and other religious motifs, vases for flowers, lampposts, solar lights, statues and many more. These are often purchased both during the design process and afterwards to add more personalization and comfort to a family’s gravesite.

These accessories can also be used to make a grave more welcoming for visitors. For instance, a flag holder can be purchased and used for years to display a seasonal or holiday flag. This shows that the grave is being attended and may be more recognizable for a visitor than just an empty flower vase.

Another option is the ceramic photo that can be placed alongside a headstone inscription. These are a popular accessory that can be manufactured and installed by the headstone provider. These are a great way to show a loved one’s personality or interests.

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