Landscape Design for Cemeteries

Cemetery Design

Cemeteries can be a very unique landscape design opportunity. They have the potential to be a beautiful and peaceful place where people can reflect and find peace.

However, Cemetery Design needs to be sensitive to the surrounding environment and be thoughtful about how the Cemetery can differentiate itself from other typical places. This requires a good master plan and proper site development.


Signage is an important component of cemetery design. It can help guide visitors and prevent them from getting lost. It should be clear and easy to read from a distance. It should also use materials that can withstand weather conditions.

For example, directional road signs at the Rohatyn Jewish Cemeteries in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast follow the Ukrainian national standards for size, corner radius, arrow form, and typeface. They feature eye-catching interwar photographs of Rohatyn’s Jewish communities, along with a simple map and key labeling the variety of Jewish physical heritage sites throughout the city.

The signs also include a description of the types of memorials, monuments and headstones allowed at the site. Restrictions may be cemetery wide or apply to specific burial plots. In addition, they should identify the types of urns and caskets that can be used for burial. Some of these include biodegradable urns and caskets that break down in the ground, releasing nutrients into the soil to create new life.


Cemeteries must be sensitive to the natural surroundings and the cyclic daily weather patterns. They also need to consider a variety of landscape materials and textures in order to blend with the environment.

A well-designed grading system is crucial to a Cemetery’s operation. This helps to prevent flooding and ensures that water is properly directed away from the burial grounds and buildings.

Hard-to-develop areas require responsive cemetery designs that are expressive of the unique setting. It takes more thought and effort to create a functional design for these types of locations but it can be done well.

It is important for both new and existing cemeteries to revisit their master plans on a regular basis, perhaps every five years. This process allows the owner to make adjustments based on market changes and business/financial trends as well as evaluate options for future growth and expansion. The plan can also provide a framework to help reduce project costs.


A well conceived drainage system is crucial for any Cemetery. The design should direct water away from gravesites and buildings to avoid any potential flooding. Proper grading is also important, as it allows for proper flow of stormwater and reduces the amount of runoff that can occur on the property.

Good Cemetery Master Planning takes into account both the short and long term needs of a Cemetery. It includes developing a program statement that encompasses burial types and quantities, mausoleums, cremation needs, chapels, office buildings, parking, vehicular and pedestrian circulation.

Whether a Cemetery is located in an urban or rural setting, it can be difficult to maintain the existing landscape. The LA Group can assist in finding ways to improve the ambiance and visual appeal of the property. This can be achieved through signage, plantings, special water features and memorial furniture designs that complement the existing setting. This can help increase marketability and profitability. The LA Group can also provide guidance with grant funding opportunities and volunteer development.


A cemetery’s planting is a vital part of the overall design. It adds texture, beauty and helps with ground stabilization and erosion control. It should be carefully researched and planned to meet specific climate, soil conditions and flow requirements. This will result in cleaner mowing lines, reduced maintenance and higher aesthetics. It is also important to consider the cemetery’s visitor demographic when planning for planting. For example, a cemetary may not want to plant trees with falling nuts, seeds or fruit near graves.

A well-designed master plan will improve land utilization, increase aesthetics and help maximize marketability. It will also ensure that long and short term goals are met. A cemetery’s master plan should be reviewed on a regular basis. Perhaps every 5 years at a minimum. This can be accomplished through a process that best fits the board’s available time and budget. This could include a series of workshops or a detailed analysis.

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