Modern Cemetery Design

Modern cemetery design focuses on a connection with families and communities. It offers options for every personality to be memorialized the way they want to be remembered.

Landscape design includes flowing mowing lines, lush plantings and trees with pleasant textures and scents that add character and beauty to the cemetery grounds. Ponds, natural or constructed, also serve as wildlife habitat.

Master Plan

Modern cemetery design demands more than just a place to lay a loved one to rest. It needs to be a vibrant celebration of family, history, and individuality integrated within a shared community. Incorporating all that requires a unique blend of sensitivity and practical know-how.

A solid master plan will identify short and long term needs for the site, guide implementation over time and provide a roadmap for future development. Our master planning process includes comprehensive analysis of site conditions (e.g. topography, drainage, climate, utilities, zoning and adjacent land uses) and an understanding of how a cemetery operates.

We account for burial types, cemetery facilities, office buildings, maintenance yards and other support structures to determine the most efficient use of available space. We also ensure all system piping is properly sized during the master plan phase to minimize both up front construction costs and future replacement costs down the road.


Headstones are the most common form of a memorial for a deceased individual in a cemetery. These are erect pieces of stone that include the name, birth and death dates and sometimes epitaphs for the deceased person. They can also have a unique design or symbol for the deceased.

Many cemeteries have rules about the types of headstones they allow to keep a uniform look for the grounds. It’s important to know what these rules are before you shop for your headstone to avoid any confusion.

Another option is a monument, which is similar to a headstone but is larger and usually tells the story of a person through images and wording. These are usually made from granite, which is one of the most durable and long-lasting materials. Another popular material is bronze, which can be used for decorative purposes on the monument. These are usually shaped into various designs and sizes depending on the individual preference.

Interior Design

The interior design of a cemetery should be thoughtful and well-considered. A cemetery should be easy to navigate and accessible for people of all abilities. It should also be well-lit and have proper access to parking.

Cemeteries should incorporate natural features like water features, wooded hillsides and high points into the design. This can help with land use efficiency and create a more attractive landscape for visitors. It is important to work with natural systems and re-use landscape elements to minimize up-front costs.

Cemeteries should also consider re-using existing graves. This can be a difficult decision as it often requires contacting family members of those originally interred. However, it can be more cost-efficient and allow for greater flexibility when planning new burial space. Moreover, it can make the cemetery feel less like an industrial place and more like a unique public space. This is an excellent way to show that the cemetery is still an active part of the community.

Landscape Design

In the past, cemetery landscapes were “naked and desolate,” according to a landscape tastemaker in The Country Gentleman (1857). Modern cemeteries can become more than just a place for burial but a landscape that engages visitors.

The blending of cemetery design with landscaping can help to keep these historic landscapes resilient and ecologically sound. This is especially important for older cemeteries that need to generate revenue while also caring for their beloved landscapes.

The cemetery landscape must be a balance of hardscapes and softscapes, and must also be aesthetically pleasing to visitors. Small improvements like special water features, memorial furniture designs and directional signage that follows protocol are essential in creating a meaningful experience for mourners. The plantings must be adapted to the cemetery’s climate and soil conditions. Mourners often leave flowers on columbarium walls and the plantings must provide them with a suitable environment. Newer columbarium wall designs include metal clips or loops on the sides of each plaque to hold a single flower stem or small posy.

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