Modern Cemetery Design

Cemetery Design

Modern cemetery design must go beyond a place to lay a grave. It must connect with communities, celebrate family history and individuality.

It must work positively with the natural landscape and resurrect trees that were neglected for years. It should offer alternatives for burial to reduce the pressure on land resources.

Master Plan

Cemeteries provide individuals with a final resting place for burial of their loved ones either in a traditional grave, mausoleum crypt or niches. A cemetery may be owned by a municipality, religious organization or private and is financially supported either through on-going maintenance charges or trust of perpetual care funds.

Cemetery layout and design are critical to optimizing space. WC Fry Design can assist in evaluating the existing cemetery to identify opportunities for interment product expansions as well as ways to improve circulation and wayfinding on site.

Stephen Chiavaroli is a Cemetery GIS & Development / Strategic Planning Consultant with extensive experience in Cemetery mapping, design and analysis. He is a thought leader and an evangelist for Cemetery Mapping, paving the way to unlock cemetery grounds potential and drive revenue. Using the latest technology and software, he has assisted clients in developing their strategic vision for their cemetery and its operations. He has presented on Cemetery Mapping & Analysis at many renowned professional conferences.

Landscape and Architecture

Hines: Having an aesthetically pleasing cemetery is vital for long term marketability. Too often cemetery development obliterates an existing setting with monotonous expanses of graves that do not engage the mind. I am seeing a trend toward more unique cemetery designs that offer burial options in landscapes with differentiation and character.

Mourners frequently leave flowers (and other objects) on columbarium walls, and newer designs incorporate a metal clip or loop beside each plaque for holding a single flower or small posy. These clips help to eliminate the maintenance problem associated with squeezing a wire through a small opening in a wall.

WC Fry Design works with many different religious communities to master plan cemetery extensions and new sections. We enjoy working in these unique settings and believe that the best results are achieved when everyone is involved throughout the process. Our approach is to work with the management and board in a way that fits with their schedules, budget and availability for meetings.


Modern cemetery design looks beyond the simple placement of a gravestone. It offers options for families and individuals to celebrate life, heritage and their unique personality in a way that is integrated with a shared community. It requires a special kind of know-how.

The LA Group understands the complexities of this sensitive work. The firm has been recognized for its holistic approach to cemetery design, drawing on years of study and daily practice.

It helps clients find their way around a cemetery through directional signage and map designs that are both clear and legible from a distance. The LA Group also considers how a cemetery’s visitor demographic may affect the site plan. For example, converting asphalt roads to permeable materials can help reduce maintenance expenses. Choosing native grasses and organic fertilizers also cuts down on costly chemical runoff that damages headstones and monuments. And adding ponds encourages wildlife and provides opportunities for visitors to connect with nature.

Grading and Drainage

Mourners often want to leave flowers or small posies at the headstones of their loved ones. Newer designs of columbarium walls take this into account by incorporating a metal clip or loop beside each plaque to hold a flower stem or posy.

In general, the grading and drainage of a cemetery should match the natural terrain of its site. A well-designed grading plan is essential for the long term health of your cemetery grounds.

We at WC Fry Design work with many religious communities on their cemetery master plans, extensions and new sections. We understand the unique, religious setting of a cemetery and work to incorporate the site and burial traditions into the overall design. The goal is to create a cemetery that is as beautiful to visit as it is peaceful and serene. We strive to meet this with every project. This is especially true in creating memorial gardens and specialized burial areas for cremation.

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