Planning and Design for Cemeteries

Cemetery Design

Cemeteries need to make a good impression from the outset, which starts with thoughtful planning and design. A cemetery’s landscape and architecture can communicate your message through color, shape and other design elements.

Harboring lands to avoid water runoff, planting trees for their beauty and the shade they provide and transitioning asphalt roads to permeable materials can save on costly maintenance.

Master Plan

Having a well-crafted master plan will help you to navigate the future of your cemetery. It will serve as a roadmap for your entire property and ensure that you are following best practices and taking into account any potential issues.

Hilton Landmarks is widely recognized for its design and consulting expertise with cemetery projects for municipal, religious, not-for-profit and private cemeteries across the United States and Canada. Our cemetery designers are skilled in balancing a sense of place and identity with site functionality, ultimately resulting in creative built results that respect on-going maintenance costs.

We work to develop modern burial sections that incorporate high end options like family mausoleums and private estate gardens, bench estates, scatter gardens and cremation niches. We take advantage of natural features such as streams, woodlands, hills, boulder outcrops and scenic vistas. Good design adds value and can increase revenues. For example, converting asphalt roads to permeable materials saves on costly repairs, and native grasses reduce chemical runoff and eliminate the need for fertilizers.

Landscape and Architecture

Cemetery landscapes must be beautiful and calming while still meeting the needs of visitors. This may include sidewalks and wheelchair-accessible paths throughout the property. It may also include a variety of plants and trees that are suited for the climate and site conditions. Proper drainage is another consideration. Drainage systems should be designed by a professional to ensure that water is redirected away from gravesites and buildings.

Cemetery architecture has evolved over the years to meet changing lifestyles and attitudes toward death. Modern cemeteries offer options such as multi-story columbariums, which provide niches for urns at half the price of a traditional stone grave. They may also offer scatter gardens to spread ashes in a natural setting.

The LA Group can help revitalize and expand community or historic cemeteries with master planning and implementation services. This can include consulting on financial options, opportunities for funding and volunteer development. This may also include community outreach efforts to generate interest and support for a project.


Cemeteries are unique environments that require thoughtful consideration when designing. An Architect needs to be sensitive to the delicate space and provide a design that will ensure long term sustainability and stability of the environment.

The lighting of a cemetery is an important aspect in its design and must be carefully considered to ensure that the entire site is well lit. This will help to improve safety and security and make it easier for visitors to find their way around the cemetery.

Solar lights for graves are a great alternative to candles and can be used in a variety of ways. They are also much more durable and can last a lot longer than candles. They are made of high-quality materials that can withstand harsh outdoor conditions. They can be mounted to a tombstone or other flat surface with a special adhesive. They also have a protective coating to avoid dust accumulation.


A cemetery’s signage communicates its mission and identity through directional signs, monument/headstone signage, informational maps, and other outdoor amenities. The right design shows the world what you stand for, makes people remember your brand, and helps potential customers understand if your product is right for them.

It’s also important that the Cemetery maintain its appearance by grading and ensuring proper drainage to avoid flooding and other site issues. Proper grading also helps ensure that a cemetery’s graves and monuments have enough space for expansion in the future.

The next step in the cemetery design process is to identify the types of memorialization and headstones that will be allowed on the grounds. Most cemeteries have a set of rules that govern the size, construction, and placement of memorials on their property. These restrictions may be cemetery wide or specific to a burial site. Depending on the cemetery, trained professionals like memorial counselors can assist with the memorial selection process to make sure personal expectations and specifications are met.

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