When it comes to cemetery design, the details matter. A cemetery master plan is the roadmap for the future. It outlines the cemetery’s vision for operations and services. The plan should involve the entire staff and should prioritize projects based on short-term and long-term goals. The master plan should be a work in progress, as your needs and priorities may change. For example, you may decide that you want to expand the cemetery’s chapel, but it’s not clear how to do that if it’s only your own.
The foundation of cemetery design is efficient grave layout and landscaping. Ideally, it would be composed of homogenous expanses of graves. However, new sections can be planned as landscapes with graves, creating sequences of places and spaces. The landscape design of a cemetery should be both functional and aesthetic, maximizing the space for a variety of uses, and preserving wildlife habitat. Cemetery design is not just about the aesthetics; it’s also important for a cemetery to meet community needs.
While preserving the aesthetics of a cemetery’s landscape is a delicate matter, the costs of construction and maintenance are substantial. In addition to construction costs, the cost of stormwater management may outweigh the benefits of cemetery landscaping. Cities may not invest in cemetery landscaping, but the up-front costs will pay off over time by reducing stormwater expenses. Additionally, a cemetery’s eco-friendly design can also help cut down on groundskeeping costs.
A cemetery design should fit into the existing landscape. However, it should be distinctive in its own right. The colors of flowers and trees, for example, are also important to consider. The soft and hard landscapes should complement each other, and signage and fences should be symmetrical. Lastly, landscaping, such as outdoor lighting, can enhance the overall look of the cemetery. The final design of a cemetery can help you create a peaceful environment for your loved ones.
Architects can create a cemetery design that incorporates a cemetery’s history and architecture. For example, the renowned French landscape architect, Antoine Etex, designed the opulent monument of Theodore Gericault. In addition, there are many female cemetery designers. Sally James Farnham, for instance, came late to the art scene after her husband Paulding Farnham, a noted Tiffany designer. In addition, she designed a statue of a nude woman, which marks the grave of dancer Vernon Castle. She later had the statue enlarged and commissioned by his widow.
The City of Johannesburg is exploring new approaches to cemetery planning and provisioning. Their goal is to develop innovative cemetery design methods that incorporate the cultural and religious diversity of the community. For urban areas, the design of a cemetery must be inclusive and environmentally sensitive. The city’s culture and religion also shape how people are buried. In the long run, limiting the use of land will only increase contestation over diminishing resources. In South Africa, for example, cemeteries must accommodate a wide range of cultural practices.
Small graveyards often had difficulty maintaining an equilibrium with their surrounding neighborhoods. City planners frequently thought that the land occupied by bones would be better used for other purposes. In 1847, the New York City’s Trinity Churchyard, for example, nearly was cut in half by a street, despite the protests of the Board of Aldermen. This posed a threat to the city’s sacred cemetery. A wealthy graveyard might have been able to relocate its dead to more convenient grounds.
Cemeteries have evolved over time. Today, there are various types of cemeteries, based on religion, cultural preferences, and legal regulations. The most common types include monumental cemeteries, memorial parks, garden cemeteries, municipal cemeteries, and natural burial grounds. There are many types of cemeteries, but they all have unique characteristics. For example, some cemeteries allow burial of animals. In other cases, they are only for human remains.