The Importance of Cemetery Design

Saying goodbye to a loved one is an incredibly personal and difficult experience. A good cemetery design allows people to find peace and comfort through a well-designed setting.

Cemetery Master Planning is a crucial process that provides a clear path for the future of a cemetery site. It optimizes land utilization and improves the overall aesthetic of a cemetery site.


A cemetery’s landscape is an important part of a person’s final resting place. It offers family members and friends a place to visit, walk, paint, relax or simply reflect. It also serves a number of practical functions such as reducing stormwater runoff, preserving historic landscapes and promoting biodiversity.

Mourners often leave flowers on columbarium walls or near grave markers. To accommodate this desire, newer designs include metal clips beside each plaque for a single stem or small posy.

The goal of a landscape architect in a cemetery is to enhance the experience by adding beauty and comfort. The right plants provide low maintenance and create an environment that will withstand the test of time. WC Fry Design works with religious cemeteries on their master plans, expansions and new sections.

Burial Grounds

Cemetery space is specifically designed for burials and memorialization, as opposed to family plots at a home or land adjoining a church (churchyard). The word cemetery gives away that it’s a place set aside for the dead.

Cemeteries serve as a spiritual space for people to visit, reflect and connect with their loved ones who have passed on. The inscriptions seen on gravestones, the architecture of monuments and the landscape design of cemetery grounds reveal information about family histories and emotional experiences over time. This provides a sense of permanence that is invaluable to families. In addition, a well-designed cemetery can provide habitat for wildlife and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This is important because it allows the cemetery to retain its ecological character even as it continues to meet the needs of the community.


Mausoleums are above-ground burial options that provide a clean and dry place to lay one’s casket. They also work well in areas with wet or unstable ground where traditional graves and tombstones may fail.

Families can choose to purchase a private mausoleum where they can design the space down to the last detail. The size of these structures varies and can be as grand as a large walk-in structure with doors, windows, sitting areas, statues and prayer kneelers.

Mourners often leave flowers on columbarium walls. These spaces are designed to accommodate this practice with clips or loops beside each plaque that allow mourners to attach a single flower stem or small posy.


Historically, it has been up to families and friends to construct and maintain gravestones and monuments. However, the proliferation of individual headstones and slabs has often been perceived as an unattractive sight, leading to new cemetery designs that either standardise or prohibit the construction of a memorial.

Monuments are above ground memorials, varying in size based on the number of burials per lot (see cemetery rules). This granite monument has a sarcophagus style that is designed to hold the remains, which is capped with vines, representing eternal life.

The engraved text on this monument is designed to be easily legible for those visiting the site and is a good example of a design that uses deep carvings on hard-wearing stone that can weather centuries in cemeteries.


Whether it’s an entrance sign, directional signage, cemetery rules, memorial plaques or maps the design of cemetery signs is important for the look and feel of the space. This requires an understanding of the cultural and architectural context of the place.

Modern cemetery design must think beyond just a burial ground; it must be a vibrant celebration of life, family, history and individuality integrated into a shared community. This requires a special kind of knowledge that we have at WC Fry Design.

We help our clients reimagine their existing cemeteries, find opportunities to increase capacity, reduce maintenance costs and offer new burial options to the community. We can also assist with funding and volunteer development, as well as provide a master plan for future improvements and expansions.

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