The Primary Step in the Cemetery Design Process

In the past, cemeteries were a tranquil place to remember loved ones. Today, however, people are demanding more options.

Cemetery design needs to be thoughtful and respectful of the deceased. It also needs to be accessible for all visitors, regardless of their physical abilities. This requires proper grading and drainage, as well as accessible signage throughout the property.

Master Plan

The master plan is the primary and most crucial step in the cemetery design process. It ensures cohesive planning and optimizes land utilization for improved accessibility and long term sustainability.

The plan should include all cemetery elements including burial types and quantities, mausoleums, cremation needs, funeral homes, chapels, administrative buildings, parking, roads and other infrastructure. It should also take into account the site’s zoning, climate, utilities, existing vegetation and other factors.

A new trend in cemetery designs is to think of the graveyard as a landscape and not just as an empty, homogenous expanse of graves. This allows the cemetery to create a more meaningful space for people to visit and commemorate the dead. It should also be mindful of the environmental impact and work with natural systems to enhance ecological services like regulating temperature, soil erosion, and flooding, as well as providing habitat for wildlife. It should also be considerate of different cultures’ values and beliefs around death.


When designing a cemetery, it is important to consider accessibility. This includes making sure that the property is wheelchair-accessible and that there are sidewalks throughout the grounds. It is also important to make sure that the cemetery has parking available for visitors.

Modern cemeteries are becoming more than just a place where loved ones are laid to rest. They are becoming a place for people to come and celebrate their lives, families, history, and individuality. This requires a different kind of design know-how.

The LA Group’s holistic approach to cemetery design has fostered a reputation for excellence, with a deep understanding of visitor experience, history, culture and architectural context. This combined with necessary sensitivity to the emotional nature of bidding farewell makes our design work respected and admired by government agencies, private cemetery organizations, municipalities and industry collaborators nationwide.


In this phase of the cemetery design process, a more concrete vision starts to take shape. Based on the site map and programming, the various program elements begin to form a cohesive whole. Areas that are more amenable to development are identified, and relationships between the elements are determined. This information is used to create the cemetery’s master plan.

Signage in a cemetery is vital to help visitors navigate and find their loved ones’ graves. Decorative elements, different shades of green that reflect the landscape, and species of flowering trees must be chosen carefully to give the cemetery its identity. Directional signage must follow standard protocol and be easily readable. In addition, signage for the public online cemetery maps and records must be provided so visitors can do their own deceased searches. For example, a QR code can be placed on the sign to direct visitors to the Chronicle map and record link. This reduces administrative work for the cemetery staff.


A cemetery is a complex environment, where reverence and commerce mingle. Its success depends on the ability to balance revenue generation, management of expenses and societal obligations.

This is why cemetery design must be holistic in nature, addressing not only practical needs but also the cultural and spiritual dimensions of this unique space. Moreover, it must provide the necessary framework for a successful remembrance experience.

Cemeteries must be able to provide a range of innovative services that can help individuals cope with grief and loss. For example, hosting memorial events or partnering with online platforms can help families raise funds for funeral costs and generate additional income for the cemetery. It can also encourage pre-need sales, which ensures a steady stream of revenue and reduces operational costs in the long run.

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