It’s no secret cremation is increasing in popularity in the United States. More than ever, people are choosing cremation for its convenience, affordability and flexibility. Despite this changing preference, lasting memorials remain an important part of a family’s heritage. What’s more, a permanent memorial assists families with the mourning process, as it offers a specific place to visit and remember the loved one’s life.
In response to the rising cremation rate, cemeteries and memorial gardens across the country are expanding their offerings for permanent memorials. Columbaria, niches and cremation gardens are just a few of the many additions a cemetery can make. But as each new project is considered, cemeteries should remember to keep a master plan in mind. Long-term planning for the future can help make the most of available space.
Master Plan Considerations
A successful master plan always begins with envisioning the end result and carefully considering several details. What are your goals? Do you want to integrate a certain theme at the cemetery? For example, a cemetery in a waterside community may want to incorporate a nautical theme. As you consider each addition, does it fit with your cemetery’s theme? Does each new structure fit in architecturally with the rest of your cemetery?
Material selection is another important consideration for a master plan. A plan that includes granite as a primary building material for columbaria brings numerous benefits such as longevity and low maintenance. Granite also offers an increase in design options made possible through modern technology.
Advances in sandblasting and carving technology, for example, allow skilled stone manufacturers to create art in natural stone thought impossible only decades ago. Photographs and other images can be transferred to memorials with realistic detailing, using sandblast and carving techniques. Lettering can be carved and enhanced with a color element, and the precise replication of ornate elements is possible.
Today, cemeteries have more options than ever before when offering memorials to families of loved ones who have chosen cremation. Columbaria are available as pre-assembled structures, or they can be extensively designed, including both stand-alone configurations and those that reside within another structure. What’s more, columbaria can be customized with various architectural styles, carvings, murals, sculptures and other ornamental elements.
In addition, the following beautiful tributes are becoming increasingly popular in cemeteries across the country.
- Boulders and Stones: Embedded with a bronze memorial of the loved one, granite boulders and stones can be beautiful additions to a cremation garden. They add attractive structure to the garden atmosphere, where loved ones can come to remember.
- Pillars: Cremation pillars combine the beauty of granite and bronze to create a personalized memorial. Images and words can be captured in bronze for a custom tribute.
- Bronze butterflies: Attached to cremation benches or boulders, bronze butterflies bear a loved one’s name and dates. Bronze butterfly memorials are rising in popularity for their creative and natural symbolism of rebirth and new life.
- Benches Granite benches are available in numerous designs and can either stand alone or complement Private Estates®, community mausoleums, cemetery gardens, with the option to incorporate bronze plaques or cremation urns.
- Glass-front niches: Popular for interior applications, custom-designed glass-front niches offer numerous opportunities for creating a personalized memorial. Loved ones may place keepsakes or mementos alongside the cremation urn for display, and with the option of interior lighting. Glass-front niches offer the option of redecorating and availability in different sizes.
- Granite columbaria: Granite columbaria are used in exterior applications — both independently and oftentimes as part of a larger multi-product cremation garden. Outdoor gardens are continuing to gain popularity as a creative
venue for memorialization, frequently utilizing space unsuitable for traditional burial and offering a variety of price points.
Loved ones have many options when choosing a permanent memorial for cremains. With indoor and outdoor memorial selections available, family members can personalize a beautiful tribute to a life well lived. Working with your building supplier, establish a relationship built on open, honest communication to ensure success for your future memorialization projects.