There’s more to a cemetery than meets the eye. Not only is it a space for burial and mourning, but it is also a space for healing and acceptance. It isn’t only a place for the dead, it is also a place for the living.
A cemetery tells us how we live life as humans and how we acknowledge the fact that life ensues amid the presence of the dead. That’s why people give importance to the picturesque features of a cemetery. That is where cemetery landscaping comes into the picture.
Here are six landscaping elements typically incorporated in a cemetery:
1. Landscaping theme and design
A cemetery typically has a landscaping theme. It usually has a uniform design, coordinated colors, and streamlined elements as a way to promote peace and neutrality. In the past, particularly during the Victorian times, the rural-style cemeteries used to be popular. These cemeteries served as both a burial place and relaxing destination for people looking to have a picnic around gravestones.
Later on, there came the inception of memorial parks where the idea of landscaping had sprung to life. Throughout the 20th century, cemeteries have evolved which paved the way for grave gardening. Today, there’s what we call “green burial,” which entails landscaping a cemetery while reducing its environmental impact.
2. Surrounding trees
It’s easy to see surrounding trees in a cemetery. These trees are key elements in cemetery landscaping. While tall trees make up the general layout of a cemetery, small evergreen trees serve as grave markers.
A few examples of trees in a cemetery are oak, maple, and yew trees. Winter trees are best as well for the cold months. As the leaves have fallen and the grounds have been covered with snow, these trees stand out with their picturesque view.
3. Shrubs and plants
Apart from trees, shrubs and plants are dime a dozen in a graveyard. Same with trees, shrubs also serve as grave markers. On the other hand, plants provide dense foliage that enhances the beauty of a cemetery.
Evergreen shrubs such as Deutsia gracilis, Pyrus Japonica, Syringas, Weigela, and Rosea are ideal for a graveyard. A few examples of plants in a cemetery are The Bay Lily, the Pansy, White Iris, and Paeonies, which come in a variety of leaves and flowers. They are perfect for growing and remaining evergreen throughout all seasons.
Of course, flowers play a special role for the dead. People offer flowers as a way to show love and reverence for the person who has passed away. These flowers are a means of showing strength and support to people who have lost.
That’s why it’s easy to see various blooms in a cemetery, especially during spring. You’ll see pansies and snapdragons showing off their splashes of colors. You’ll also notice Daylilies because of their abundant flowers and lush leaves. Finally, you’ll have a glimpse of red (Geranium), white (Alyssum), and blue (ageratum and salvia) flowers during military graves.
A lawn makes up a huge portion of a cemetery. And for this reason, lawn care is very crucial.
In the past, cemeteries were in poor condition. You could encounter weed growth, brown spots, sloughing, and soil erosion in a graveyard. While weeds and bare spots could be such an eyesore, sloughing and erosion could deteriorate markers, retaining walls, and grave markers.
Today, lawn care is taken seriously. This lawn maintenance includes providing natural lighting, enough watering, regular mowing, weed control, pest control, aeration, and fertilization. Ultimately, all these help maintain the lawn and keep its aesthetics in the long run.
6. Other landscaping elements
Aside from the trees, plants, and lawn, you’ll find various man-made materials as part of the cemetery landscape.
First, you’ll see markers and headstones in individual graves, so be sure to find the best tombstone for your departed loved one. They are usually embellished with plants, wreaths, and candles as part of the grave decoration. You’ll also see some artifacts of significance such as grave crosses, statues, arranged stones, and other grave structures.
Finally, you can now encounter electric grave lights with LED and solar as the latest trend used in a graveyard.
All the elements incorporated in a given cemetery do serve a purpose. They make up a place for those deceased to have a dignified death and a graceful exit from this world. They also allow space for grieving, healing, and acceptance for those who are alive and have lost their loved ones. So when the time comes you’ll be pushing up daisies, choosing a cemetery with the best landscaping can make a world of difference!