How to Create a Memorial Garden
One of the best ways to commemorate the life of a loved one is by creating, funding, or planning a memorial garden. Long after the initial funeral planning process is finished, you can keep memories alive with an outdoor space that can be used for private reflection or even public use.
Most memorial gardens are small and private, usually built in a backyard or on a family plot of land. In fact, you can even have a garden in a pot placed in a sunny kitchen location—as long as it brings you comfort and focuses on the continuation of life, there is no reason why you can’t do whatever feels right. For those who want to make a larger difference, you may be able to make a donation to a local park or even establish a new park that is commemorated to a loved one. This typically comes at a high cost, but lasts for generations.
Items to include in your memorial garden include:
- Flowers and other plants. A memorial garden can be a wild, rustic place where you scatter handfuls of chamomile and forget-me-nots, or it can be carefully tended, with flowers that have to replanted every year (this is a great way to recognize an anniversary). Many people prefer plants with a soothing scent, while others might opt for ones that were the favorite of the deceased.
- Plant a tree or shrub. Flowers and other delicate plants typically have to be replanted and maintained. If you want something that will grow and flourish with minimal hassle, a tree or other hardy bush is a better choice.
- A headstone or plaque. Any kind of physical commemoration that highlights the deceased’s name, age, birthdate, or favorite inscriptions is a great addition to a garden. This can be a bench, part of a wall, or a simple footpath stone you made yourself.
- Garden art. Pillars, sculptures, ironwork, latticework, fountains, and other types of garden art add a great and personal touch to a memorial garden. Specialty items (like fairies for someone who loved them or a historic look that captures the era of the deceased’s youth) can make a big impact.
- Water features. If you have a large space, a tranquil pond or waterfall adds a nice touch. The gentle sounds can help others move through the grieving process in a place that is safe and free from too much noise.
Memorial gardens exist all over the world as a testament to the people we have loved and lost. Many tributes go up to victims of a particular situation (such as the 9/11 attacks), while others are part of a personal legacy or philanthropic dedication.
However, it doesn’t have to be big to make a difference. A memorial garden on your own back porch—one that you can ask family members to help build—is often the best kind. And if you have cremated remains to scatter, a memorial garden is often the ideal place to do it.