Cremation is an increasingly popular option for Canadians. Naturally, many people have questions about how cremating remains will change the experience of visiting a cemetery to honour the life of a loved one. If you value this type of experience, you may be pleased to learn about cremation gardens at Arbor Memorial.
Just like traditional gardens which are designed for burials, cremation gardens anchor the memory of a loved one to a place in the cemetery. The primary difference is that cremation gardens offer more resting place options. In addition to the option of interring cremated remains below ground and marking the location with a monument, other possibilities include monuments which house the cremated remains within their structure, as well as dedication-only products.
Types of Monuments in Cremation Gardens at our cemeteries
A cemetery monument is an inscribed, upright structure or marker intended for memorialization. While the base may be manufactured from granite or concrete for strength, the upper, inscribed, portion is always created from durable granite that will stand the test of time. At Arbor Memorial, there are several types of monuments that may be selected for cremation gardens.
Cremation Monuments are upright structures made of granite to stand the test of time. The key element of cremation monuments is that cremated remains are interred within a chamber or niche in the structure itself. Options include outdoor family columbaria, benches, and some beautifying garden features including birdbaths and pillars.
Memorial Monuments are upright structures that serve as a marker for cremated remains that are interred in the lot below, much like traditional monuments are markers for the interred casket in front of them. Apart from the Rockwell bench which is sometimes offered as a dedication bench, these products are relatively small. However, you may also select a larger, traditional monument which consists of a tablet and base (colloquially known as “tombstones”).
Dedication Monuments are upright structures that do not contain cremated remains nor demarcate a below-ground lot. These monuments purely serve as dedications to a person’s memory. Some of our most popular examples include memorial benches, garden rocks, and trees. While originally designed to be offered on their own, you can also combine dedication monuments with the other two types of monuments found in cremation gardens.
Designing a Cremation Garden Monument
A dedicated Arbor representative will guide you through every step of the monument design process to ensure quality and consistency, and meaningful personalization.
There are four common elements to address when planning cremation garden monuments (unless you substitute the traditional monument style). The four common design elements are:
- Shape and Design (for some products)
Arbor’s core line offers cremation monuments in 3 shades of granite: Paradisio, Rustic Mahogany, and Black. These are natural granite colours that blend beautifully with the Canadian landscape of each cremation garden. We are happy to support another colour of your choosing if you would like to further personalize the monument.
After colour, the next element to decide on is the finish.
Rock pitch is a rough, very natural finish suited to the outdoor environment. It is pitched by hammer and chisel. Naturally, memorial rocks are finished in rock pitch (aside from the inscription area). It is also a preferred finish for the bases of family columbaria.
For the inscription area of memorial rocks, the full face or front side can be polished, or just a panel-sized portion. Most cremation monuments are polished as well because it creates the glossy and glass-like surface that many families prefer.
Steeled and frosted finishes are good alternatives to polish for any cremation product. This is usually done as part of the carving process to create a contrasting colour effect.
Finally, you can also choose a sawed, semi-smooth finish for the bottom or foundation of any product.
Shape and Design
If the monument you prefer is a memorial rock, a bench, or a family columbarium, you will also make decisions about its shape or design.
When discussing the shape of a monument, we are generally referring to the edges (top and sides) of a memorial rock. Memorial rocks can be triangular, round, rectangular or square.
In contrast, the design of a monument refers to the style of family columbaria and benches, whether they are cremation benches (containing a chamber or niche for the cremated remains) or memorial benches that mark the spot of an internment. Popular designs for benches include a pedestal at one or both sides which may or may not include a niche, as well as a bench with a rock on one side. Family columbaria may include design features like flat or peaked roofs, and wide foundations so that you can add accessories like a flower vase.
Monument personalization extends beyond the choice of colour, finish, shape and design. For loved ones, the inscribed dedication is truly what makes it special.
Think of your friend, the environmentalist. He might choose a dedication rock with a polished finish, inscribed with a favourite quote below his name. Or perhaps you choose a bench to mark the final resting place of your mother, so dad can sit and visit for a while.
Life stories are reflected in each cemetery monument at Arbor. These memorials provide comfort and a gathering place for friends and families to visit together as the years pass. We are honoured to offer cremation gardens so that you can equally pay homage to a precious life lived.
Learn more about Arbor cemeteries and memorials by reaching out to us at any time. Find the nearest Arbor location by entering your province and city, or postal code on our Locations page.