The Memorial Garden construction at St. Mary and St. Martha Episcopal Church in Buford is perhaps our most rewarding project. We did the design work and serve on the garden team on a volunteer basis, while the construction of the garden was a contracted project for Greenland Landscape & Masonry.
The garden has taken on a life of it’s own. It is a place for remembrance and burial of cremated remains of our parishioners, as well as a place for worship, gardening, meditation, and gathering outdoors.
Church cremation gardens will increase in popularity, as people realize there is no better final resting place than among your Church community.
We would like to assist other Churches and religious communities with the design, development, and construction of their cremation gardens.
Design of a Memorial Garden: Guidelines
A memorial garden is different than a monument. A garden should be a place of comfort, remembrance, and community, whereas a monument is an object to look at; a visual reminder. Essential Design Features of a Memorial Garden are:
- An easy walking path leading to and through the garden to accommodate people from all stages of life and all types of footwear.
- Comfortable outdoor seating. Low walls, 16″ to 18″ tall, and benches are ideal.
- Overhead cover. This could be a roofed structure, an open arbor with vines, or trees. Shade is essential, and protection from wind and rain is desirable.
- Garden Plants. Planting should be designed for 4 season beauty. For example, starting from winter to fall a plant list could include: Camellias, Lenten rose, daffodils and tulips, azalea, hydrangea, roses, butterfly bush, Limelight hydrangea, and Japanese maple. A theme of plants from the Bible is popular. Consider incorporating wildlife, such as a butterfly garden, bird baths and houses.
- Activity. Community and friendships are formed through volunteer gardening groups and prayer and study groups held in the garden.
- Additional features are lighting, fountains, fenced boundaries, and structures.