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Memorial Garden Planning

Architarium»Memorial Garden Planning
Memorial Garden Background

Memorial gardens hosted by member-based organizations for the inurnment of cremains are increasingly popular and poised for success. There are multiple reasons for this movement. The average funeral is expensive and sometimes families struggle to afford burial. This is one reason that Americans are increasingly choosing cremation as a cost-effective, simple and environmentally-friendly option for final disposition. At the same time, Americans are looking for funeral services and final disposition options that are more personally meaningful. It makes sense that they are attracted to memorial gardens hosted by organizations to which they belong, like churches and universities. In fact, there is a return to the tradition of church yard burial. There is a nice synergy because members need affordable burial and memorial gardens with a columbarium strengthen membership through affinity.

While it is normal to start thinking about a memorial garden project in terms of a columbarium (and construction in general), it is important to take a holistic approach and address the parts of the puzzle that precede and succeed construction as well. Get started with our memorial garden resources.

Memorial Garden Planning

Memorial garden planning is one of the most important steps in your entire project. It will ensure that you get the best value for your money, that your project doesn't have cost over-runs, that the project runs on schedule, etc. Most importantly, planning ensures that the final result will be what you envisioned at the beginning.

Architarium's approach is to offer both do-it-yourself planning materials and professional planning services for memorial garden planning. This allows you to decide how much of the project you want to do yourself. Even if you decide to use professional services for most of the project, you will still understand what is involved and be able to make the appropriate decisions.

Most of our clients are very involved in their memorial garden projects. They typically form a columbarium committee comprised of management and volunteers who plan and execute various project components. When the project is complete, these clients note that: 1) the memorial garden meets their community's specific needs and 2) they know that they have made a difference in their community.

Memorial Garden Products

The columbarium is the central structure of a memorial garden. However, memorial gardens often have additional components. Deciding which to incorporate is driven by a combination of budget, space, need and preference.

To get started, get information on actual products in each category to assess available designs and features.

Columbarium niches come in many forms at Architarium. Most common are the wall insert and free standing columbaria. These can be made in many configurations. However, memorial gardens often strive for variety and niche buyers sometimes look for choice. So Architarium also offers a ground niche system.
Memorial walls allow you to identify individuals buried in urns under a lawn or scattered in a scattering garden. It also allows commemoration of loved ones inurned elsewhere.
Engraved bricks can serve the same purpose as a memorial wall but are more often used as a fund raising tool.
Recognition for donors and volunteers can be done with engraved bricks. It can also be done through naming opportunities on various memorial garden components: benches, columbarium sections, even the entire memorial garden. This can be accomplished with plaques or sometimes with direct engraving.
Signage is important for a memorial garden. It designates the space as a memorial garden. It is also used to direct people to the garden. Signage most often take the form of a cast plaque or letters because this technology can looks formidable and withstands exterior elements better than most.
Columbarium Sales & Administration

Once the memorial garden is complete, it will need to be managed. The two primary tasks are sales and administration. To operate a memorial garden successfully, it is essential to plan for these functions in advance of construction. In fact, many organizations pre-sell niches.

Most organizations actively promote their memorial garden to ensure that members are aware of the service and can plan estates in advance. Pre-planning a funeral is known as "pre-need" in the funeral industry. To market a memorial garden involves creating visibility and providing marketing materials.

Marketing encourages niche sales, but niches will sell eventually on an "at-need" basis. At this time, it is necessary to provide by-laws, or terms of use, because a niche sale is a contractual agreement.

Administrative tasks follow niche sales: recording sales, arranging funeral services, engraving face plates, etc.

Additional sales activities may accompany administration as families often look for funeral assistance beyond burial. The most common requests are for funeral services and urns.

Columbarium Products

Niche buyers will often turn to the memorial garden for urn needs. Be prepared to offer urns or direct families to sources of suitable urns.

Our columbarium system also allows a choice of urns. Our standard 12x12x12 inch niche is truly a box that will fit many commercially available urns. In addition, we can manufacture custom niche sizes.

Choice is a particularly important point for your members. Some systems require use of a specific urn, typically industrial in appearance. Other manufacturers sell a specific urn because it fits into their niches. However, be aware that there may not be many other urns that will fit. For example, we offer a common rectangular bronze urn. It is very versatile. But its shape and size are not common.

Families typically want to select an urn and one that is visually appealing. Since families rarely purchase urns in advance, you may want to stock some suitable urns for immediate use or provide a list of urn suppliers for the family. You can choose from Architarium's urns or other commercially available urns. We will provide you with dimensions to determine the maximum size urn that will fit into a niche, given the niche size, the urn shape and plans for single or double inurnment. Architarium offers urns specifically selected to fit into the standard 12x12x12 inch niche as a pair. Using our urns, there is no guessing and there are no surprises.

Memorial Garden and Columbarium Help
Architarium's support website will walk you through each step and provide appropriate hands-on materials to help you plan and execute your project.
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