The grave culture is different in Europe and represents the place where the respective cult of the dead is practiced. Although graves are generally located in a cemetery in Germany, they can be designed in different ways:
- the crypt as an underground space for keeping the deceased
- Graves as single graves, double graves or family graves for several people
- Urn grave
- Anonymous graves
The appearance of the grave is based on these forms of design. Until a few years ago, burial, i.e. the burial of the dead in a coffin in an earth grave, was the predominant form of burial. In the meantime, however, more and more people are choosing to be buried in an urn grave. The grave design changes accordingly.
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The grave design at the burial
For most people, tending the grave is also an act of coming to terms with grief. A beautifully designed grave is not only a tribute to the deceased, but also a place of calm and spirituality. If burial has been chosen to bury the deceased, either a single or a double grave will be chosen. Regardless, you have to take care of the grave design a few weeks after the funeral. This is a bit difficult with a fresh grave. Here you also have to choose the grave border and the tombstone or grave cross. Sometimes the ideas are simply missing to be able to get an idea of the future appearance of the tomb.
More and more people want to make the grave of their loved one as easy to care for as possible. Perhaps you live too far away to be able to take care of the plants regularly, or perhaps they are no longer able to do so because of their age. How can you design a grave in such a way that it looks appealing and yet does not require a lot of maintenance?
Grave design with gravel
Designing a grave with pebbles does not mean choosing no planting. It is always possible to incorporate one or a few evergreen plants. This is also an alternative if you do not want to commit yourself entirely to the design with stones or if the cemetery administration does not allow it. In some regions there is no provision for graves to be designed with stones only, just as it may be a requirement to set up either only one tombstone or only one grave cross.
You should choose pebbles for the grave design according to the size of the grave area. Not only can differences be made in the size of a pebble, but also the color. Bright white pebbles are not to everyone’s taste and can also cause displeasure among other people. They look unnatural and blind the eyes in the sunshine. Natural pebbles in a light gray or marble brown color can look much more natural and can be made into a beautiful grave with or without plants.
Basically, one should keep in mind that smaller pebbles look better on a single grave. Larger stones only make sense on a double grave. In contrast to horn shavings or mulch material, stones are also a living and natural substance, but are not scraped away by birds or have to be laboriously cleared to the side when planting individual flowers.
Grave design with stones
Stones can also be used very differently on the grave. Sometimes you can also see them as a border, which results in a very beautiful and natural picture. They can also be bought in different sizes and in different colors, if you want it individually, you can also collect them as boulders. Sometimes a certain stone is very typical regionally, such as the slate stone, for example. There are not many limits to the variety of designs with stones on the grave. Here too, as always, one should take the deceased’s preference into account a little. How would he like to have designed a grave? This can sometimes help if you are unsure yourself.
The less relatives can go to a cemetery to take care of the grave, the more likely they are to want an “easy-care” grave. It doesn’t have to end in a stone slab that needs no maintenance. Even with stones you can be individual and, contrary to the usual trend, represent a very personal grave. Patterns can be laid that create a beautiful picture with or without additional planting. To do this, it may be necessary to create guidelines that will hold the stones in place and won’t mess up the pattern. Such guide rails can be made of metal, but also of plastic. A garden center may offer the desired items here.
A pictorial design is particularly useful for double graves; the pattern should not be too extensive on a single grave. If you divide the grave in two halves with a line or divide it into thirds, different stone sizes and stone colors can already achieve a beautiful effect.
Design with stones and plants
The smaller the grave, the more difficult it is to plant plants, because the very limited area allows only very well thought-out planting. Because many graves should be as easy to care for – that is, you don’t want to go to the cemetery to water the flowers every day – the planting is correspondingly sparse. Which plants are now suitable for creating an easy-care, beautiful overall picture on the grave? Basically, they are divided into plants that form the basis and those that are planted seasonally:
- Plants that cover the ground such as ivy, cotoneaster or moss
- Flowering plants, e.g. B. pansies, chrysanthemums, marigolds, ice begonias
- Small trees and shrubs such as Japanese azalea, dwarf cypress
When choosing planting, it is essential to also take into account the location of the grave. Is it sunny or shady, under a tree or is it unhindered by all weather conditions? Furthermore, it must be taken into account how big the plants will be so that they do not overgrow the entire grave site after a year or two.
For these reasons, more and more relatives decide to design the grave site with gravel or stones. This is not only permanent, but also easy to care for and always makes for a beautiful sight. In this case, the planting is limited to a few elements that can be arranged in a bowl or in a recess between the stones.
In principle, weeds grow through everywhere, and homeowners know that very well. Grasses can push through between stones, so you should cover the surface of the grave with a special plastic film. But that doesn’t 100% prevent weeds from pushing their way through again, but it definitely prevents most of it. If you use foil as a base, you have to consider whether and where you should use a plant. To do this, you have to cut an opening in the foil so that the plant can enter there later.
For most relatives, it is sufficient if the stones prevent most of the unwanted growth. The soil should be raked through well beforehand, also to remove any remains of old plants.
Black earth and stones
Another way of designing graves with stones is to use grave earth or black earth, which comes into its own in combination with stones. If one imagines the area of the grave, a planting with cushion cloves, with small boxwood plants or the like can be made on the edge. The open space in the middle could be laid out with stones. You could put plants in the middle and fill the rest with stones, or you could leave a border of stones and the black earth next to the plants as a contrast.
In addition to grave lanterns, flower vases can also be found on graves. The space for this should be taken into account when considering the design. Should the grave lantern be placed on the front edge or rather in the middle? The vase can also be set up here or there. When working with stones, you just have to think twice, as changes later only mean work.
A small garden on the grave
Many relatives choose a completely natural and personal style for their tomb design. How about a border made of collected stones in the appropriate size? When placed nicely side by side, they make a beautiful and natural picture.
Bearskin grass, cushion cloves or ground cover can create a beautiful picture together with stones. The more stones you use, the less earth you will see in the end, because these plants also get bigger and take up space. You should also pay attention to whether the grave is in the sun or in the shade with evergreen plants. Perhaps the deceased was a rose lover? Then a ground cover rose would also appear appropriate. Even if the deceased cannot experience the planting, the certainty of creating a grave according to their preferences helps, above all, to cope with the grief.
When designing the grave, one often has to consider many factors. First of all, you should be certain that designing with stones is allowed in the cemetery, which is not the case everywhere. It is also important to consider whether you want to use stones with or without additional plants. This is not only decisive for the amount of stones. Evergreen plantings are easy to care for, but still leave a bit of naturalness on the grave. Using only stones, however, can appear sterile very quickly. Foil under the stones prevents weed growth, but cannot avoid it entirely.