How to Decorate a Grave - 20 Ideas
If you're looking for ideas on how to decorate a grave, you've come to the right place. In this blog post, we'll share 20 ideas that will help you personalise your loved one's final resting place.
From flowers and wreaths to photos and keepsakes, there are many ways to make a grave look special. So whether you're wanting to honour a life well-lived or simply show your love and support, keep reading for some inspiration.
What to avoid on a graveside
When choosing decorations for your loved one’s grave, there are a few things you will want to avoid. Glass can be difficult as it is hard too secure and could be blown onto neighbouring graves or get smashed. This could be a hazard to other visitors to the graveyard. Glass includes things like jars, picture frames and bottles.
You should also avoid adding fencing to the grave or choosing anything that could be easily blown or fall onto a neighbouring grave. The same goes for large flags or excessive amounts of balloons. While you might want a decorative grave, those around you might simply want to keep theirs clean.
How to decorate a grave
You can decorate the grave seasonally, or just for special occasions. You could also choose to add decorations once or keep updating them. The choice is yours. The only thing you will need to consider is the rules and guidelines of the church or cemetery. Always check before adding new decorations as there may be rules about what is and isn’t allowed.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for decorating your loved one’s grave, why not try these creative and thoughtful ideas:
Choose a decorative headstone
The headstone is the permanent decoration that will be there all year round, so it makes sense to choose something that reflects your loved one’s personality and how they would want to be remembered. You can choose engravings, statues or even photographs for your headstone to make it decorative and memorable.
Use personal items to decorate the grave
Decorating a grave with personal items can be an incredibly meaningful and impactful gesture. Placing important items like old photos of the deceased or special pieces of jewellery on the grave site is not only sentimental but can also create a valuable connection between those mourning and their loved ones.
While it may seem like such gestures go unappreciated, they often serve as a reminder that we are never alone, even after death. Additionally, creating an environment at a grave with memories of the person being honoured can bring comfort to those who come to visit and pay their respects.
Plant flowers or other plants around the grave
Planting flowers or other plants around a grave is an important way to honour and show respect for deceased loved ones. It takes time, dedication, and effort to nurture the plants so that they will continue to bring beauty to the space long after we are gone.
Whether it's colourful petunias, lush green calla lilies, or sweet-smelling roses, adding life to a final resting place is a meaningful gesture that brings peace and comfort to those who visit gravesites. By gently weaving life into this solemn corner of nature, we can help create a lovely place for our lost loved ones to be remembered in.
Place a wreath on the grave
There is something so powerful and solemn about placing a wreath on a grave. While the decorations we place to honour those who have gone before us, it is also a way to connect with them.
Often when we visit the graves of our loved ones, especially during the holidays, there is a special feeling engrossed in remembering what these people meant to us. A wreath is a symbol of hope that life goes on beyond this world and can bring peace and joy both to the ones left behind and those no longer here.
Put a flag on the grave
Decorating gravesites with a flag is a tradition that has become more common in modern times. It is an act of reverence and patriotism that often involves honouring ancestors who have served in the military and the sacrifice of their families.
Placing flags on gravesites is also seen as a way to remember the fallen and show respect for those who fought in service of the nation. The act of placing flags has been done before wars, funerals, and even days like Remembrance Sunday.
Hang wind chimes near the grave
While it may seem strange to some, it is a comforting ritual that dates back centuries to hang wind chimes near the grave of a beloved one. Wind chimes are believed to break bad luck and bring good, while their sweet and gentle refrain can provide comfort and solace in difficult moments.
As the wind carries each tinkling note through the air, it can be a reminder that our loved ones are never far away, quietly watching over us and keeping peace. The sounds of nature's music become a spiritual journey for those who remember their departed family, friends, or pets with this simple gesture full of love.
Set up a bird feeder near the grave
A touching way to commemorate the grave of a loved one or dear friend is to set up a bird feeder nearby. An offering of food to these feathered friends honours those buried beneath, and the simplicity of this act of kindness brings comfort and joy to mourners.
It's also enjoyable for all who pass by that spot, allowing them to honour the departed with an act of kindness as well – in many cases, inspiring feelings of generosity towards birds in other parts of town too. The symbolic gestures that come with setting up a bird feeder near a grave help to assure us that life continues even after death.
Put lights on it
Putting lights on a grave isn’t for everyone, but it can be a popular choice at Christmas. If your loved one always loved the bright lights of Christmas, why not honour them by placing brightly coloured lights on their grave?
You may need to ask permission from the church or cemetery before adding lights to a grave as there may be rules about this. You will have to find solar-powered lights that will work without batteries or mains power.
Leave decorative stones on the gravesite
Leaving stones on a gravesite is an ancient custom that has been practised for centuries. Stones are thought to bring strength, stability, and protection to the soul of those buried beneath them
Whether they are made of marble, quartz, or granite – the act of placing these small stones on a grave can be a powerful way to show your respect for the departed. They also look pretty and very decorative.
Use artificial flowers
If you can't visit the grave as often as you'd like, it can still be decorated with artificial flowers. Artificial bouquets, wreaths, and arrangements all add a special touch to the grave of your beloved one. They may not smell as sweet as real flowers, but they last much longer and are a colourful reminder of how much you care for the deceased.
Add children's artwork to the grave
If you have young children in your family, challenge them to make a piece of artwork to go on the grave. This could be a drawing, poem, or even a collection of small objects or mementoes that have been chosen to represent the person who has passed away.
This is an especially meaningful gesture for children as it gives them an opportunity to express their own love and grief in a positive way – while also honouring the memory of the deceased.
Lighting candles near the grave is another popular way to remember those who have passed away. It's an act of remembrance and respect that sends a silent message of love. You could leave tealights on the grave, or you could place them in a paper bag with a bit of sand at the bottom to help keep them grounded.
Add a post box
A post box is a popular choice for a graveside as it can allow you to leave special notes and cards for your loved one on special occasions. Writing letters to the deceased is a great way to express your love and grief, while also helping you to process the emotions that come with mourning.
Remember to empty the post box periodically so that individuals can keep adding their notes and cards without feeling like things are getting left behind.
Add some balloons on their birthday
Marking your loved ones' birthday will always be difficult, but you can still make a fuss at their grave if you know that's something they would have loved in life. Adding balloons to the grave on special days shows you still care and want to celebrate their life, even after they have passed away.
Choosing helium balloons will allow the balloons to float over the grave and brighten up the day of other mourners who might be visiting. Just be sure to tie them down securely so they don't float away.
Add a shepherd's crook
A shepherd's crook is a popular graveside accessory that will allow you to hang different items from the crook at different times of the year. This will help to brighten up the gravesite and give it a personal touch. You could hang a wreath, flowers, ribbons or even photos for special occasions like anniversaries and birthdays.
Try yarn-bombing the grave
Yarn bombing is a fun way to decorate a grave. It involves covering a structure – such as a gravestone – in brightly coloured knitting. You can knit a cover for the grave ahead of time and then fit it in place once you arrive. You can then stitch it snugly over the grave to create a bright and cheerful finish.
Stuffed animals are a great way to add some life and colour to the grave. You can choose a stuffed animal that was special to your loved one, or one that you think would be fitting for the occasion. Placing them on the grave is a subtle reminder of their presence and a small gesture of comfort in difficult times. You'll need to return to the grave to remove them, or place them under a shelter, as they will get damaged from rain over time.
If you live in a colder region, you might consider a grave blanket to protect the grave site. A grave blanket is an evergreen arrangement made up of boughs, ribbons and seasonal foliage. It covers the grave with a soft blanket of greenery which can help to make it look inviting and less bleak in winter months.
Coins have long been associated with graves and death, as they are thought to be the way to pay for passage into the afterlife. When visiting the grave, you can leave coins to honour and remember your loved one. It's a simple gesture that shows you still care.
One of the most famous graves that is adorned with pennies is Benjamin Franklin's grave; this is because of the old adage "a penny saved is a penny earned", which is often attributed to Franklin.
Add a new plaque
Just because you've had the gravestone made, it doesn't mean that it is finalised forever. You could attach a new plaque to the grave with a new message or poem to add an extra touch of sentimentality. You could also have the plaque inscribed with a message that is personal and meaningful, such as a favourite phrase or quote from your loved one. This can be a beautiful way to commemorate their life and express how much you miss them.
No matter which way you choose to honour the memory of your loved one, it is sure to be a beautiful and meaningful gesture. There are many other ways to remember those who have passed away – from writing letters or planting flowers in their honour, to setting up a memorial fund in their name. Whatever you choose, make sure that it comes.