23 Oct Landscaping as a Memorial: Honoring Someone Special with Nature
Memorial gardens are a lovely way to honor the memory of a loved one. By and large, they are places to go to reflect or pray, places of remembrance and contemplation. As such, they can be whatever you want them to be. In this post, we’ll look at some ideas for your memorial garden.
Choose a Space
Choose an area that is slightly secluded from the rest of your yard. This could be anything from a corner of a gazebo to a space you’ve carved out of the flower gardens. It should be a place where you can retreat from the world, at least for a little while. If possible, make this space visible from your home. That way, you can look at the garden and remember your loved one even when you can’t be outside.
Once you’ve decided on a space, come up with a plan, perhaps incorporating some elements you’ll see here. Map out the space on paper before purchasing any supplies, and work off that plan to avoid overcrowding the space.
Make it Peaceful
Flowing water is a nice addition to any garden, but especially a memorial garden. The sound of trickling water is calming, giving the space a feeling of tranquility. Fountains and bubbling boulders come in many shapes and sizes, and can be integrated into just about any space. Larger water features, including ponds, streams, and waterfalls, need more space and planning, but can help bring the space together by acting as a focal point.
Plant flowers, greenery, vegetables . . . whatever helps you feel at peace. Maybe the act of gardening is what brings you comfort, and it doesn’t really matter what’s planted. Maybe a rock garden is more your style. Whatever the case may be, plantings (or a rock garden) will fill out the space nicely, giving you the physical space to remember your loved one.
Shade on a hot summer day or a breeze blowing gently through leaves is enough to lift anyone’s spirits. If there’s room, plant a tree in memory of your loved one. Perhaps choose a favorite species of the person, or one that reminds you of them. If you don’t have a lot of room, consider a dwarf version that can either be planted in a smaller space or in a large pot.
Add seating to this space. You’ll be spending time in this garden, and should make it comfortable. Maybe this is a simple bench, maybe it’s a glider or porch swing. Choose something that complements the garden and won’t overwhelm the space.
If your loved one was an Armed Forces veteran, consider honoring their memory with a flagpole. Some people will install a raised garden bed around the pole, while others prefer a hardscape paver surface. Whatever you choose, it should help draw the eye to the flag without distracting from it. If you plan to fly the flag at all times, install landscape lighting to shine on it overnight.
Some people include a memorial statue, plaque, or engraved stone in their garden. This might contain a verse of remembrance or a prayer, or in some other way remind you of your loved one. While some statuary is designed specifically with memorial in mind—an angel statue, for example—the possibilities are endless. Maybe your loved one had gnomes in their front yard, and you include one to remember them by; maybe they really liked spending time in their own garden, and you include little frog statues throughout.
Did the person you’re remembering have favorite flowers? Or maybe there’s some other plant that reminds you of them? You could also include flowers that have certain meanings according to flower language, such as zinnias for absent friends or deep crimson roses for mourning. Including these in your garden design will help you remember your loved one in a subtle way and just might bring a smile to your face each time you see the flowers bending in the breeze.
Natural sunlight during the day is of course wonderful to help flowers and other plants grow in your garden. For the nighttime hours, though, you could add outdoor lighting. Solar lights are a cheap, popular option for garden paths, and come in a variety of designs. Other lighting options could spotlight a specific part of your garden, such as a water feature or statue. Adding lighting can also help set aside the space in winter, when there isn’t as much sunlight and landscape elements such as flowers won’t show up again until spring.
As you can see, a memorial garden can truly be as unique as you like. There are endless options for remembering your loved ones.