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A Comprehensive Guide to Cemetery Plot Sizes and Layouts

Mallory J Greene
Mallory J Greene
May 28th 2024 - 6 minute read
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Discover the variety of cemetery plot sizes, from single to family plots, and how cemeteries are laid out with sections, blocks, and rows. Explore specialized areas like mausoleums and scattering gardens.

When it comes to selecting a final resting place, understanding cemetery plot sizes and layouts is crucial. These hallowed grounds are meticulously planned and organized, with each plot and section serving a specific purpose. From traditional in-ground burials to cremation niches and mausoleums, cemeteries offer a range of options to accommodate various preferences and cultural traditions.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the different types of cemetery plots, their dimensions, and how cemeteries are typically laid out, providing you with the knowledge to make an informed decision for yourself or your loved ones.

Cemetery Plot Sizes: Tailored to Individual Needs

Cemetery plots come in various sizes, each designed to cater to specific burial preferences and requirements. Understanding these dimensions is essential when purchasing or reserving a plot, ensuring that it meets your needs and aligns with your desired burial arrangements.

Single Plots: The Standard Option

Single plots, also known as single-depth or single-grave plots, are the most common type of cemetery plot. These plots are designed to accommodate one full-body burial, typically measuring around 3 feet wide by 8 feet long. The depth of a single plot can vary, but it's generally deep enough to allow for a single casket burial, typically ranging from 4 to 6 feet deep.

Double-Depth Plots: Accommodating Multiple Burials

Double-depth plots, as the name suggests, are designed to accommodate two full-body burials, one on top of the other. These plots are typically the same width as single plots (around 3 feet) but are longer, measuring approximately 8 feet by 12 feet. The increased depth, usually ranging from 7 to 9 feet, allows for two caskets to be buried vertically, with enough space between them to meet cemetery regulations.

Cremation Plots: A Space-Efficient Option

With the increasing popularity of cremation, many cemeteries now offer dedicated cremation plots. These plots are significantly smaller than traditional full-body burial plots, typically measuring around 2 feet by 2 feet or 3 feet by 3 feet. Cremation plots are designed to accommodate one or more cremated remains, either buried in the ground or placed in a columbarium niche (a structure with individual compartments for urns).

Family Plots: Keeping Loved Ones Together

For families who wish to be buried together, many cemeteries offer family plots, also known as estate plots or private plots. These larger plots can accommodate multiple full-body burials, providing a dedicated space for generations to come. The dimensions of family plots can vary significantly, ranging from modest sizes that can accommodate four to six burials to expansive plots that can accommodate dozens of burials.

Cemetery Layouts: Organized and Efficient

Cemeteries are carefully planned and organized, with plots arranged in sections, blocks, and rows to ensure efficient use of space and easy navigation. Understanding this layout is crucial when purchasing or locating a specific plot within the cemetery.

Sections: Distinct Areas within the Cemetery

Most cemeteries are divided into sections, each with a designated name or number. These sections can be based on various factors, such as religious affiliation, cultural background, or the time period when the section was established. Within each section, plots are arranged in a grid-like pattern, with blocks and rows serving as further organizational units.

Blocks: Subdivisions of Sections

Blocks are smaller subdivisions within a section, typically consisting of multiple rows of plots. Blocks are often identified by a combination of letters and numbers, making it easier to locate specific plots within the larger section. For example, a plot might be located in Section A, Block 12, Row D.

Rows: Linear Arrangements of Plots

Within each block, plots are arranged in rows, providing a linear organization for burials. Rows are typically labeled with letters or numbers, allowing for easy identification and navigation. The number of plots within a row can vary depending on the size of the cemetery and the specific section or block.

Walkways and Roads: Access and Navigation

Cemeteries are designed with walkways and roads that separate the various sections, blocks, and rows. These pathways not only provide access for visitors and maintenance crews but also serve as navigational aids, helping individuals locate specific plots or areas within the cemetery.

Specialized Areas and Features

In addition to the standard plot layouts, many cemeteries incorporate specialized areas and features to accommodate various burial preferences and traditions.

Mausoleums: Above-Ground Entombment

Mausoleums are imposing structures designed for above-ground entombment. These buildings can range from small, private mausoleums for individual families to large, community mausoleums with multiple levels and compartments for caskets or cremated remains.

Columbaria: Niches for Cremated Remains

Columbaria are structures or walls with individual niches or compartments designed specifically for the inurnment (placement) of cremated remains. These niches can be indoor or outdoor, and they offer a space-efficient solution for those who choose cremation.

Scattering Gardens: Memorializing Scattered Ashes

For those who prefer to have their cremated remains scattered, some cemeteries offer designated scattering gardens. These tranquil spaces provide a peaceful environment for the dispersal of ashes, often featuring landscaped gardens, water features, or other soothing elements.

Veterans' Sections: Honouring Those Who Served

Many cemeteries have dedicated sections or areas specifically for veterans and their spouses. These sections often feature distinct markers, flags, and other symbols honouring their service to the country.

Children's Gardens: Memorializing Young Lives

Tragically, some cemeteries include special areas or gardens dedicated to the burial of infants and children. These spaces offer a serene and comforting environment for families to memorialize their young loved ones.

As you navigate the world of cemetery plot sizes and layouts, it's essential to understand your options and the specific requirements or preferences you may have.

Whether you're considering a traditional in-ground burial, a cremation niche, or a family plot, having a comprehensive understanding of cemetery organization and plot dimensions will ensure that you make an informed decision that aligns with your wishes and provides a fitting final resting place for yourself or your loved ones.

At Eirene, we believe that end-of-life planning should be comforting, transparent, and dignified. Too often, families struggle with the chaos, opacity, and expense of conventional funeral arrangements. We envision a better way - one centered on the belief that the end of life deserves as much beauty, grace, and meaning as the moments that came before.

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