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The Five Products in a Traditional Ground Burial Plan
Here's What You Need to Know
The traditional in-ground burial is typically an option that generations have chosen for hundreds of years. Detailed below are all five products and services necessary for a complete traditional burial. Some families choose to purchase all of these at once; other families purchase one at a time. (Products and services may be purchased in any order.)
Cemetery Space (a.k.a, Gravesite, or Burial Ground). When choosing your space, you must decide on a location – is it close to relatives, does it have special landscaping features that you most prefer, is it located in a place that is easy to find. Once you have chosen the location, you then select the space type – either “single-depth” or “double-depth”.
  • Single-Depth Space: accommodates one individual; can be used in a single, standalone basis, or have an adjoining (“side-by-side”) space for a companion
  • Double-Depth Space: accommodates two individuals, one on top of the other
Finally, it is important to consider how many spaces you would like. Often, families will purchase enough spaces to accommodate all of their family members to ensure that they are buried in the same area.
Vault. The vault is a typically concrete structure, placed into the cemetery space as a protective lining for the casket. The vault protects the casket from nature’s elements; and also keeps the land from shifting and sinking, ensuring your space remains level and firm, as well as protecting the casket from the weight and pressure from ground equipment being used above it.
Opening-and-closing-of-the-grave. The opening-and-closing of the grave is a service performed by the cemetery at the time of burial. The fee for this service includes opening the ground, preparing the burial site for the service, filling in the land once the burial is complete, and landscaping the area to ensure the site’s appearance is restored and beautified.
Gravesite memorial. There are many ways that families choose to memorialize the place of burial. The two most common are grave “markers” and grave “monuments.” Both can memorialize either one person ("single memorial") or two people such as a husband and wife (“companion memorial”). Some memorials are even large enough to accommodate multiple family members. The size of the memorial may also depend on the space type.
  • Grave Marker: the marker is a flat bronze plaque installed on a granite stone base, indicating the name of the deceased, the date of birth and death, and any other personal information that the family would like to have inscribed. Some cemeteries only allow flat markers because they are flush to the ground and allow for easier landscaping and a more uniform appearance.
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  • Grave Monument: the monument is an upright, granite stone that indicates the name of the deceased, the date of birth and death, and other personal information. The monument memorial is sometimes referred to as a “tombstone”.
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On any grave memorial, families can choose from different emblems that represent their loved one, such as religious, occupational, or decorative symbols. Some families choose to have scenes or pictures inscribed on their memorial. It is a creative way to memorialize the life of your loved one, as well as serve the practical purpose of marking the spot of burial for visitors to find in the future.
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