Designing a Back Yard Memorial Garden

By: Julien Raynal

A memorial garden can be tribute to a family member. It is a great family project for a grieving family to promote healing. The memorial is designed to be a quiet and relaxing retreat. The space is designed to a place where the family can spend time reflecting and remembering. Before your start, decide on your budget as a memorial garden can be a small or huge undertaking. The budget will determine the size and/or the types of garden décors to be used. Garden décor items can include sculptures, planters, arbors or water fountains.

Putting a water fountain into your memorial spot is a great idea. It adds another dimension to your garden; the dimension of sound. Water fountains provide a serene, relaxing and calming atmosphere to your garden with their soothing sounds. There are many different types of water fountains to choose from available in many different shapes, materials and styles.

If your budget allows for it, install a concrete water fountain for durability. The draw back is that you may have to move it indoors when winter sets in. Choose a water fountain that isn’t too heavy and bulky. The constant freezing and thawing of water causes the concrete to crack. If you decide on a water fountain, locate in a space where there is minimum debris. Avoid placing the fountain under a canopy of trees, the falling leaves can fall into the fountain. The debris can clog your water fountain and cause the motor to burn out. Water fountains will make a great focal point to your garden. The best location is in a sunny point. The sun reflecting through the water makes for a pretty picture.

Choosing plants for your memorial garden may be challenging. First pick plants that are suited for your gardening area. Perennials plants are recommended because they require little maintenance and do not have to be planted annually. You can also choose plants that have special meaning to your loved one or plants whose scents evoke memories.

There are plants with names that have meanings, like Forget-Me-Nots. How about choosing plants that match your loved ones favorite season? Why not choose plants that reflect that aspect of their life? If they enjoyed spring time, plant plenty of spring bulbs like tulips, daffodils and crocuses. If they were a fall lover, choose plants that flower in the fall like black-eyed Susan’s or sedums. Another option is to choose flowers that have the same name as your loved one; Sweet William or Veronica. Another suggestion on choosing plants could be focusing on color. What was your loved ones favorite color? A white garden may be the choice of a young child’s memorial garden; white representing purity.

A wooden bench strategically placed allows for the reflection on the water fountain, creating a comforting space. If your loved one liked a certain animal, include a statue of that animal. If your memorial garden is in a sunny location, consider adding an arbor covered with plants, with a bench beneath to provide some shade for the visitor.

Once you have the memorial garden in place, visit it regularly and maintain it with pride. The time spent designing and maintaining the garden can be very therapeutic and healing.

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