Ways to provide a lasting memorial to your loved one


A memorial is a lasting commemoration of a person’s life. It can play an important part in the mourning process by providing a focal point for the bereaved. Depending on your wishes, or those of your loved one, a memorial can be anything from a traditional, inscribed, upright stone to a garden bench or a tree planted in their name.

There are many different ways to commemorate the life of a loved one. Depending on your wishes, or those of your loved one, a memorial can be anything from a traditional, inscribed, upright stone to a garden bench or a tree planted in their name.


A memorial can be something fixed, such as a headstone, a lawn memorial (an upright stone that has a personal inscription), wall plaque in a crematoria or traditional stone barrow, memorial kerb stone bordering a path in a garden of remembrance, or a garden bench located in a special place. Sometimes, although more unusually, buildings are funded or built in a person's memory (a library or school building).

For ideas and suppliers, see Monumental Masons & Memorials on the Inspiration and Provider pages.


A tree or shrub planted in a loved one's name, with or without a plaque, is a popular choice. Small trees and shrubs, depending on their size, can be planted in large pots so that they can be transported if a family moves home.

For ideas and suppliers, see Flowers & Plants on the Inspiration and Provider pages.


In most crematoria, there is a Book of Remembrance and the pages are turned daily so that names for a particular day will be on display on every anniversary. In places of worship, a service book with a dedication inside the cover can provide a lovely memorial that is used by others.


Commissioning an item of jewellery or artwork can be a lovely way to remembering a loved one and keep them close. You can find both traditional and more unusual ideas on our Personal Touches & Keepsakes Inspiration page, as well as links to Providers.


On-line memorials are increasingly popular and there are lots of companies and platforms that can help you to curate these. They enable friends and family to contribute and access photographs, tributes and videos and are a lovely way of gathering and sharing memories.

Go to our Digital Memorials & Digital Legacy Inspiration and Providers pages to see examples and ideas or to connect to companies that offer thes services.



The headstone is usually placed in position a minimum of nine to twelve months after the burial to give the grave time to settle. It can, however, take much longer. A headstone is an enduring memorial to the person who has died the process of deciding what best reflects their life and personality should not be rushed.


A good stonemason or monumental mason will help you to choose the type of stone, inscription and any images you may want. They will also ensure that it meets local authority regulations and requirements and will install the stone for you.

There are a number of different types of stone, from the very hard marbles and granites through to softer, ironstone, sandstone, limestone and slate.

Headstones can be engraved machically by sandblasting, or by hand with a hammer and chisel.  Harder surfaces are etched using a laser or by hand with a diamond tipped tool.

Your choice of stone may be informed by a number of factors, including:

  • Location - to ensure it fits in with its surroundings and meets any rules and regulations that might be in place.
  • Lettering - the style and amount of lettering will have a bearing on your choice.  For example, smaller, delicate lettering works better on slate than on limestone.
  • Engraved or carved images - again, depending upon your choice, one type of stone may work better than another.
  • Ecological concerns - there is a move towards favouring local stones from within the UK in order to reduce the ecological impact of transporting materials from overseas.
  • Personal preference - the colour, feel and texture of the stone plus the shape and size of the headstone.
  • Cost - the size, complexity, type of stone (and other materials), installation requirements, plus the hours of craftsmanship invloved in its production will all affect the price. 


In the Monumental Masons & Memorials Inspiration section you will find a wide selection of ideas, both traditional and modern.

Your Funeral Director may be able to help you to source a suitable monument or memorial. Alternatively, please visit Monumental Masons & Memorials Providers to find local and national masons.

If you are looking for someone to clean, maintain or tend a grave or memorial, see Grave Tending & Memorial Cleaning in our Provider section.