Grave markers are often an important tribute to a loved one who has passed away. They can also serve as a gathering place for family members and friends to pay respects, spend time with the person they loved, and remember times they spent together. It’s important to make sure the chosen grave marker accurately reflects the personality of the one it pays tribute to.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What’s a Flat Grave Marker?
- What Sizes Do Flat Grave Markers Come In?
- How Much Does a Flat Grave Marker Cost?
- How Do You Get a Flat Grave Marker Installed?
- 5 Popular Types of Flat Grave Markers
You can find many types of grave markers available, from headstone markers to monument markers and flat markers. You’ll find as many types of markers as there are personalities, so you can make a highly personalized purchase. This decision is certainly not one-size-fits-all and that’s a great thing.
If you’re looking for something on the simple side, fits into nearly any plot size, and is on the budget-friendly side, give flat grave markers a look.
What’s a Flat Grave Marker?
If you’re looking for an economical option for a grave marker that is both functional and beautiful, flat grave markers might be the answer. Flat grave markers are usually made of a single piece of granite, are around three to four inches thick, and are made to be flush with the grass and landscape. They are polished only on the sky-facing side, are rectangular, and can be personalized with engraving or etching.
Flat grave markers go by several names, including grass markers and flush markers. Due to their size, the relative lack of material needed for the marker, and the straightforward nature of producing the rectangular shapes, flat grave markers are highly economical.
These grave markers are simple, elegant, and serve as fitting tributes to the ones you love. Though they come in standards sizes, they can be highly personalized with the type of granite and engraving or etching desired.
What Sizes Do Flat Grave Markers Come In?
When it comes to the sizing of headstones and flat grave markers, it’s important to talk with the cemetery where the plot has been purchased. Each cemetery will have rules and regulations regarding sizes.
In general, most flat grave markers come in standard sizes, anywhere from 24 inches by 12 inches, 28 inches by 16 inches, or 18 inches by 24 inches for a single marker. If placing flat markers on companion graves, the standard sizes are typically around 36 inches by 18 inches or 48 inches by 14 inches.
How Much Does a Flat Grave Marker Cost?
When buying a headstone or grave marker, the cost is one of the most significant items that factor into family decisions. Flat grave markers are one of the most affordable headstone options available. As with any other grave marker, a base price will increase depending on the size and material of the marker. Companion markers will cost more than single markers due to the increased size of the marker.
For a standard single granite flat grave marker, you should expect to budget a minimum of $200. With each increase in size, budget around $100 more.
- A 16-inch by 8-inch marker, for example, should cost around $200.
- A 20-inch by 10-inch marker will cost around $300.
- A 24-inch by 12-inch marker will be in the $400 to $450 range.
These are budget-friendly prices that you can find at numerous headstone companies. The same sizes can go as high as $800, depending on the degree of personalization desired. Many companies offer etching, engraving, and photoshop work on headstones for a higher price range. Companion markers will start around $700 to $800, depending on the size and go up, depending on the degree of personalization desired.
It’s important to keep in mind that while some headstone companies include engraving and shipping, others don’t. A higher initial cost might mean engraving and shipping is included, while a lower initial cost could mean you’ll have to add costs during the check-out process when choosing and personalizing the marker.
If budget isn’t an issue, some companies offer 3D images on bronze flat markers. This is the most expensive flat grave marker option, with prices starting around $2,500 for a single marker and increasing to $3,000 for a companion marker.
In general, if you’re concerned with how much a headstone costs, a flat grave marker is one of the best options.
How Do You Get a Flat Grave Marker Installed?
Most cemeteries offer installation services for flat grave markers, in addition to headstones and memorial markers. Unless you live in a rural area and the cemetery allows self-installation, the cemetery has its own hired professionals install the marker for a fee. If no installation services are offered, you can hire a local installer. Since most flat grave markers weigh anywhere from 100 pounds or more, hire a professional who has the tools and manpower available to lift the heavy stone into place.
Whether you hire a professional, have the cemetery install the marker, or you do it yourself, the process is the same.
First, you need to mark the outline of the marker where you want it placed on the plot. Ask the cemetery whether there are any rules or regulations regarding the placement of grave markers. Many cemeteries require a marker to be in line with other markers to make walking and maintenance easier.
Once you’ve marked the outline, dig out the area matching the depth of the marker. If the grave marker is 4 inches thick, then you’ll want to dig 4 inches deep. Level out the hole with some of the dirt you’ve removed or with sand.
Place the marker into the hole and press it down to make sure it sits level. If it wobbles, add or remove dirt until it sits solidly without rocking.
After you’re satisfied with the positioning of your marker, fill in any gaps around the edges with the dirt you removed. Since the stone is small and flat, you don’t need to take extra measures, such as laying cement or foundation work.
Maintain the marker. Keep the grass trimmed around the sides and brush dirt, snow, and leaves off each time you visit. Flat markers are susceptible to getting dirty due to rain, dirt, and debris like leaves or pine needles.
Visit the marker regularly to sweep and clean away any dirt. Regular maintenance will not only keep the marker looking good but will also increase the longevity of the engraving or etching.
5 Popular Types of Flat Grave Markers
You’ll find many types of headstone designs and this is certainly true for flat grave markers as well. Here are several ideas for flat grave markers to consider for yourself or your loved one.
1. Colored granite
While most flat grave markers are made of granite, numerous granite options are available.
Many headstone companies don’t charge a significant difference when it comes to color choice and you can choose from colors such as grey, black, red, rose, mahogany, and white. Keep in mind that lighter-colored granite will not show etching or engraving as well as darker colors.
2. 3D bronze
Flat grave markers personalized with 3D images in bronze are some of the most expensive flat grave markers available. They are also highly personalized and unique. Laser etching can “print” a picture directly onto the stone but 3D images create an actual relief of the image.
For those with a larger budget, 3D bronze is a unique and individualized option that will stand out and be easily recognizable in a cemetery. These typically have a starting cost of around $2,000.
3. Marker with flower holder
For those who want the ability to place flowers at their family’s grave, a marker with a flower holder is an ideal option. Most cemeteries have strict rules and regulations for placing flowers at a grave.
Glass vases are often prohibited entirely due to breakage, the potential for damage to the grounds, and the safety of the groundskeepers. Adding a flower holder onto your flat grave marker differs depending on the maker, so ask for a pricing sheet for add-ons from the company you’re considering purchasing your marker from.
4. Marker with symbols
To personalize a grave marker, consider adding symbols such as meaningful religious, military, floral, or family symbols that represent the person who is being laid to rest. Depending on how elaborate you prefer, you can add numerous symbols in addition to scrollwork and other design elements.
Most companies have a list of symbols available to etch or engrave, such as a cross, Star of David, crescent moon, military branch logos, roses, assorted flowers, hearts, angels, fish, and many more. If you have a design idea in mind, ask about it rather than assuming the company can’t do it. If etching is included with the grave marker pricing, the company will likely specify how many symbols can be included on the marker face.
5. Marker with picture
For an especially unique and personalized tribute to a loved one, you can have your loved one’s picture laser etched onto the face of the flat grave marker. This process is done entirely by machine and uses an original or digital photo you have of your loved one. Much like a printer, the laser etches the picture and design directly into the marker, creating a permanent tribute that cannot wash off and, with care, will not fade with time.
Each company charges differently for etching, so it’s best to consult directly with the grave marker manufacturer for pricing.
A Personalized Tribute
Grave markers are tributes that honor the life of the person you loved. Choose a marker that best reflects the personality and the legacy the deceased wanted to leave behind.
Another alternative to a burial marker is to choose memorial jewelry or an urn. You can easily create a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind memorial diamond with Eterneva, and this is a way to carry your loved one's memory with you. Similarly, with Foreverence, you can make a custom urn if you choose cremation vs. burial.
As long as you're following your heart and doing what's right for you and your loved one, this is a tribute you can feel confident about. If you're looking for more headstone buying ideas, read our guides on buying headstones online and pet headstones.