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
- Common Flat Grave Marker Designs
- Where Can You Buy a Flat Grave Marker Online?
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.
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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.
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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.
Common Flat Grave Marker Designs
Flat grave markers can be used for single graves, companion graves, and family grave markers. The size of the marker is dependent upon how many names will be placed upon it. Generally, with more names expected, decorations are kept to a minimum. However, there are still some amazing designs to choose from no matter the size.
Ivy leaf border
If you want a more minimalistic design while still incorporating an element of beauty, consider an ivy leaf border or border of another design. Border designs are etched into the granite all around the headstone to form a border for the names etched within. Floral borders or vine borders are also popular options.
Hearts are a common design featured on companion headstones. Most often, the name of each person is placed within the heart, and a second symbol, such as wedding rings, is featured predominantly underneath the names.
Religious symbols are often found marking the graves of those who followed a particular set of beliefs. These symbols can be featured predominantly on the headstone or be small enough to allow room for other designs.
On companion headstones, the religious symbol is often placed in the middle to honor the fact that both people followed the same religion. If they didn’t share faith, then it is appropriate to put the correct religious symbol beside each person’s name, instead.
If your loved one enjoyed spending as much time as possible in nature, you might consider choosing a nature scene for the background of their headstone. These can be as complex as a laser-etched photograph or as simple as the outline of a mountain, beach, or sunrise. These scenes are easily customizable and most headstone crafters have a wide variety of scenes to choose from.
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Floral features such as roses, flowers, tulips, daffodils, and other favorite flowers are popular with many people. This is an easy design to personalize for your loved ones, as you can typically choose the type of flower you want to have etched into the headstone.
You can also choose one flower for one side of a companion grave marker and a different flower for the other side to represent a husband and wife’s personal preferences.
This is one of the most personalized options available, but it’s also the most costly. Many headstone companies now offer the ability to put a laser-etched photograph or two onto your loved one’s headstone. This can be a portrait of the person, a favorite location, or another cherished scene. These laser-etching capabilities work best on dark or black granite.
Where Can You Buy a Flat Grave Marker Online?
If you’re looking to save some money on purchasing a flat grave marker, your best bet might be to purchase it online. Be sure to check shipping rates for any company you order through and read through all the fine details so there are no surprises. However, done right, purchasing a headstone online could be the best move you make.
Monuments.com has one of the largest selections of unique headstones and grave markers available online. Some of their designs have even won awards from the American Institute of Commemorative Arts design contest. They have a huge range of design options, making this one of the best online marketplaces to find a unique grave marker to pay tribute to your loved one or loved ones.
Because they specialize in creating one-of-a-kind grave markers, you’ll need to contact the company to begin the customization process for the stone you’d like to purchase. They can also provide a shipping quote when you get in contact with them.
Etsy might not be the first place you think of when it comes to purchasing headstones, but they’re available on the platform. There are a limited number of options and customization capabilities, but if you’re looking for a unique design not found elsewhere, Etsy is a good place to look.
Shipping is mostly free, or a small fee is applied.
Did you know you could purchase flat headstones from Amazon? Neither did we! Turns out, there is a sizable selection of flat headstones available from various sellers across the United States who all sell on Amazon. Many sellers provide customization options and provide a preview of the final product once you’ve entered all the relevant details.
As with many Amazon purchases, shipping is often free (even if you don’t have Prime). The best part? The prices are very budget-friendly and most sellers include all available customization in the pricing. The price you see is the price you get.
Signature Headstones is one of the best online companies if you want the maximum options for customization. They allow you to choose the style of stone, the type of stone, the color of stone, and personalization options such as design elements.
The best part is that you’ll be working with a preview of the final product that updates as you customize and enter information. Step-by-step instructions are provided to help you get the best design possible, and shipping is free to the cemetery of your choice.
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.