last updated 18 Apr 2019
A standard size for a single grave is 24" by 12" (or 24" x 14"), although 28" by 16" is used for more elaborate single headstones or double depth graves where 2 names need to be inscribed on one headstone. For a companion grave marker that sits centered over 2 side by side graves, the typical dimensions are 36" by 18" or 44" by 14".
The headstone my Aunt and Uncle got in the Davis Cemetery is "37" x "22", which is roughly a golden rectangle (see below) which is more pleasing.
The Golden rectangle has been known since antiquity as one having a pleasing shape, and is frequently found in art and architecture as a rectangular shape .
A golden rectangle has the property that if you take out a square you are left with a rectangle with the same aspect ratio (1.618 to 1 [ or ф phi]) .
Some headstones conform to the golden rectangle proportions.
Types of Headstones
Headstones come in a number of styles, including:
- Flat markers, sometimes called “grass markers,” which lie flat on the ground at the head of the grave, flush with the grass
- Bevel markers, usually about 8 inches thick, which lie flat on the ground at the head of the grave and rise above the grass
- Slant markers, sometimes called “pillow stones,” usually about 18 inches tall, which sit flat on the ground with the front of the stone angled back, creating a wedge shape
- Monuments, commonly referred to as “headstones,” which are tablets standing upright out of the ground.
- Ledgers, which are usually about 8 inches thick, lie flat on the ground and cover the entire grave. Ledgers may be engraved and used as the headstone itself, or they may also include a monument at the head of the grave.
Granite is by far the best choice and is the stone that we offer to our lot owners. It is a very versatile hardy stone that comes in various shades of grey, red, pink, green, blue, white and black. Large boulder quartz and fieldstones are also allowed. Due to deterioration problems, slate and marble stones are prohibited.
Some people will say the headstone should be facing east.
That came from a Christian Tradition which says,
" The grave will be situated with the head of the individual to the west and their feet will be to the east. If they were to be stood up while in the grave, they would be looking and facing east. It comes from the Bible Matt. 24:27. "The Lord Jesus is to come from the East and as such we are to be placed so as to be waiting for Him and His return."
Others say dead should be buried facing east in order to face the "rising sun" and "the new day.
General guidelines say the headstone will be placed at the head of the individual interred and should be read looking from the feet toward the head. So that's where the headstone facing east comes from.
None of this is not important now since most people are being cremated.
Guide to choosing a Grave Marker or Headstone for a cemetery plot | us-funerals.com
Choosing a grave marker size | Headstones USA
Sample granite markers - Ruhkala Monument Co Inc
Washington may become first state to legalize human composting | The Seattle Times
Monuments & Markers — Quidnessett Memorial Cemetery, RI
Brewer & Sons Funeral Homes & Cremation Services | Tampa, FL