A lot of families choose burial for their loved ones so they can remember them in a quiet place they can regularly visit. Graveyards and cemeteries can be owned and looked after by local authorities, private companies, religious institutions or a local trust. Each will have its own rules to ensure that the graves and grounds are well maintained, so that a memorial ground is a space that everyone can find peace and shared respect.

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Who is responsible for a grave?

On buying a burial plot, that person will hold exclusive rights for a loved one or family member to be buried there for a certain period of time – usually up to 50 or 100 years. They are given a Deed of Grant but will not own the land that the plot is on.

The family that owns the Deed is responsible for the maintenance of the grave, subject to the rules of the authority who look after the grounds. Some grounds can have quite strict rules about the things people are allowed to do and what is expected of them. This may vary according to the selected type of burial ground or be subjected to additional funeral costs and fees.

For example, the majority of lawn graves allow for only a small headstone with floral border immediately next to the memorial, so that the surrounding grass can be cut. Most families opt for traditional graves, which may allow them to personalize the plot area they are given, in memory of their loved one. If your loved one received a public health burial, then it’s possible that no marker identification will be allowed at all.

Rules and regulations

It is wise to be aware of the regulations for the type of burial you choose, before adjusting features such as decorative gravel, grave surrounds, plants and decorations to mark the life of your loved one. For more information on Granite Headstones, consider Abbey Memorials Granite Headstones

Many graveyards put great focus on keeping the grounds orderly and neat. Authorities might be entitled to remove items from a grave for reasons of security or maintenance. They may have rules about the length of time that tributes can be left, particularly perishable items like garlands and wreaths before they must be discarded, for example. The dimensions of each plot are very specific, this is to ensure that items left in memory are not encroaching on other plots, or walkways.

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Some graveyards are very strict. They may prohibit decorations such as lights, wooden crosses, potted plants and plastic ornaments and even can remove them. When this happens suddenly, it can be very distressing for the bereaved. Most funeral homes will provide details of those rules, which can help families to make an informed choice, helping to avoid such disturbing circumstances.


It is the responsibility of the family to maintain the headstone and arrange repairs. This must be done by approved builders and may be limited times when the work can be done.

Flowers and plants

Cemeteries can have different rules when it comes to the planting of shrubs, flowers or bulbs and no trees are allowed on burial plots at all. Where flower planting is allowed, the family is responsible for taking care of them and ensuring they do not become overgrown. Cut flowers must be removed when they perish, or they will often be taken away by maintenance staff after a few weeks.