10 Awesome Ideas to Create At-Home Memorials

By Susan Fraser -October 07,2020

home memorials



Fifty Percent of Americans have chosen cremation over traditional burial. Why might you prefer cremation over traditional burial? The answer is the options granted in how to handle a family member’s ashes. You have endless choices to give a lasting memorial to honor someone you love. Here are ten ideas to do at your own home with instructions, minimizing cost and maximizing creativity.



1. Scattering Garden


There is a lot to consider when figuring out what to do with a loved one’s final remains. Scattering is a popular option, but that doesn’t mean you want to travel far to spread them in the ocean or in a forest. You can choose to keep the person close and create a scattering garden. This option is gaining popularity at cemeteries but if you decide to create your own, here’s how:


How to Make a Scattering Garden:

  • Make a plan first
  •     Check out the space you are wanting to use, will it be a small, mid, or large garden?
  •     Do you want a bench or seating?
  •     What types of plants do you want in the garden?
  •      Does this space provide the right amount of sunlight for those types of plants?
  • Measure the area to make sure the elements you want to include will fit.
  • Prepare the area
  • Clear the ground of any weeds, clutter, or debri.
  • Make sure the ground is rich with soil, you may need to buy some potting soil
  • Gently rake the ashes into the soil.
  • Plant your flowers or other greenery. They will be nourished with the ashes and serve as a timeless reminder of your remembrance.
  • After, if you’d like to add seating, you can go there to reflect and remember your loved one in this peaceful scattering garden.

Home Memorial

2. Religious Altars


Cultures worldwide celebrate a day to honor loved ones who have died. One of the best known is the Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos. During this holiday, families gather to celebrate deceased friends and relatives. The day is full of joy and activity, under the premise that those who have gone before will return to the world to enjoy time with their families once more. In the home, it is customary to build an altar to loved ones. If you’d like to take part in this tradition, here’s how you can build your own:


How to Build the Religious Altar:

  • Decide if this will be an indoors or outdoors altar.
    • If Indoors:
      • Choose a suitable surface to arrange your items. This can be anything like a table, counter top, or even a desk. As long as it is sturdy with minimal risk of anything tipping over.
    • If Outdoors:
      • You can either build an altar or find a natural one, for example:
        • Many altars can be made from wood or stone, and assembled quickly. You can even repurpose items to help create a sturdy base like a stone birdbath.
        • Or, you may want to use a natural enclave of your backyard, whether that be carved in a tree trunk or stacked stones. Your imagination is the limit.
  • You may start with an urn containing your loved one’s remains.


  • Decorating the Altar:
  • Lay down a nice table cloth, and build from there!
  • Add favorite pictures of your loved one, arranging them how you’d like.
  • Add flowers, whether these be fresh clippings, dried flowers, or even potted flowers is up to you! You can even add different types of plants to create a peaceful place
  • Add candles to represent all sorts of things, whether it be a guiding light or symbolism. They create a beautiful glow for your altar during the nighttime.


  • Now is the time to add your religious items:
    • Statues if appropriate:
      • Virgin Mary, Buddha, a cross, etc.
    • Altar Candles or Incense
    • This can also be food or water. But add anything else that feels appropriate for your religion and your loved one.
  • And don’t forget to add your loved ones favorite things to the altar as well, to make them feel at home.

Home Memorial

3. Picture Wall


Pictures are one of the most important items to remember a loved one who’s passed. They are a permanent depiction of the person at every age through their life. A picture wall helps preserve these, as well as create a dedicated space to remember them.


How to Make a Memorial Picture Wall:

  • Collect pictures of your loved one from birth to death, and arrange them in a pattern that suits you.
  • Place them into frames, or hang them from strings in a more modern style.
  • Offset the design with the placement of your loved one’s cremation urn.
  • If you prefer, you may select a limited number of photos based on a season, holiday or even a particular moment in time. This way, you can cycle out the pictures a few times a year, to suit your décor and keep the memorial fresh.

Home Memorial

4. Green Burial 


The idea that we can contribute to the betterment of the world, even in death, is a pleasant one for many people and maybe your loved one. Plan for a green burial on your property, which will serve as a wonderful memorial for friends and family to see when they come to visit.


How to Have a Green Burial on Your Property:

  • Start with a biodegradable cremation urn that is safe to bury directly into the ground.
  • Consider features you may want to add to the surface that will improve the space and visually memorialize the space.
  • For example, you may want to plant a tree, or if you have a bit more gardening skills, you could build a rose arbor or fruit arbor spanning the burial ground.


5. Military Honor 


Loved ones who served in the military are eligible for military honors when they die. The flag families receive after is a cherished keepsake. Many want it displayed with pride for their loved one's hard work and service for their country. It is also an honor to create a memorial of a person’s military experience in the home.


How to Create a Military Memorial in Your Home:

  • On a shelf or table, arrange the flag,
  • Add a picture of the person when they entered military service
  • Arrange any awards or medals they received while serving.

Home Memorial

6. Living Wall


Families often want to scatter or bury option but aren’t satisfied with the options. If you want to keep a loved one’s remains at home, but using an urn is not what you have in mind, building a living wall is a good solution. A living wall is a testament to their memory, and are beneficial to your home as well.


How to Build a Living Wall Memorial:

  • Select a wall in your home that gets natural light throughout the day.
  • Build a frame, or buy one from a home improvement store.
  • Add nutrient-rich soil to each pocket on the wall.
  • Put in a small amount of ashes of your loved one.
  • Plant succulents or flowers that do not need a great deal of water.
  • You will have to wait 4-12 weeks to hang it up, to allow the roots of the plants to grow under the wire, otherwise they will just pop out immediately.
  • In time, you will have a wall that is very much alive, improving your life each time you look at it.
  • If you’d like more specific details on how to create a living wall, visit Sunset’s instructions.


7. Memorial Fountain


When you go to a cemetery, you often see fountains and other water features that serve as a perfect symbol of your love. The water never ceases flowing, and neither does your memory. You can put these features on your property, as part of a memorial to a loved one.


How to make a Memorial Fountain:

  • Fountains may be carved out of stone in a classical style, or mixed with stone and wood in a more natural design.
  • Select cremation urns that are made to survive the elements, or invest in an urn vault that you can incorporate into the fountain space.
  • Get creative and add landscaping or seating to give you an opportunity to enjoy the area and remember your loved one.

Home Memorial

8. Cherished Moments


When your loved one passes, they leave everything behind. You may want to put these items into a collection that you could feature along with their cremated remains. Your grandmother’s wedding dress or her hobby of needlepoint may become a beautiful focus of a museum-like memorial.


How to create a Collection of Memories:

  • Protect the items from wear or fading by using frames, shadow boxes, or other methods.
  • Select a cremation urn that coordinates with the design you have been thinking of.
  • Hang frames next to the urn in a corner of the room, along with pictures or letters that relate to the subject.
  • The end result will act as a snapshot into the person’s life at the time those items were originally made. It will also teach any younger generations about the your families legacy.

Home Memorial

9. Natural Style


Scattering or burying ashes are not your only options for a nature inspired memorial. There are many cremation urns made from natural materials. Or that have images of nature on the, for your inside memorial.


How to present a Nature Inspired Urn:

  • Choose one that depicts images of your loved one’s interests, such as the mountains or the beach.
  • Find the perfect place in your home, such as a nightstand, china cabinet, or table.
  • Add natural features to go with the urn, such as a glass full of sand and shells.
  • Choose your loved one's favorite plant to put with the urn.
  • Each time you look at it, you will remember them, but also their favorite places to go.


10. Holiday Traditions


The holidays are a difficult time to grieve, especially if your loved one particularly loved a specific holiday. Why not turn the holiday decorations into a wonderful way to celebrate a person you miss?


How to Remember your Loved One while Decorating for the Holidays:

  • Select your favorite holiday pictures to put into a frame.
  • You can buy small cremation urns in the shape of holiday ornaments, and hang them on your tree or put into a wall decoration.
  • In this way, you can feel as though your loved one is with you for the holidays, as they once were.


Home Memorial

The way to honor your loved ones starts at home. In your home or on your property, it is not difficult to imagine a memorial that will help everyone remember your loved one in better times. Try one or more of these ten ideas, or tailor one to fit your family. Feel free to tag us if you decide to try these ideas.


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