A Guide To Cemetery Monument Styles By Summit Memorials

September 15, 2023


Selecting the right monument is a deeply personal journey. It’s more than just a marker; it’s a lasting tribute to a loved one’s story, a tangible memory that bridges generations. The choice becomes a reflection of their legacy, echoing their values and the moments that defined their life.

As a leading cemetery monument company in Alberta and Saskatchewan, Summit Memorials understands the depth of emotions attached to this choice.

We offer a variety of monument styles to cater to your preferences, ranging from the understated elegance of flat or flush markers to the majestic presence of upright monuments. Our goal is to commemorate every story with the utmost dignity, engraved in stone for eternity. Dive in as we guide you through the options available, helping you select a fitting tribute to commemorate a life well-lived.

Flat Or Flush Monuments

When it comes to timeless elegance and subtlety, flat or flush monuments are a popular choice among many seeking the services of a cemetery monument company. As their name suggests, these markers lay flat on the ground, creating a seamless integration with the earth.


  • Cost-Effective: One of the key advantages of opting for flat or flush monuments is their affordability. As a leading cemetery monument company, Summit Memorials often recommends these markers to those looking for a budget-friendly yet dignified option.
  • Ease For Cemetery Maintenance: Their flush design ensures a smooth surface for cemetery caretakers. Without protruding elements, tasks like mowing the grass around the grave become significantly more straightforward.


  • Overgrowth Of Grass: Over time, as nature takes its course, grass may overgrow on the marker. Regular maintenance and cleaning can help keep the monument visible and in pristine condition.
  • Standing Requirement For Reading: Given their ground-level placement, visitors might need to stand directly over the marker to read the inscriptions clearly. It’s a minor aspect to consider, ensuring the comfort of those paying their respects.

Pillow Monuments

Pillow monuments, with their distinct yet subtle design, offer a touch of dimension to traditional flat markers. Characterized by a gentle slope, these monuments rise slightly at the top, reminiscent of a pillow’s gentle curve, thus giving them their unique name.


  • Slope Design For Readability: The elevated design not only adds a sense of depth but also enhances readability. Visitors can easily read inscriptions without having to stand directly over the monument.
  • Easier Grave Identification: The raised profile of pillow monuments makes them stand out a tad more than flat markers. This design subtlety aids in more straightforward grave identification, especially in vast cemetery landscapes.


While Pillow monuments offer several advantages, it’s essential to note that their design provides a relatively narrower space for lettering or intricate designs. However, with skilled craftsmanship, the available space can be used optimally to create beautiful and meaningful inscriptions.

Upright Monuments

Upright monuments are classic, standing tall and proud amidst the serene landscapes of cemeteries. With their vertical orientation, these monuments act as prominent markers, often capturing the attention from afar due to their stature.

Also Read: Upright Monuments For Companions – A Simple And Effective Guide For Buyers


  • Vast Lettering/Design Space: One of the standout benefits of upright monuments is the ample space they offer for lettering and design. This allows for detailed inscriptions, portraits, or even intricate artwork, providing ample room for families to commemorate their loved ones in a detailed manner.
  • Distant Readability: Their raised structure ensures that these monuments can be read and recognized from a distance, making it easier for visitors to locate and pay their respects without any hassle.

  • Diverse Shapes: Upright monuments are versatile in design. The possibilities are vast, whether you’re drawn to traditional rectangles, elegant teardrops, heartfelt hearts, or even custom shapes that resonate with personal stories.


Due to their vertical orientation, there might be concerns about their stability, especially in areas prone to strong winds or disturbances. However, it’s worth noting that with the expert craftsmanship and installation techniques employed by Summit Memorials, these concerns are rare.

Bench Monuments

Bench monuments combine the functionality of a memorial with the comfort of seating. They are crafted to resemble elegant benches, often adorned with inscriptions, designs, or personalized touches, creating a serene spot for visitors to sit and reminisce.


  • Unique Design: Bench monuments stand out due to their dual-purpose design. They are both a monument and a place for people to sit and reflect, offering a distinctive and practical tribute.
  • Provides Seating Space: These monuments provide a peaceful resting spot, allowing visitors to spend time in contemplation while being close to their loved one’s memorial.


Lettering/Design Space: Due to their unique design, bench monuments may have limited space for lettering or intricate designs compared to other monument styles. However, Summit Memorials’ skilled artisans can work with the available space creatively.

Possible Cemetery Size Restrictions: Some cemeteries may have restrictions on the size or design of monuments, including benches. It’s essential to check with the cemetery authorities to ensure compliance with their regulations.

Boulder Monuments

These monuments are crafted from natural boulders, retaining their organic shape and character. They provide a unique and rustic look that blends seamlessly with the surrounding environment.


  • Natural Look: Boulder monuments harmonize with nature, making them a fitting choice for those who wish to maintain a connection to the earth and the natural world.
  • Easy Identification: Their distinct shape and size make them easy to locate in the cemetery landscape, allowing family and friends to find their loved one’s memorial effortlessly.


  • Need For A Smooth Surface: Lettering or design on boulders may require a smoother surface, which can be achieved through skilled craftsmanship.
  • Potential Cemetery Regulations: Not all cemeteries permit the use of boulder monuments, so it’s essential to check with the cemetery authorities regarding their regulations and guidelines.

Personal Columbaria

These miniature, above-ground structures are designed to hold cremated remains. A personal columbaria feature niches where urns can be placed, allowing families to create a dedicated space for their loved ones within a cemetery.


  • Holds Cremated Remains: For families who have chosen cremation, Personal columbaria offers a dignified and personalized option to store and honour their loved one’s remains.
  • Easy Cemetery Location: They are typically easy to locate within the cemetery, providing a dedicated space for family members to visit and pay their respects.


Not all cemeteries permit the installation of personal columbaria, or they may have specific guidelines regarding their placement. It’s crucial to liaise with the cemetery authorities to understand any restrictions or requirements.

Each of these unique monument styles offers distinct advantages and considerations, ensuring that there’s a suitable option for every individual and family member to express their love and remembrance in a meaningful way.

Why Should You Choose Summit Memorials?

Rooted in the rich traditions of Alberta and Saskatchewan, Summit Memorials combines deep local knowledge with unparalleled craftsmanship. We are dedicated to creating unique monuments that resonate with individual stories.

Contact us today to speak with one of our monument design consultants.


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