Headstone Designs

We hope this page will give you some idea of the various headstone designs available. Obviously you would like to choose a gravestone which you feel is personal to you and your loved one. However, be very careful in that you need determine your local cemetery regulations first.

Cemetery Regulations.

Each cemetery will have their own rules and regulations regarding headstone designs. It is absolutely essential that you check with them prior to ordering a tombstone as they can – and will – refuse it if it does not conform. They may well try and dictate as to whom you purchase the headstone from as many are still coming to terms with the recent practice of ordering online. However, you are well within your rights to obtain a memorial from where ever you choose as long as it conforms to their regulations. So make absolutely sure that it does.

You may well be surprised at the level of regulation applied. These rules can apply to all aspects of headstone designs – size, color, material, shape, wording and lettering style, carvings and adornments etc. It even applies to how the gravestone is erected and fixed down.

There are ways of obtaining copies of individual cemetery regulations online, either directly or through third party sites which store various regulations in bulk. By all means take a look at these so as to get a general idea. But we personally feel that it is always a good idea to contact the cemetery director prior to design. By having him / her on your side from the start it will be so much easier to get your final requested headstone design approved. And when it is approved ensure that you have that approval in writing.


Headstone Designs.

Upright Headstones.headstone designs

This covers many different design options – but generally it is a flat faced headstone.

headstone designs

Slant Headstones.

With a slanted front face.

headstone designs

Bevel Headstones.

These are low level raised grave markers often called pillow headstones. At first glance they are almost flat, but the rear of the memorial will be about 2 – 3 inches higher.

headstone designsFlat Headstones.headstone designs

These are often called grass markers and lay flush with the ground.

Custom Shaped Headstones.

It may be a sculpture or specific shape such as a heart.





Additional Headstone Design Options.


There are four commonly used materials today for producing grave markersSlate, bronze and marble are still used but granite is rapidly becoming the preferred option. This is due not only to cost but to durability – granite will take 10,000 years to erode just one inch. However, bronze grave markers also have certain advantages.


There are any number of colors available due to modern manufacturing processes.


This is the text inscribed on the tombstone. It is an essential factor when considering headstone designs. You will find several epitaph examples on this site – many of them well known ones from famous graves.

Lettering Styles.

As with all the color options, the options for lettering style is also endless.

Carvings & Sculptures.

Again, any form of carving can be included in headstone designs – either as part of the headstone shape or carved into the stone face.

Portraits or Photographs.

It is now possible to include a photo or drawing of your loved one – in color or black & white – upon the cemetery monument. The usual process is to laminate the image upon a ceramic tile for complete protection. This tile is then attached using an epoxy resin, or even fitted flush with the surface by carving out a custom shape for the tile. This is a popular choice for pet grave markers.

Of course it is also possible to frame the image in any number of styles. These frames tend to be made in metal – such as bronze – so as to be maintenance free.