Can a Cemetery Run Out of Space?
Post by: Ask The Director

The basic purpose of a cemetery is pretty straightforward. Simply put, a cemetery exists to provide space where the dead can be buried, and where family members can gather in mourning, tribute, and remembrance.

It stands to reason, though, that eventually, a cemetery might run out of space—and what happens then?

First, a cemetery that’s run out of space will stop selling grave plots. You don’t have to worry about buying a burial plot and later being told there’s no room. If a cemetery sells you a space, it’s because they have that space accounted for.

As a cemetery reaches the point where remaining space is limited, there are a few things that can be done to provide just a few further options. For one thing, mausoleums can be built, where the cemetery can sell niches for cremated remains. This allows the cemetery to maximize their use of the space left to them. Similarly, the cemetery can designate some of its remaining land as an urn garden.

Beyond that, the cemetery may have to stop selling new space and simply focus on maintaining the burial sites it currently has. In some cases, the cemetery may actually abandon the area and leave it to the individual families of the deceased to maintain, but this is pretty uncommon.

The bottom line: Cemeteries can run out of space, but there are safeguards in place to ensure families are taken care of in all contingencies.

To learn more about any of this, you’re always welcome to reach out to your local funeral home director.


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