Landscaping items such as blocks, bricks, borders (concrete/plastic/wood), edging, stones, and tile are prohibited in all Municipal cemeteries.This is an image of a Prohibited Items sign that is posted in Municipal cemeteries.

They create obstacles for burials, become abandoned/unmaintained, and even present safety concerns in some cases. They also increase the cost of grass cutting to the Municipality, because the efficiency of the trimming is diminished due to extra items on lots. 

Non-permitted landscaping also adversely encourages others to erect similar (or larger) gardens on lots. While landscaping is not allowed, by-laws do allow interment rights holders to install a flower bed not to exceed the width of the monument base, with a maximum depth of 1 foot. Beds can be filled with fresh mulch and annuals (no artificial flowers in the ground from April 1-November 1). Flower beds within the parameters of the by-law do not create maintenance issues. 

This by-law has been in place for many years, but new signage has been posted since 2016 to discourage continued landscaping and clearly indicate what is considered a prohibited item. Should a garden become a hazard, obstacle to a burial, or become grossly neglected, we will remove it without notice. Additionally, if landscaping materials are damaged during routine cemetery business, or damaged when snow is present because they cannot be seen, the Municipality will not be held responsible. 

This matter was also raised in Council recently when a Councillor inquired why individuals were permitted to erect elaborate gardens on cemetery lots. We are appealing to the community to help us to clean up the cemetery and remove items that should not be there as we do not have the staff resources to constantly remove things that should be left at home. There are very few cemeteries in the Province that allow landscaping materials to be used for construction projects on individual graves so this is standard practice for most cemetery operations.

A complete list of cemetery by-laws is available at the cemetery office. Inquiries about plantings or by-laws can be directed to the Municipal Cemetery Office at 25 Creek Road, Chatham, or by calling 519.360.1998.