Suitable Urns for Outdoors and Burial
Typically, cremation urns are displayed
indoors and most any material will suffice for this need. However, a
growing number of individuals elect to have their loved one’s ashes
placed in an urn that will ultimately rest in an outdoor setting. This
leads many to question what urn materials are suitable for outdoor
display and burial.
Why the Outdoors?
It could be that the surviving family
member is uncomfortable keeping the urn in their home. Or the decedent
made pre-arrangements to have their ashes kept in a cemetery. Maybe the
surviving family member created a garden and would like to display the
urn in a tranquil setting. Whatever the reason may be, there are
instances in which a cremation urn will be displayed outdoors.
Here are some common places where urns are kept outdoors:
- An outdoor columbarium niche in a cemetery
- Burial in a cemetery grave space
- Display in an urn garden on cemetery property
- Display in a home garden or on private property
Suitable Urn Materials for Outdoors
Depending on the actual application some urns do better than others when used outdoors.
Outdoor Columbarium Urn Niche any metal urn such as bronze urns, brass urns, pewter urns, cloisonné urns
and stainless steel urns will work well out doors. Keep in mind that
the metal may oxidize so discoloration from tarnish/patina is expected.
Also a good choice for this setting is cultured material urns (urns
made from composites or resins), also
ceramic urns and glass urns. Again, take in to consideration that even though the urn is in a niche it may be exposed to the exterior elements.
Burial in a Grave Space
if direct burial is the case then metal urns and cultured material
urns would be recommended. They have the strength to withstand the
underground forces which can cause physical stress to the urn. Some
cemeteries require an
urn burial vault
and if that is the case most any urn that is recommended for a
columbarium niche will work. The urn burial vault is normally sealed and
will protect the urn from moisture and the elements
For those who desire a more eco-friendly approach to burial there are biodegradable urns
which can be used for earth burial or sea scattering. They are
designed to disintegrate over a period of time if buried, or within
minutes if released in the water.
Display in a Garden
some individuals have fashioned gardens that are a tribute to their
loved one and plan to display the cremation urn as the centerpiece. It
is best to select an urn that will withstand the direct elements of
nature for this type of setting. Metal urns such as bronze urns or
brass urns will work well, but as mentioned previously they most
likely will oxidize and form a greenish patina or tarnish. Composite material urns
will also work very well, but some of the coloring may fade over a
period of time so select a light colored one. Urns such as cloisonné
urns can stand up to the elements, but the enameled coloring may fade
from sun exposure.
Non-Suitable Urn Materials for Outdoors
Not all urn materials will weather the outdoors. Materials such as wood urns
will develop cracks that may result from a dry environment. While
ceramic urns and glass urns may work in a columbarium niche, they are
not recommended for burial without an
urn burial vault. The same goes for natural stone urns such as marble urns and urns made from onyx or slate.
Alternative Outdoor Options to Urns
With cremations on a constant rise, the
options for storing the ashes have also increased to include new and
interesting products - especially for outdoors.
Cremation Markers flat
grave markers that have a hole cored through them to house a receptacle
for storing the ashes. They can be engraved or have a bronze plaque
mounted with the decedents information.
Cremation Benches made
from granite these memorial feature a cored hole in which the cremains
are stored before the bench seat is set in place sealing the opening.