Flat Tombstones: A Subtle Tribute to the Departed

flat tombstones

When we think of cemeteries, the first image that often comes to mind is rows upon rows of upright headstones, with their carved angels and large lettering. These monumental markers stand tall against the horizon, proclaiming the presence of the deceased to the world. 

Yet, not all grave markers are designed to be seen from a distance. Enter the world of flat tombstones, also known as grass markers or flush markers, which offer a unique, understated, and elegant way to memorialize loved ones.

What is a Flat Tombstone?

Flat tombstones, as the name suggests, are flat and lie flush against the ground. They’re primarily made from granite, bronze, or a combination of both, and provide an alternative to the traditional upright headstones or slant markers. These markers are subtle, blending seamlessly with the surroundings, and allow for a more open, unobstructed view of the cemetery landscape.

Features and Designs

While they might seem simple, flat tombstones can be customized extensively:

  • Headstone Material

  • Granite is the most commonly used material for its durability and ability to withstand the elements. Bronze, with its inherent shine and regality, can also be an attractive choice.
  • Engravings

  • Like their upright counterparts, flat tombstones can be engraved with the deceased’s name, dates of birth and death, and even a short message or quote. Some people opt for intricate designs, symbols, or even laser-engraved photographs.
  • Headstone Borders

  • They can have raised borders or be completely flat, and can even be combined with bronze plaques to give a distinct appearance.

Why Choose a Flat Tombstone?

Several reasons make flat tombstones a preferred choice for many:

Flat Tombstone Aesthetics

For those who prefer a minimalist and unobtrusive design, these tombstones are ideal. They allow the beauty of the surrounding landscape to shine through, offering a peaceful and serene ambiance.

Flat Tombstone Maintenance

Flat tombstones are easier to maintain. Since they lie flush with the ground, they don’t tip over, and there’s no need to trim around them as with raised headstones.

Flat Tombstone Cost

Generally, they are less expensive than larger, upright monuments, making them a more affordable option for many families.

Flat Tombstone Cemetery Regulations

Some cemeteries, especially modern ones, have regulations requiring the use of flat markers to maintain a consistent look and feel.


While there are many advantages, there are also some things to consider:


They are less visible than upright headstones, which might make them harder to locate in a large cemetery.


Being in direct contact with the ground and exposed to rain, snow, and lawn maintenance, they may show signs of wear and discoloration over time.

Flat Tombstones: A Quiet Elegance in Remembrance

Flat tombstones offer a modern, subtle, and harmonious way to commemorate loved ones. Their simplicity does not diminish their significance; rather, they offer a tranquil space where memories can be silently cherished. 

When choosing a grave marker, consider the personality of the departed, the wishes of the family, and the regulations of the chosen cemetery. In the end, the best monument is one that comes from the heart and serves as a lasting tribute to a life well-lived.