With much of the world in lockdown in response to the coronavirus at the time of writing this blog (May 2020), people have understandably turned their attention to gardening to help them relax and pass the time.
If you’re looking for a way to memorialise a much-loved pet, how about creating a memorial garden (or section of your garden) dedicated to their memory? To help you plan the perfect space to celebrate the life and love you shared with your animal friend, we’ve put together a list of ideas:
1. Paint a name rock or memorial stone
If you do a search for memory garden ideas on Pinterest, you can see some beautiful ideas for how to hand-paint a rock for your memory garden. These rocks feature gorgeous, vibrant colours and can be decorated with anything at all to commemorate your pet. Paint their picture, their name, a comforting quote, flowers… the choice is yours. You could even paint a selection of rocks to place around your garden.
2. Plant Forget-Me-Nots
The tiny blue flowers of Forget-Me-Nots are said to symbolise faithful, enduring love and memories. It’s little wonder that many people chose to plant the flowers as a sign of remembrance for a pet or other loved one.
You could plant a bed of Forget-Me-Nots in your garden or confine them to a pot. They flower from May to October and grow best in damp, shady areas.
3. Paint a wooden seat or bench to sit in your garden
If you do create a memorial area for your pet in your garden, it’s important that you’re able to sit and enjoy the space. Many people feel closer to their deceased pets when they’re able to do this.
One lovely idea is to choose a wooden or metal seat or bench for your garden. You can paint wooden seats with your own design or words. There are some stunning ideas on Google Images.
4. Make a mosaic
Mosaics are another beautiful art form to use in a memorial garden. If you use materials designed for outdoors, a mosaic should last well in all weathers for years to come.
Again, a search for ‘how to do outdoor mosaic’ on Pinterest brings up hundreds of creative ideas for your garden. You could create decorations to hang from a tree, a mosaic path, mosaic bricks, a mosaic bench, mosaic tiles or anything else that fits with your space.
5. Wind chimes
As well as beautiful sights and smells in your pet’s memorial garden, you could add sound too in the form of wind chimes.
Many people find wind chimes calming and uplifting. Each gentle breeze offers up a reminder of your special pet.
6. Sun catchers
An alternative or complement to wind chimes is to hang sun catchers in your memorial garden. These can be made from glass or plastic and there are some easy home-crafting options using Mason jar lids.
Once again, Pinterest is a great starting point for ideas as a search for sun catchers shows.
7. Collar plant pot
If your memorial garden is in memory of a dog or cat, you could secure their collar around a special plant pot and fill it with your favourite shrub or flowers. Another option is to tie the collar around your pet’s water bowl and then use this as a flower pot.
It’s important to think about how your pet’s collar will stand up to bad weather. Many people use this idea indoors or in a sheltered area of their memorial garden.
8. A special tree
If you have room in your memorial garden, you could plant a special tree in memory of your pet.
The Impatient Gardener has a great article about how to choose a memorial tree and things to consider to ensure that it thrives.
9. Garden statues
These days, there are many companies and artisans who offer pet memorial statues. You should even be able to find someone who can create a personalised memorial of your pet. This could be in wood, metal, stone or other materials, depending on your tastes and budget. Etsy is a good starting point to see what sort of options are available.
Many cultures share the custom of lighting a candle for remembrance. It’s said to signify that the memory of the loved one still lives on and burns bright.
You can add candles to your pet’s memorial garden to illuminate it in the evenings or to light in a daily act of remembrance. There are some gorgeous outdoor candle and tealight holders available – your local supermarket may even have some inexpensive options.
You could personalise a candle holder using glass paints to create a special design commemorating your pet.
A unique space to remember your pet
There are no rules for building a pet’s memorial garden. The only thing that matters is creating a space, no matter how big or small, that gives you comfort and makes you feel close to your pet.
Many people choose to place, scatter or bury their pet’s remains in a memorial garden but, again, this is your personal choice.
We hope we have given you some ideas about what’s possible.
As always, know that you’re not alone.
Very best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support