What Is a Lawn Crypt? How Much Does It Cost?
Whether you are preplanning your funeral or planning one for a loved one, you will be bombarded with many options.
You’ll mainly have a lot of decisions to make if you opt for burial instead of cremation. Aside from things like embalming, or caskets and coffins, you will need to choose the type of burial plot you would like.
There are many options, from traditional earth burial plots to mausoleums to lawn crypts. Lawn crypts may note the most common burial option, but they are slowly gaining traction.
You may have seen them in some cemeteries but didn’t recognize them. In this post, we will be covering what these lawn crypts are, how much they are, and whether they are worth it compared to other forms of burial.
What is a Lawn Crypt?
Also called a garden crypt, a lawn crypt is a vault that holds caskets and keeps them dry and clean below the ground.
They are a compromise between a traditional burial plot and a mausoleum.
Some people refer to it as an underground mausoleum. They came about due to the need for more burial grounds that were also more sustainable.
They are pre-made using solid materials like steel and cement to prevent them from collapsing, for example, during an earthquake.
Their shared, reinforced walls and drainage system make them suitable for any weather like floods or natural disasters.
They are also easily accessible even during winter. They are considered a more logical and economical option for ground burials.
Normally, lawn crypts are wider and deeper than traditional burial plots. To install a lawn crypt, the ground must be excavated twice the height of a normal burial plot.
That is why some people refer to lawn crypts as double-depth graves. Afterward, a drainage system is installed to ensure the crypts will remain dry.
The crypts are then placed into the ground either in multiple depths or side by side. The spaces are then filled with dirt and gravel before the crypt is covered with soil and turf.
The construction usually takes place before the internment. Afterward, it requires less labor than traditional graves during internment.
During the interring of the casket or coffin, the soil and turf are removed to expose the lid of the crypt.
After the casket or coffin is placed inside, the crypt’s lid is restored and covered with soil and turf.
Mausoleums vs. Lawn Crypts
When you compare a lawn crypt and a mausoleum, one is a below-the-ground type of crypt, while the latter is an above-the-ground type of crypt.
By definition, a mausoleum is a building that contains crypts where caskets are held. It is an ideal roofed place where families can enter to visit their loved ones.
This type of burial method dates back to the Egyptians back in 350BC where their kings were buried in pyramids. It was, however, first adopted in 352BC, a King Mausolus‘s wife built a temple-like tomb for his remains, hence the name Mausoleums.
Mausoleums can differ in size. Some are single units built to accommodate one body.
Others are built to accommodate families, while others can go up to twenty stories and are normally found in cemeteries as public mausoleums.
They are strong, well-built structures built using durable materials.
Although Lawn crypts are called underground mausoleums, they have certain differences.
The obvious difference is that lawn crypts are underground vaults, while mausoleums are above the ground building structures that hold the crypts.
Unlike the mausoleums, families cannot enter a lawn crypt to visit their loved ones. There are lawn markers instead that show where the lawn crypt is placed.
Cost is also a differing factor, considering that mausoleums cost more to construct compared to lawn crypts.
Both are, however, sustainable in any weather conditions or natural disasters. They can also both hold multiple caskets, depending on their structure.
Although you can walk into a mausoleum, like the lawn crypt, you cannot see the body, just the marker.
Traditional Burial vs. Lawn Crypt
Both traditional earth burial plots and lawn crypts are below ground-level burial methods. Traditional earth burial plots are, however, more common compared to lawn crypts.
The practice of traditional earth burials has been in existence since humans started burying their dead. It has evolved with inclusions of caskets and coffins to contain the body and the coming up of cemeteries.
For traditional earth burial plots, they are created either by using a gravedigger or by hand if it’s meant for a child or is on a slope.
The size of the plot is normally about 6ft deep and is normally wider than the casket or coffin.
Some burial plots have grave liners, although it is not always necessary. The burial plots can either be dug as a single plot, side-by-side, or a double depth plot. This makes it suitable for families and couples.
The difference with lawn crypts, though, is that traditional earth burial plots aren’t as deep as lawn crypts.
They are also not as durable, even with the grave lining. Unlike lawn crypts, earth burial plots don’t have to be pre-installed.
They can be prepared for a few days to the internment. It is also not advisable to prepay for a burial plot.
Depending on the cemetery, some places charge a large opening and closing fee, so you or your loved ones may end up paying a lot of money for the plot during internment.
Advantages of Lawn Crypts Over Traditional Burial Plots.
While the traditional burial plots are a common burial method that requires less to install, lawn crypts have a few advantages over them.
They have several features put in place to help protect the casket or coffin from natural elements, unlike earth burial plots.
The following are the features that give lawn crypts their advantage:
Unlike the earth burial plots, lawn crypts are equipped with a drainage system that keeps the vault and casket or coffin dry, especially in the case of floods.
The drainage system installed is designed to prevent any water build-up.
The casket or coffin is therefore constantly clean and dry even during the winter. Even with grave linings, earth burials still let water and other elements seep into the casket or coffin, causing it to deteriorate faster.
Shared Wall System.
In some lawn crypts, the vaults have a shared wall system. This system allows for more vaults to be placed within a small piece of land.
Earth burial plots that are prepared side by side would end up taking a larger piece of land since they are individual plots that don’t necessarily share the same walls.
The shared wall system is a more economical option for families.
Reinforced Walls and Lids.
The walls of the lawn crypt are reinforced with high-quality steel to prevent the vaults from caving in case of any natural disaster like an earthquake.
The lids are also reinforced by pouring concrete over the crypts. This helps the crypt hold up against the ground above, especially from any maintenance activities or equipment.
While both lawn crypts and earth burial plots can accommodate double caskets or coffins, lawn crypts are deeper and wider.
They have a depth that is twice that of a traditional burial plot. They can also be constructed to be wide enough to hold 6-12 caskets at a go.
Crypts for Couples
As mentioned before, lawn crypts can be built to accommodate up to 12 or more caskets. So, it is possible to have double crypts for couples as well.
Double lawn crypts are considered cheaper than if you were to buy single lawn crypts. There are several ways in which double lawn crypts are arranged.
First, they can be placed side by side. Such lawn crypts are referred to as companion crypts. In such cases, they could have a shared wall system to help save on land space.
They, however, each have their lids and vault spaces. During internment, when one partner dies, one of the crypts lids is opened, and the casket is placed inside.
After that, the crypt is covered up again. When the other partner dies, then the same process is done for the remaining empty crypt.
The second way is by placing the end of one crypt to the end of the other. This arrangement is referred to as True companion crypt. Sometimes others refer to it as Tandem crypts.
The arrangement resembles the alignment of a train whereby the carriages are following each other. They also each have their lids.
The process of opening them, therefore, is similar to opening the companion crypts.
A third way is by placing one crypt above another. This is referred to as a double lawn crypt. They involve a double depth crypt divided into two internment spaces.
It is a primary removable lid that covers the crypt and a secondary removable one that acts as the lid for space below and a base for space above.
When one partner dies, the casket is placed in the lowest space, and the secondary lid is placed over it.
When the other partner dies, the casket is placed on top of the secondary lid and sealed by the primary one. Therefore, a double lawn crypt has to be opened twice.
How Much Does a Lawn Crypt Cost?
Although the installation process of a lawn crypt may seem costly at first, it is a more economical burial option in the long run.
For starters its saves on space thanks to the wall sharing system. They are also cost-effective when you buy double or multiple crypts as compared to single crypts.
They are usually pre-installed ahead of time, therefore, require fewer resources during internment in terms of excavation.
They are also easier to access even during winter, thanks to their installed drainage system.
What is a lawn crypt going to cost?
When purchasing a lawn crypt, the price includes both the crypt/vault and the land space. The price, however, varies.
You could find a single lawn crypt priced between $3200-$6000 or even $10000. For double lawn crypts, they could go up to $20,000, especially when there are customizations involved.
There are a lot of factors that affect the price; some of the important factors include:
- Location – some cemeteries have higher prices for lawn crypt spaces than others, so ensure you compare the different prices before settling on one.
- Single or double crypts – single crypts are more expensive compared to double or even multiple crypts since that way, you get to share the cost.
- Period – when you purchase the crypt also matters—there times during inflation when the lawn crypts may be more expensive.
- Including internment, marker, and outer container – all these additional factors will add to the cost of the lawn crypt. To cut on cost, find out whether it is possible to purchase these items somewhere cheaper.
Other considerations you should make when picking a lawn crypt include:
- If the cemetery meets your religious needs.
- How well the cemetery is maintained.
- The rules of the cemetery and how accessible it is.
- If fees for opening, closing, and maintaining the lawn crypt are included in the initial price.
- If there are any additional fees for burial permits and installing headstones or markers.
Other Types of Crypts
Lawn crypts are the premium choice for underground burials. There are, however, other alternative in-ground crypts. These include:
These are 1 ¼ “thick liners made of concrete and thin wires. They are assembled by hand and are usually placed around the casket or coffin once it’s already in the ground.
Compared to lawn crypts, they aren’t as sustainable. They are, however, easier to use when maneuvering caskets in tight spaces.
Solid Line Boxes.
These are thicker than sectional liners. Like lawn crypts, they are pre-installed using a backhoe. They also keep the casket clean and dry because they are made without seams and do not allow any element.
They vary in quality, with some made of heavy-gauge wires while others are made of plastic or copper liner.
Unlike the lawn crypts, they are heavy and difficult to maneuver, especially in tight spaces. Additionally, their weight causes the surrounding graves to cave, especially during installation.
Lawn crypts may not be as popular as traditional earth burials, but they are more durable and space-effective. They are also cheaper than mausoleums.
Families opt for lawn crypts because they allow multiple burial spaces. Also, they can have peace of mind knowing their loved ones are placed in a sustainable place that will not deteriorate the coffin or casket.
It’s a matter of a family’s or couple’s preference and financial situation.