Make memorial garden stones with loved one’s ashes

A recent commenter mentioned that they were planning on using their loved one’s ashes to make memorial garden stones, because gardening was one of the things they loved most.

I immediately thought, What a unique and personal! Kudos to the family for creativity and for honoring their loved one’s memory in a special way.

Garden Stones with Ashes

However, the commenter was posting with a question: Is there any place that makes memorial garden stones from ashes?

To my knowledge (and especially so since this is the first we’ve encountered the idea), there are no companies that mix remains into garden stones. My thought was that you can go about this in one of two ways:

  1. Call around to local stone manufacturers, concrete specialists, handymen, or artists to see if they will do this for you
  2. Do it yourself

The first option is going to involve a lot of calling, a lot of explaining, probably a lot of weird responses, and small chance of success. My recommendation is option #2 if you are planning to make garden stepping stones with your loved one’s ashes.

It’s really not too difficult as a do-it-yourself project; all you need are a few common supplies, a few inexpensive materials, and an afternoon of labor.

Below are some of our favorite DIY decorative memorial garden stone tutorials. All you’ll need to do is add a little of the ashes (a.k.a. cremated remains) to each stone as you are mixing the concrete.

There are several ways to use memorial garden stones. Stepping stones is perhaps the most popular. But you may not be too sure about the idea of walking on the remains of a loved one. So you can either use the stones for decoration where people won’t be walking, or you can skip mixing in the ashes and simply make this a memorial project. The possibilities and ideas are endless.

DIY Memorial Garden Stones Tutorials

How much ashes to add? One reader mentioned that she has done this multiple times and used a few tablespoons. I haven’t personally done this with cremated remains (so use your judgment) but I have done plenty of cement projects. I’m confident that I’d be able DIY this. If you’ve ever done cement work, you’ll have a good feel for what seems like the right amount.

I wouldn’t recommend more than a couple cups of ashes in a medium-sized (16-20″) stone. The sweet spot will likely be between a tablespoon or two on the low end of the scale up to a few cups at the very most (for larger stones). And of course it will depend on your ratio of concrete, gravel, and water.

With that in mind, here are a few tutorials.


Garden Stepping Stones from Loved One's Ashes

Use concrete and large plant leaves to create detailed leaf-shaped stepping stones. Tutorial here.


Make stepping stones from loved one's cremated remains

Mosaics are unique and beautiful yet relatively easy to make. Plus they can add a splash of cheerful color to your garden or yard. Tutorial here.


Garden stones with cremated ashes

Using pebbles will add a very natural yet artistic flair to your garden stones. Tutorial here.


Create Stepping Stone Memorials

Lovely garden pathway with simple, shapely handmade bricks. Tutorial here.


Broken Dishes Memorial Stepping Stone

Saving perhaps the best idea for last, use broken bits of treasured teacups or fancy chinaware in the mosaic for a beautiful memorial garden stone. Tutorial here.

Well, those are some of the simplest and most beautiful DIY memorial garden stone tutorials. Add ashes to make it truly personal, or customize it with your beloved’s name and dates.

Thanks for reading, pin it to save for later!

DIY Memorial Garden Stones with Ashes

15 thoughts on “Make memorial garden stones with loved one’s ashes”

  1. I just do not care to step on them. I would plant or place in garden I like tree planting

  2. Hi Sandra,

    I’m sure many people wood agree with you! Instead of a garden stepping stone, perhaps many would rather create a similar stone piece set into a garden bench or made into a decorative piece.

    Thanks for your comment!

  3. Hi Daniel, Thanks for sharing these ideas. I’m searching for the right way to celebrate someone special and I really appreciate this one and the variations.

  4. Do the ashes interfere with the way the concrete sets? It there an amount of ashes per lbs of concrete? Thinking of using concrete molds (leaves, turtle, frogs) for flower garden for each family member to remember loved one.

  5. Hi Pam,

    While we haven’t done this ourselves using ashes, I have done a fair amount of concrete and it will set with pretty much any material. As long as you have more concrete (the prepared mix involving cement, sand, and small rocks) than ashes, it should work fine.

  6. Hi. My husband and I are interested in having our ashes made into a natural looking stone to be left at a favorite spot at a remote location. Is this possible?

  7. Hi Ken, absolutely this is possible! It’s really just a matter of getting permission from the land owner. But (not that you heard this from us) if it’s a really, REALLY remote location and you’re just leaving ashes in a stone (since scattering is permissible) then you may just want to use your judgment and go for it. Hope this helps!

  8. After my father passed and I received his ashes I purchased a concrete bench and leg mold on eBay of a hunting scene { he would come to my house every year to hunt }. It cost about $100. Delivered and came with instructions on mixing the concrete and how to make a release agent to keep the bench from sticking to the mold. It was fairly easy but I would recommend making a few practice benches before making the memorial bench. I placed it in my backyard next to my bonfire ring and it feels like he’s with us every time we have a bonfire.

  9. What, beyond generating ad revenue is the point of this article? Obviously if people are searching the terms that would bring them here they are aware that it’s possible. And odds are they already have an idea of the shape they’d like the concrete to take. How about someone with some actual masonry knowledge weighing in here and telling DIY’ers how mixing cremains into concrete will affect the final result. I can only imagine that adding 7.5 lbs of cremated remains to 20 lbs of concrete mix isn’t going to go well. But hey I guess after you mix your loved ones ashes in and it doesn’t turn out you can always wait for someone else to die.

  10. Hi James,

    Thanks for your comment! Yes, adding the full (approx 7.5lbs, as you mentioned) amount of remains won’t work well. That’s why I (and the family who first suggested this to me) recommend using only a small amount of the remains. I would actually advise AGAINST using the full amount of remains for the very reason you mentioned!! But mixing remains into concrete is actually something that is done; for instance they make “memorial reefs” from a mixture of concrete and cremated ashes that are set into the ocean to serve as reefs.

    Again, thanks for you comment, I hope it helps people carefully consider before embarking on a project like this! I still think it’s a great idea tho 😉


  11. Hi,
    This is easy to do and I’ve have done a few. You don’t add a lot of ashes. Tablespoon maybe. Use the high-strength Quickrete and additive for bonding. I buy molds on ebay. Use mold release spray and do not use something else. Cover with plastic. Let sit overnight. Take plastic off. Once 24 hours. Turn over and gently pull up on edges until the mold releases. Let dry as long as possible. I guess you can leave as is but i paint them.

  12. Thanks for the artical. This is what I have been telling my family that I want done with me when I go. They freaked out! How could I consider bring put into some blob rock? My suggestion was that they make 3 heart stone, one for my husband and one for each of the girls. (Since they each wanted some place to “visit” me) That way, if they moved they could take me or leave me. And when their times came they could have the stone put in with them if they wanted. (Silly I know, but it seemed to help a little bit) Besides, I thought that it was much more feasible than their idea of turning my ashes into diamond necklaces – at $40,000 to $50,000 + ! (Was that really about me or the diamones?) Any way, thanks for the article, we just had our beloved Princess die, and I was searching for something for her!

  13. Pavers to be walked on… not so much…

    I prefer a bench or fire pit or combination. Addresses the quantity of ashes and if I haven’t always been then for you… you can rest upon my shoulders everafter.

  14. I have been making stepping stones for my beloved pets who passed away as a tombstone over there grave. We made our own mold; a 14-inch square wood mold frame; and use a 50-lb bag of cement. I was thinking of what to do with a loved ones ashes….maybe make a stone, bury the ashes, and place the stone over it in my backyard. There are laws about burying a body in your backyard, but not ashes. Then I thought maybe put the ashes in the stone…..but James has a good point about the ratio of ashes to concrete….hmm.

  15. Memorial garden stones tend to have quite a bit of nostalgia associated with them, don’t they? And it’s the type of nostalgia that you tend to like.

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