Can I put ashes in my garden?

Can I scatter ashes in a garden? Our article explores the options for scattering or keeping ashes in your garden.


With an increase in the number of cremations, the question of what to do with a loved one’s ashes is a growing area of debate. If your loved one hasn’t left specific instructions for a
resting place and your family can’t agree on a location for a scattering, you may be considering other options, such as sharing the ashes with family or keeping them in the family home. But is it possible to keep ashes in your garden and if so, how do you go about it?

Choosing the right location to scatter ashes

There are a few fundamental questions to ask if you are considering placing ashes in the garden. Firstly, what would your loved one say or think? Just because they haven’t left specific instructions, you should still take into consideration their beliefs and wishes when deciding on a final resting place. Secondly, do you own the land? If your property is leasehold then (as with any scattering of ashes) you must seek permission from the landowner in the first instance. It’s likely some residential landlords may not be that keen to grant permission. Finally, ask yourselves how you might feel if you moved away and were leaving your loved one behind?

Receiving ashes from the funeral director

The ashes may be provided to you by the funeral director or crematorium in what is rather bluntly referred to as a standard returns urn or container. These are often plastic containers, which are rarely very pretty and certainly won’t be an attractive resting place if you intend to hold on to the ashes in a prominent location around the home or garden. The standard returns are provided purely as a means of transferring ashes from the crematorium back to the family and are not really intended for long-term storage or display. Their ‘open mouth’ design is not even very practical for a dignified scattering. Many families will therefore opt to transfer the remains into something more aesthetically pleasing or more practical for scattering or storage.

Many funeral directors nowadays prefer to return ashes in a more attractive or practical container for scattering or temporary storage, such as a Scatter Tube. Scatter Tubes were created by our Chairman, Richard Bush, as an attractive and more eco-friendly alternative to plastic returns containers and they come in a wide range of designs and sizes. You can often specify the return of your loved one’s ashes in Scatter Tubes when you arrange the funeral if you are intending to scatter or have not yet decided on what to do with the ashes. Speak to your Funeral Director to ask if this is an option.

Exhumation and moving ashes or remains

When it comes to making decisions around location, as well as the rules around property ownership and respecting the individual’s beliefs and wishes, there are also laws around the exhumation and moving of human remains. This includes cremated ashes. So, if you are likely to move from the property where you intend to keep the ashes, you need to bear in mind the implications if you plan to move the remains in the future. If moving is a realistic option you could choose an urn that allows you to move the ashes in line with current law.

Movable burial urns and memorials

One of the options for an alternative to the standard returns tube provided by the funeral director or crematorium, is a movable burial urn or garden memorial urn. These have been designed with a specific use in mind and are made from durable materials that allow them to be placed outside and even below ground. Supplied with a marker post and plaque, the resting place is identifiable so the urn can be located in the future for lifting and removal. Because these urns are a sealed container they can be easily relocated when moving home, removing any concern about leaving behind your loved one’s buried ashes.

Why choose Tributes?

Tributes have a range of ashes caskets, urns, keepsakes and memorials and our team can help guide you to the best options for you and your family. We are happy to help with any queries you might help.
Contact us here.

After adding this item to your basket you will be redirected to personalise the included accessory.

You have chosen a product that can be personalised. Would you like to personalise it now?

Personalise now