We have been talking about different items to include in your columbarium. An ossuary was suggested. If you remember an ossuary is a large underground vault that has an opening above ground. Cremated remains are poured down a cylinder into an underground vault and co-mingled with other cremated remains. A tribute tower or memorial wall is nearby for memorial plaques with the names of the deceased and the birth date and death date are on the plaques. Then we talked about including a Labyrinth. A labyrinth has only one path leading to the center and back out again with no dead-ends. One of our readers suggested using the columbarium as the walls of the labyrinth.
Another suggestion is to include a Pergola. Modern day pergolas, arbors and trellises trace their origins back to the Renaissance. A pergola, or also called an arbor, is a garden feature forming a shaded walkway, passageway or sitting area of vertical posts or pillars that usually support cross-beams and a sturdy open lattice. A pergola can cover a sitting area and can offer some protection from the harsh glare of direct sunlight. A pergola creates visual interest, particularly if you have flowering and fragrant vines growing up and over the rafters and down the vertical posts. You can also dress up a pergola by hanging planters or other design elements from the rafters. If you would like complete shade, you will need to completely cover your pergola with pressure-treated wood, outdoor fabric or another weather-resistant material. A pergola is a moderately easy project to tackle, as long as you have the proper tools and help to lift the posts into place and to set the rafters.
A pergola can be made of:
• Cellular PVC
Vinyl, aluminum, and cellular PVC are low-maintenance materials and can stand up to the elements though using wood is the traditional choice for pergolas. The most common lumber used is either cedar or redwood. The major downside of wood is that it requires maintenance in the form of both cleaning and staining or painting. There are many great benefits of choosing vinyl, aluminum or cellular PVC over wood. Here are just a few examples:
• They don’t warp, splinter, chip, crack, or rot.
• Virtually no maintenance required, there’s no sealing or staining which wood pergolas require. Cellular PVC can be painted with an acrylic latex paint. Vinyl pergolas are not intended to be painted.
• They are insect proof.
Another suggestion is a Gazebo. A gazebo is a roofed structure that offers an open view of the surrounding area. The concept of a gazebo is not a new one. In fact, the gazebo is one of the earliest forms of outdoor shelter, predating the tent and acting as a garden fixture in many cultures for thousands of years. A gazebo provides a place where you can go to for some peace and reflection. It is covered space, so a small gathering can be in the gazebo (depending on the size) for a memorial service or can provide a peaceful atmosphere for loved ones to gather and reminisce. We have designed a project that the gazebo included niches becoming the columbarium.
Gazebos can come in many different styles, shapes, sizes and materials; the sides can be screened in, or left opened. They are most commonly made of wood and are usually round, octagonal or rectangular. A gazebo can have either a semi-open roof that provides shade but still has openings, or a waterproof, shingled roof that can protect you from the elements. Additionally, the gazebo can have just posts and no walls, or low walls that come up to about three or four feet.
Gazebos can be built from a variety of construction materials. These include:
• Various woods such as cedar and redwood
• Metals like aluminum and steel. Aluminum is a lightweight metal, is also affordable and can be painted in any color. Steel is extremely heavy; it is well suited to a public area.
• Vinyl is also used to create gazebos. These thermoplastic composites are generally much cheaper than metal frames, lightweight and can be made to look like stone or brick
• Fabric is commonly used as a gazebo component, making up a large proportion of the roof in some structures. Commonly used types are canvas, or polyester for added durability.
• Less common material is bamboo. The results can be very pretty to look at as well as durable
• Much more expensive, but certainly beautiful, is the option to have a stone or brick gazebo.
What do you think should be included in a columbarium?