Ornamentation of Lairs

In recent times the practice of ornamentation and adornment of lair space around memorials has greatly increased. Additional vases of flowers, trees, shrubs, small toys, wind chimes, fences and solar lights are now being installed in some cases.

Aberdeenshire Council understands that relatives wish to remember loved ones and, in attempting to deal with the situation sensitively, had not been rigorously applying the current rules. However concerns were growing over the impact of the current trend towards increased ornamentation and it was considered appropriate to review the situation.

In order to minimise the risk of disturbance or distress and to ensure the health and safety of visitors and to assist in the maintenance of our burial grounds, amendments have been made to the guidelines on lair ornamentation. Local area committees were consulted to ensure community views were reflected in the proposals and the Infrastructure Services Committee approved these amendments in 2008.

The amended guidelines state:

  • Moving, noise emitting and light emitting features are not permitted
  • Nothing shall be planted on the lair space
  • Temporary tributes, including non-weatherproof features, should be removed after 21 days
  • Ornamentation is to be restricted to the memorial border, the area of ground at the head of the lair adjacent to the headstone, only small low-growing plants are permitted
  • Kerbs, copes, corner stones, globes, railings, are only permitted in the approved memorial border
  • Lair Holders will be permitted to place vases or suitable containers for flowers in the memorial border of the lair. Such containers must be of sound construction and in a good condition

The amended rules allow greater use of ornamentation in specified or defined location, such as, the memorial border (the area of ground at the head of a lair) but with the specified exclusions above.

Once a lair has been identified as having items which do not comply with the above amended guidelines, a letter will be sent to the lair holder, detailing the action required to ensure the lair complies with the guidelines. Please help us to ensure this letter is sent to the lair holder by ensuring the details for your lair are up-to-date, if you have moved since the lair was purchased or the registered lair holder is deceased, please contact the registrar or Landscape Services to ensure your records are amended.