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Grave Decor Rules

Flowers, Planting and Other Decorations

Lot Care

While ECA will mow and trim the grass and perform general maintenance, families are encouraged to undertake additional care for their family graves if they so desire, provided they conform to the rules in this section, and the rules of the ECA Cemeteries, generally.

Flowers and Wreaths

Only natural flowers are permitted from April 1 to October 31. Artificial, dried or otherwise preserved flowers are not permitted during months when mowing is conducted. If any are placed by any person, they may be removed by ECA without notice. Cut flowers are permitted, simply laid at the grave, or placed in an in-ground vase unit. All vase units shall be turned down into the ground during the non-growing season and all decorations shall be removed. A natural or artificial wreath may be placed at the grave from Nov. 1 to March 31. All wreaths must be removed by March 31.

Plantings and Pots

One unbreakable cemetery type pot, not to exceed 10" in diameter, may be placed at each grave, after April 1. The pot may be placed on the ground, or on a shepherd’s hook hanging over the headstone. All pots and shepherd’s hooks must be removed by October 31. Rose bushes or other thorny plants are not permitted in the ECA Cemeteries. Absolutely no planting may be done at Flush Marker graves. Owners selecting Flush Marker graves are not permitted to have any planting whatsoever. Raised Marker graves may have annual flowers planted within 8” of the marker. Dwarf shrubs may be planted at Raised Marker graves in certain sections at Erie Cemetery and Laurel Hill only. Please inquire at the office for approval prior to planting any shrubs. Any shrubs must be approved for type and placement by ECA prior to planting. Shrubs planted without ECA approval are subject to removal without notice or recourse by ECA. Any plantings of any kind, if not properly maintained by the family, may be removed without notice or recourse, by ECA.

Service Flags and Flagholders

Service flagholders and flags for USA Armed Services, Police and Firefighters are permitted at the grave. Military flagholders and flags are provided for honorably discharged military veterans by Erie County Veterans Affairs; this is requested through the funeral home. Firefighter and Police flagholders are placed by their respective organizations. Flags are placed by volunteers during the month of May in time for Memorial Day, and removed after Patriot’s Day (9/11). If a deceased person is both a military veteran and a firefighter or police person, flagholders for both services are permissible.

Decorative Objects

One short shepherd’s hook with a potted plant or decorative banner is permitted. Photographs, souvenirs, boxes, loose stones, shells, toys, artificial decorations, clothing, and other commemorative objects may not be placed in the ECA Cemeteries. If any are placed by any person, they may be removed by ECA without notice. No decorations, lights, or ornaments of any kind are permitted on bushes or shrubs. No shells, stones, pebbles, marble chips, etc. may be used to decorate graves or plots. No glass jars, bottles, tin cans, crockery, toys, watering cans or other such items are permitted.

Benches, Chairs and Trellises

No wooden or cast-iron bench or chair or any wooden or wire trellis shall be permitted in the ECA Cemeteries.

No Obstructions

The entrance to every lot must at all times remain unobstructed. No entrance sills or enclosures of any kind, including without limitation, beds of stone, concrete, metal or plastic, hedges, shrubs, posts, bars, chains, rails, or fencing material shall be permitted on graves or lots.

Removal by ECA

Any planting, decoration or other object placed on or about a grave or about a grave or lot shall be removed when, in the judgment of ECA, such action is warranted and in the best interests of the ECA Cemetery.

Prohibited Removals or Alterations

No person may pick flowers, remove turf, trees or shrubs, or in any way alter or mark any property within any of the ECA Cemeteries not specifically belonging to them, or in any way deface ECA Cemetery grounds. The taking of flowers, baskets or ribbons from recent interments or anything in connection therewith is prohibited, except by members of the family of the decedent, their assigns, or ECA employees.

Lost, Stolen or Damaged Items

ECA is not responsible for theft or damage of anything placed in the ECA Cemeteries or anything lost or stolen.

These rules are available in PDF form.