Frequently Asked Questions
FAQs for Ivy Hill Cemetery
Who owns Ivy Hill Cemetery?
Founded in 1856, Ivy Hill Cemetery is a private nonprofit 501(c) (13) corporation. The cemetery is overseen by a local Board of Directors who volunteer their time, knowledge, and skills to guide the Cemetery. A small paid staff is responsible for the daily operation of the Cemetery. There are no shareholders.
When is the Cemetery open to the public?
The Cemetery grounds are open daily sunrise to sunset, weather permitting. The Cemetery asks that you respect on going funerals and people visiting their friends and loved ones for their privacy. Sometimes we will need to close the roads to vehicles due to funerals, maintenance, snow and ice on the narrow roads or other safety reasons. Weather related closings may continue even after the public roads are clear as the majority of our roadways are shaded. (Even though we plow the roadways after snowstorms, they do not benefit from the sun helping to clear them.) We err on the side of caution when closing our roadways. However, when the roads are closed, you are free to walk at your own risk in the Cemetery. Skateboards, sledding, cross country or other types of skiing are not permitted in the Cemetery. The office is open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 4 pm. We may be available before and after the office hours to meet with you by appointment. The office is closed most holidays and weekends, although we may be available for appointments on most Saturdays. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
May I bring my pet with me to visit Ivy Hill Cemetery?
Yes, the Cemetery allows for you to walk your pets on the Cemetery grounds using the roadways. All City of Alexandria laws regarding pets apply on the grounds. You must clean up after your pets, have your pets on leash and be in control of your pets at all times. Off-leash walking is not allowed. Alexandria Animal Control may be contacted to enforce any off-lead issues. Enjoy walking your pets in the Cemetery, but please do so responsibly.
Does Ivy Hill still have burial space available?
Yes, we do. While the Cemetery is filling up, we still have standard (casket) burial spaces available along with ground burial spaces for cremated remains. Now we also have many options in our Cremation Garden areas for both in ground and above ground inurnment. Please contact us for more information. You can check our webpage for a listing of available sites and niches by clicking here for the available sites page.
Will Ivy Hill Cemetery ever run out of space? What is in the future for Ivy Hill Cemetery?
Yes, we will eventually run out of space. The Cemetery will run out of space for traditional casket burials because we are landlocked and surrounded by our neighbors. Even after we have no more available grave sites to sell for casket burials, actual burials will continue for decades as owners gradually use their rights of burial in Ivy Hill Cemetery.
The increasing use of the cremation will allow Ivy Hill Cemetery to continue for many more years. By proper planning, the remaining areas that are not suitable for traditional casket burial can be used for the inurnment of cremated remains.
The Cemetery has opened 4 beautiful Cremation Gardens during the summer of 2016. What is a Cremation Garden? A cremation Garden is a modern alternative to a traditional burial site. The Cremation Gardens in Ivy Hill Cemetery are designed to blend into the natural beauty of Ivy Hill Cemetery and create a special place of comfort and remembrance for families using natural materials and native plantings where possible. Please see our Cremation Gardens pages for more details and information. You can scroll down this page to see FAQ’s relating specifically to our Cremation Gardens.
The staff has also been busy planning the final areas for ground burial during 2016 and will start the process of laying off these areas in 2017 with the plans to open these areas during 2017 for additional ground burial options.
Can anyone be buried at Ivy Hill Cemetery?
Yes, Ivy Hill Cemetery is a non-denominational cemetery that inters people for many races, ethnic origins, and religions. That being said, Ivy Hill Cemetery may not be able to accommodate all religious burial practices and traditions. Please contact the office if you have questions.
How do I purchase interment rights/sites at Ivy Hill Cemetery?
Ivy Hill Cemetery has a small staff, so please contact the office to set up an appointment. This will ensure we will be able to spend the time needed to answer all of your questions about the Cemetery and the available sites for interment or inurnment.
Should I consider purchasing my grave sites before they are needed?
The pre-need purchase of your grave sites will take a huge burden off your loved ones when you pass. You will have already made the choice of where you are to be interred, the type of burial, and the type of memorial that you want. Yes, you can plan ahead and even have your memorial already installed at your site(s). The only task that usually has to be done at a later time is to have the final inscription information added to the memorial.
What is an interment right?
When you purchase a grave site at Ivy Hill Cemetery, you are purchasing an interment/inurnment right allowing you to make a single interment/inurnment in the designated grave site for which you received an interment/inurnment right certificate of ownership. The Cemetery continues to own the land and cares for the grass and trees.
What is a secondary interment right?
Additional interment rights can be purchased for a single grave (secondary interment rights for cremated remains) within the rules and regulations of the Cemetery. This is usually when one spouse wishes to be interred in a casket and the others wish is for cremation, or to allow children to be interred with their parents. The number of additional (secondary) rights that can be purchased is determined by the grave sites location and the placement of previous interments/inurnments. If you are thinking you may wish to add interment/inurnment rights, please let the Cemetery staff know when you are making arrangements for a burial, as the placement of cremated remains will determine the number of available interment rights later. You may also direct the cemetery to not allow any additional rights to be sold.
In the areas designated as Cremation Gardens most sites come with 2 inurnment rights included in the price, so please check with the Cemetery staff for more details.
How many secondary interment rights can I have per grave?
You can have up to 9 total rights per grave, one for a casket burial and 8 additional rights for cremated remains. However, the cemetery must know if you are thinking about this when we inter/inurn the first cremated remains in any site. The Cemetery only allows one memorial per grave site. Please note that more than one name would ordinarily need to be added to memorialize all those interred in a single site.
When I purchase interment/inurnment rights, what do I get from the cemetery?
After payment in full for the rights, you will receive a Certificate of Ownership for the right(s) you have purchased. All ground burial sites at Ivy Hill Cemetery include one interment/inurnment right, unless designated otherwise. Most Cremation Garden sites include two inurnment rights. You may purchase additional interment/inurnment rights at any time if the site and original purchaser will allow additional interments for ground burial sites. The purchase price includes Endowment care. No additional fees have to be paid by family or friends to maintain the site.
Each site also includes personal webpages on the Ivy Hill Cemetery website for the sharing each person’s life’s story and memories and pictures for each person interred in the Ivy Hill Cemetery. All submissions are subject to Ivy Hill Cemetery approval.
What is Endowment Care?
The Cemetery will endeavor to provide such general ground care and maintenance so long as possible after it ceases to receive current income from the sale of ownership rights, memorials and conducting commitment services by setting aside and investing funds in a separate Endowment Fund for this purpose.
The Endowment Fund contains those funds previously provided by owners through contributions for what was called perpetual care, whether voluntary or previously deemed to be part of the price of any good or service previously sold received for the sale of ownership rights for such care.
Endowment care means the care and maintenance of the surface conditions of the lot or sites specified, such as grading, fertilizing, seeding, and, as far as possible, the keeping of them purchased site(s) clean and in good appearance. The term “care and maintenance” does not include the maintenance, repair or replacement of any gravestones or monumental structures placed or erected upon the site(s) the planting of flowers or ornamental plants, floral arrangements, containers and foundations, the maintenance or doing of any special or unusual work in the Cemetery and the reconstruction of any marble, granite, bronze or concrete work on any section or lot, or any portion or portions thereof in the Cemetery, or other buildings or structures. The term Perpetual Care is a term that has been used in the past by the Cemetery in deeds, contracts, certificates and rules and regulations in the past.
What does the Cemetery require for a burial or inurnment?
- The ownership of, or permission to use an interment right that has been paid in full. All costs related to the interment/inurnment are paid in full.
- The use of an outer burial container — a reinforced concrete box that is either a sealed grave vault or grave liner for burying non-cremated human remains.
- The body be embalmed when using a grave liner. A grave liner is a reinforced concrete container that the casket is lowered into, and then a lid is placed on the top, this is an unsealed container. A grave vault is a reinforced concrete container that is usually lined with a polymer or metal liner. It is sealed with butyl rubber when the lid is placed on top.
- The use of an outer burial container to assist with ground stabilization and the maintenance of an attractive setting. You will purchase these items from the funeral home with which you are working, or have made pre arrangements.
- Cremated remains do not have any outer burial container requirements for ground burials, however, many families chose to make use of an outer burial container (urn vault) for the urn. The Cemetery can assist you with purchasing an urn vault or your funeral director will gladly assist you as well.
I have already purchased my interment rights for Ivy Hill Cemetery, what will be my other costs?
- The opening and closing of the grave. This is the fee for digging, back filling of the grave, and future leveling and grass seeding at the proper time of year for seeding of the grave. This fee also includes, the examination of our records for the correct location, and the updating of our records,
- A tent canopy for the site, artificial grass to cover the grave area as well as 6 chairs for seating and any needed cemetery equipment.
- Cemetery staff also assists with traffic direction and parking assistance as needed, and provides all other equipment as needed.
- Additional cost may include overtime, short notice fee, or memorial moving and memorial foundation replacement as needed to access the grave site to make a burial.
- The Cemetery also can arrange for a final inscription of an existing granite memorial if needed, or in ordering a final scroll for an existing bronze memorial.
Where can I purchase a memorial?
Ivy Hill Cemetery offers memorials only to our families. We do not sell memorials for locations outside of Ivy Hill Cemetery. We utilize the latest Computer Aided Design software to assist in creating a meaningful memorial for your loved ones. The Cemetery also is an authorized representative of major bronze memorial foundries, and we use the foundry’s exclusive design software to create a meaningful bronze memorial design. The type of memorial that can be used, bronze or stone, and the size of the memorial is determined by the location of the grave within Ivy Hill Cemetery.
The memorials in the areas designated as Cremation Gardens are included with the inurnment right purchase, however, the price of the right purchase does not include inscribing the designated memorial.
FAQs for The Cremation Gardens at Ivy Hill Cemetery
What is a Cremation Garden?
A cremation garden is an area that has been designed and planned for the inurnment of cremated remains only.
What is included in the price for a site in a Cremation Garden?
At Ivy Hill Cemetery, the cost for a site in a cremation garden includes the inurnment right(s) for the site and depending on the location of the site, one copper alloy urn for inurnment (site dependent). The right to inscribe the designated memorial for the site, the inscription costs are paid for by the rights owner or designee. A designated inurnment chamber for the placing of cremated remains in the ground, this excludes sites that have in memorial or columbaria niches or cores. Most sites include 2 inurnment rights for the site. Each site also includes personal webpages on the Ivy Hill Cemetery website for the sharing each person’s life’s story and memories and pictures for each person inurned in the cremation gardens. All submissions for the webpages are subject to Ivy Hill Cemetery approval.
What is not included in the price for a site in a Cremation Garden?
The price for a site does not include the cost for opening and closing of the site, overtime charges when applicable, the cost of inscribing the memorial or the cost for a second copper alloy urn if needed.
What is a Community Ossuary?
A Community Ossuary is an in-ground sealed vault for the communal scattering of cremated remains.
What is a Cenotaph?
Webster’s defines a Cenotaph as” a monument erected in honor of a person or group of persons whose remains are elsewhere.” This can be true at Ivy Hill as well. The cenotaph panels can be used to memorialize someone who has their cremated remains scattered in the Community Ossuary, someone interred elsewhere in Ivy Hill Cemetery or someone that was interred or scattered somewhere else other than Ivy Hill Cemetery. A Cenotaph provides a place to remember a loved one.
Are The Cremation Gardens Accessible?
Yes and no. Three of the Gardens have crushed gravel walkways, two of these Cremation Gardens are considered accessible, the third garden is considered accessible with assistance and fourth Garden is not accessible due to a grass walk path.
Can I decorate a grave in the Cremation Gardens?
The Cremation Gardens do not allow for families to plant anything or place large decorations, there are no permanent or glass flower vases allowed. Artificial flowers must be of a natural color for the flower, no neon artificial flowers are allowed. Small tasteful seasonal decorations are allowed. All decorations are subject to the rules and regulations of the cemetery and all decorations can be removed and disposed of without prior notice.
Can I use another urn than the one the cemetery supplies?
Yes, you may, however since all the inground inurnments are into chambers, your urn must fit in the chamber, please contact the office for chamber dimensions. You can, at your choice, scatter the cremated remains in the chamber or place them in a biodegradable container that will fit into the chamber. Urns must fit into the columbaria niches or cores in the cored benches or upright memorials. The cemetery takes no responsibility that your urn will fit, or a second inurnment will fit when using the urn of your choice. A biodegradable urn may only be used for a ground inurnment or in a burial chamber that is in the ground.
Does Ivy Hill Cemetery have a Scattering Garden?
The Cemetery currently does not have an area designated for the open scattering of cremated remains, and the open scattering of cremated remains is not allowed in the Cemetery. Cremated remains maybe scattered into the Community Ossuary, an urn chamber in a Cremation Garden or into a ground burial site. Please remember that scattered cremated remains are in no way recoverable.