Cemetery Business Planning : The Basics

Join Erik Lees, founding principal of LEES+Associates, and Jennifer Thibert, CPA, CMA, for an introduction to cemetery business planning.

This webinar was offered in partnership with Western Canada Cemetery Association (WCCA) and LEES+Associates as a part of the WCCA conference.

In this one hour webinar, you will learn:

  • The importance of understanding market demand, disposition trends, and inventory vs. land capacity;
  • The unique considerations of cemetery business planning;
  • Business planning tools for cemeteries, and
  • Translating a business plan into actions.


Planning Makes Perfect: An Introduction to Cemetery Master Planning

In June of 2020, LEES+Associates began offering e-learning opportunities for those new to the wonderful world of cemeteries and for those more experienced and wanting to ensure they are abreast of best practices and the latest training available.

We are excited to present the last in the series, Planning Makes Perfect: An Introduction to Cemetery Master Planning! 

In this focused webinar, you will learn:

  • The many benefits of having a plan;
  • The unique considerations of cemetery master planning;
  • Master planning tools for cemeteries and,
  • How to translate a plan into action.

Join Erik Lees, founding principal of Lees+Associates, as he integrates over 40 years of cemetery planning and design in this fast paced webinar.

Missed the other webinars? Watch them here.

Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden Opening

Our team had a great visit to the Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden to check out the first phase of improvements at the garden.

In 2016, LEES+Associates was retained by the Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden Society to create a master plan and detailed plans for the Phase 1 improvements.

The Botanical Garden had a series of small openings to keep with physical distancing, so we were thrilled to be part of a very intimate ribbon cutting ceremony.

It was really nice to see all the thinking come to life from our team’s work on this;

– Bench in the ‘welcome plaza’
– Entry signage
– Entry gate (simplified but effective)
– Pedestrian entry gate on ‘welcome plaza’
– Fencing
– Concrete edging on parking lot
– Walking path
– Infiltration edge and planted berm to protect pond
– Grass pave on emergency access lane

It felt the way that we had hoped it would feel when we started this undertaking 4 years ago at the design charrette.

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Ocean View Cemetery, Astoria, OR

Ocean View Cemetery

On March 16th, 2020, the City Council of Astoria, Oregon unanimously approved the Ocean View Cemetery Master Plan. This comprehensive Plan was prepared by the Vancouver office of LEES+Associates with support from the Portland office of David Evans Associates Ltd and was intended to help foster sustainable operation and development of Astoria’s remarkable, 123-year-old cemetery.

Ocean View Cemetery is situated on an aging sand dune about 2 km. from the Oregon Coast. The rolling site contains a 1915 community mausoleum designed by renowned Portland architect, Ellis F. Lawrence, and an intriguing 30’ tall conical mound set within the Civil War veterans’ burial section. While there are no known burials inside the mound, it features a set narrow set of steps leading to a flagpole and memorial plaque at its apex, from which there are panoramic views over the site and its Cemetery Lake.

Near the end of the project, the LEES+Associates design team came across an image suggesting that Ocean View’s original landscape architects had borrowed the idea of a conical mound from a strikingly similar feature at The Mound Cemetery, in Marietta Ohio.

The Marietta cemetery was constructed around a burial mound (or “barrow”), which had been built by the indigenous Adena people that had inhabited the area from about 100 BC to 500 AD. This ancient landform is reported to contain prehistoric human remains and is believed to be the last of many similar mounds that were once scattered across the American Midwest.

The Marietta mound was saved from destruction Marietta pioneers, who chose to to establish a cemetery around it. They surrounded the landform with the graves of more Revolutionary soldiers than are buried in any cemetery in the country. The Marietta cemetery, with its iconic mound, remains active to this day.

As cemetery designers, finding hidden connections like this is among the greatest pleasures of our work— always amazing “hidden treasures” to discover!

Ocean View Cemetery

New Projects: Sparwood Cemetery Master Plan

LEES+Associates is pleased to be working with the District of Sparwood on a cemetery master plan for two cemeteries in the district. When completed, the master plan will provide recommendations for best practices and strategy for future development utilizing current and emerging burial practices.

Ivy Smith and Richard Cook from the team took time in between site visits and meetings during their recent trip to Sparwood to check out the colossal Sparwood Titan Truck, one of the biggest trucks in the world, and an absolute must-see when you’re in the area!

 Sparwood Cemetery Master Plan

 Sparwood Cemetery Master Plan

 Sparwood Cemetery Master Plan

 Sparwood Cemetery Master Plan

Cumberland Cemetery Improvements

Implementation of site improvements are now underway at the Village of Cumberland’s historic cemetery!

In 2013, LEES+Associates in collaboration with Outlook Land Design completed the Village’s Cemeteries Master Plan. Since then, the Village has been gradually undertaking projects to restore and enhance its three cemeteries.
New soil, trees, shrubs and irrigation are now in place, and as of last week, work has begun on realigning and resurfacing the site’s roadways. The longer term plan for the Village Cemetery includes creating community gathering area and establishing a green burial section.

Below are a few photos from the site.
Village of Cumberland Cemetery Improvements

Cumberland Cemetery Improvements

Cumberland Cemetery Improvements

Cumberland Cemetery Improvements

Cumberland Cemetery Improvements

Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden’s Master Plan Presented

Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden Master Plan

January 12, 2017


Excitement builds at Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden as the fifteen-year Master Plan nears completion. On January 10, Garden members saw the layout plan illustrating this vital roadmap for the next years.  Eileen Finn and Leila Zeppelin of landscape architecture firm Lees + Associates presented the plan, including examples of signage, wayfinding, new pathways and plantings, and a more detailed plan of a revamped and greatly improved entrance.

Finn says, “The Master Plan lays out a powerful vision. This is a huge step in solidifying the Botanical Garden’s place as a true treasure of the Sunshine Coast and the province, an exciting milestone. We are proud of the work that has been accomplished in collaboration with the Garden’s Master Plan Committee and board, as well as botanical gardens experts from UBC, Toronto, and the UK.”

SC Botanical Garden president Paddy Wales says, “It is exhilarating to look forward with increased clarity and purpose!  The Master Plan expresses our mission to be a Pacific Northwest botanical garden that inspires and engages the community in plant appreciation and acts as a catalyst for learning and research about horticulture, conservation, and land stewardship. Planning with Lees + Associates has been an in-depth examination of our site, our opportunities, our capacity, and stronger service to the community.”

Phase One revamps the way visitors find and enter the Garden, creating an experience of happy anticipation, and choices of how to proceed the destinations such as the Working Garden (vegetables, seniors, potting, bees) and an expanded Coastal Garden. As weather warms, we will offer walkabouts with the Plan in hand to explain this vision of the future.

Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden is at 5941 Mason Road, Sechelt, and is open four days a week during winter, Friday to Monday 11 am – 4 pm, by donation.  Workshops, lectures and tours are offered through the year. Members enjoy unlimited visits plus many extra perks. For information, visit www.coastbotanicalgarden.org.

Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden Master Plan