June 17, 2024

Unique Ways to Memorialize Loved Ones in Summer

by Lanna Britt

The Roman philosopher Cicero famously said, “The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” Such a true statement! When our loved ones die, it is so important to keep their spirit alive through memories, memorial gardens, photo walls and other memorial service ideas. This blog will offer ways to honor a deceased loved one with practical tips. Summer offers unique opportunities to honor their memory since many family’s schedules are relaxed and the long days afford ample time to begin and finish projects. In addition to the joy and sense of peace creating a memorial space can bring, there are additional emotional and psychological benefits as well.

Creating a Memorial Garden

If you’re looking for memorial garden ideas, you’ve come to the right place. You can begin by selecting a location. This will depend on your available green space or patio but don’t forget you can even create a small indoor memorial if you choose the right plants and sunlight spots. Consider your relationship with the person and the rhythms you shared. Did your loved one have a favorite area? Choose a peaceful location and a spot you can easily access. Next you’ll want to choose specific plants and flowers. This is an important step because you’ll want to confirm the area you’ve chosen has the appropriate amount of light for your desired plants. You can pick plants based on your loved one’s color preferences, favorite blooms and smells or even memorial flowers like Forget-Me-Nots. You could even look through the Victorian era meaning of flowers to put together an assortment symbolizing different emotions. After you’ve planted, add in some personal touches like personalized garden stones, plaques as well as benches. Laurelbox has a range of garden-themed products that are beautiful and special. Finally, incorporate elements from your loved one’s life. That could mean finding ways to pay tribute to their favorite things or hobbies. Did they love butterflies? Choose a custom butterfly garden seed packet to attract them. Did the deceased love being near the water? Add a water feature that would be a tribute and also offer a peaceful sound. Don’t forget to include some memorial wind chimes so that each breeze pays honor to your loved one. Summer’s long days create a perfect opportunity to get outside and spend time gardening with a purpose.

Incorporating Photos Around Your Home

I love photos. They help capture a moment in time that makes it easier for me to come back to later in life. Don’t wait until the end of the year to look back for your favorite photos. So often we put things like that off when the crunch of holidays can make it especially difficult. Reserve a few summer days to organize photos and sort digital photos into albums or printed photos into groups. Also, collect your favorite photos of your loved one. You may be wondering, “What is a memorial photo wall?” It’s simply a designated space to incorporate photographs, mementos and or art to memorialize a loved one. Check out this Better Homes & Gardens step by step tutorial. It could also be really therapeutic to go through old pictures of your loved one and take some time to sit in your grief. Too often we want to rush through the grieving process to get “over” our loss. However, anyone who has lost someone dear knows you never get over them, but instead move through life forever changed for having loved them. I’m a big fan of digital photo frames. We live in a digital age and my Aura frame is so easy to add pictures to that pop up immediately. This way you can continually add and adjust and also play videos! For all you crafty people, DIY photo crafts like photo albums, scrapbooks or shadow boxes could be a great outlet for grief. If the thought of a large photo wall seems overwhelming, start small. Choose a photograph you love and a special frame and place it in a meaningful location. That could be their favorite chair or reading nook or even next to your favorite morning coffee spot. 

Hosting a Memorial Celebration

Another way to honor someone’s legacy is by hosting a memorial celebration. Begin by planning the event. Set a date, send invitations and choose a venue (your backyard is great!). During the gathering, have some activities or traditions. Share stories of the deceased, play their favorite music, serve their favorite food or wine and display photos. You could also create a memory jar. Encourage guests to write down memories and read them aloud during the celebration. Then keep the jar and read over the memories shared when you feel down. You may actually laugh during the celebration more than you cry! 

Crafting Personalized Memorial Items

There are countless ways to uniquely honor the life of someone. If you like the idea of having their memory close to you all day, consider customized jewelry. Create necklaces, bracelets, or rings with their initials, birthstones or a fingerprint. As I’ve mentioned in other blogs, I still wear a ring with our son’s name on it every day. We lost him in 2016 and it is a small yet meaningful way to remind myself his brief life on this earth left a forever mark on my heart. Another craft could be a memory quilt. Use their old clothes to create a special quilt that tells a story with each patch. Snuggle up in it with a cup of coffee and think of them. Memorial art is another memorial idea for loss. Commission a painting or sculpture that captures their essence and then display it in a special location. When my beloved stepfather passed away from cancer in 2017 while living in Israel with my mom, his oldest son made a keepsake box that I have on my shelf to this day. Inside he put water from the Jordan River, dirt from Mount Zion where he was buried, and rocks from the Sea of Galilee. He then burned his name and birth/death on the top along with Proverbs 20:7 that reads, “The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them.” It’s a beloved keepsake that I get to show my children!

Find unique ways to honor a loved one. Here you can see a special keepsake box in honor of my stepfather that includes rocks from the Sea of Galilee as well as the coordinates for his grave. 

photo of a wooden box with the words "Gary Lee Bayer 6.25.44 - 1.6.17 Proverbs 20:7" branded into the top of the box
photo of the inside of a wooden box containing an empty jar with a black lid, a glass jar filled with a dark substance, a white rock and a small brown rock - with a black label in the lid with white wording

Taking Memorial Trips

I joke that traveling is my love language. I’ve visited over 30 countries and my travel bucket list keeps growing! Traveling to significant places to visit locations that held special meaning for your loved one is a wonderful way to memorialize them - especially during the summer travel season. My beloved grandmother on my father’s side always told us stories about her time living in Honolulu and details of the bombing of Pearl Harbor when she was living on the base. When my husband and I were finally able to visit Pearl Harbor with our son about nine years after she’d died, it was a special way to honor her and retell the familiar stories. It’s also important to create new memories even as we hold onto memories of the deceased. Engage in activities they enjoyed or had always wanted to do or experience. Document the journey by keeping a travel journal or blog/post about your experiences. Connecting with nature is another great way to honor a deceased loved one. Plan a trip to serene natural settings like beaches, mountains or national parks to reflect and feel close to them. Think outside the box too. If your parent always dreamed about road-tripping across the USA or flying to Europe but never got the chance, find a friend or loved one and book the trip in their honor! We even used bereavement leave to take a memorial trip in my grandmother’s honor since we weren’t having a traditional memorial service. Toasting her life with champagne in Paris is one of the most special travel memories I have. 

Consider taking a memorial trip in honor of your loved one. We used bereavement leave to take a trip to Paris, a favorite spot of my late grandmother’s. Sharing her stories and drinking her favorite beaujolais wine is one of my favorite travel memories. 

photo of a woman ( wearing a bright purple shirt with a black dress over it ) wearing sunglasses posing with a man ( wearing a red and white striped long sleeve shirt ) smiling while posing in front of a garden of flowers


We hope this blog has provided a number of memorial ideas for loss. Whether you discover how to create a memorial garden, find creative ways to incorporate memorial photos into your grieving process or start planning a memorial trip, know that there is no wrong way to honor a life. Summer offers a perfect time to choose a method that resonates most with your memories and feelings. Take a few minutes today to think through how you want to honor their legacy and get started! If you are looking for additional inspiration, head over to Laurelbox’s main page and scroll through the memorial gifts and find something that resonates. Our team hand packs each and every box with love. Thanks for being a part of our community! 


Lanna Britt was a national news producer in Washington DC for nearly a decade covering politics, breaking news and current events.  She now lives with her husband and three children in Richmond VA. She has two sweet babies she’ll meet again in heaven.

photo of a woman ( Lanna Britt ) with brown shlder length hair, in a light grey long sleeve shirt, smiling at the camera in front of a white stone wall
unique and custom


shop now
Personalized memorial


shop now