The simple answer to this question is “yes”!
The law is contained in the Burial Laws Amendment Act 1880 but there are still stringent rules to be followed.
A person who knows the circumstances of the death and has a lawful certificate of the cause of death must still first register a death at their local Register Office
It is legal to be buried on your own property if you own it in its entirety and the burial plot is far enough from a ditch or water source to meet Environment Agency rules. There must also be at least 30 inches of soil between the surface of the ground and the upper side of the coffin.
You do not need planning permission but the person responsible must also be in possession of a certificate of authority for burial and create a simple burial register. The register needs to include the name, address, date of birth, age, date and place of burial and the name of the “minister”. A plan also needs to be made and kept with the register, showing the exact location of the grave. So long as they are not too near a road or over a certain height, planning permission is not needed to put up a headstone in a garden.
You need to keep the documentation safe so that there will be no fear of your grave being disturbed by accident – an important consideration should the property change hands in future. You may also want to consider the impact of garden graves when you or your family come to try to sell your property.
Should the Council object to the choice of your burial site they would have to get permission from the Home Office to exhume the body.
Being buried in your own garden may not be for everyone but ashes can be freely scattered in the garden or buried in a container eg.under a favourite tree.
Kirstie Allsopp buried her mother in her parents’ back garden in 2014, in accordance with her wishes. Allsopp said that her mother was buried within 24 hours of her death.
“We buried her in the garden the next day,” she said. “We lifted her into the wicker coffin and we put her on the trailer on the back of the tractor and drove her up the garden.
“It was very important for her that it was very small. No strangers were involved of any kind, we had to do absolutely everything. For Mum, it was all to do with discretion and privacy.”*
*Independent Monday 14 July 2014
Rosie Inman-Cook, who runs the Natural Death Centre, said that natural or home funerals are significantly cheaper than one organised by funeral directors and are becoming increasingly popular.
Some now choose to keep their relative’s body at home, rather than at a morgue, before the funeral.
“There is a movement now for people taking back control,” said Ms Inman-Cook.