Slant Headstones, Gravestones, and Memorials

When it comes time to memorialize a recently passed loved one, you can tell their story proudly with an engraved granite Slant HeadstoneA slanted headstone is one of the more recognizable headstones seen in cemeteries. Headstones with a slanted front face typically comes in 3 common styles; Single Slant Memorials, Double (Companion) Slant Memorials, and Smaller Slant Markers also known as pillow markers. They are very well suited for a single grave plot but can be adapted in some instances to accommodate multiple plots. 

In this article, we are going to talk about each design, an estimated price range for each, and hopefully, help you in to decide if a slanted headstone is the perfect way to commemorate your loved one.

Table of Contents

  1. Slant Headstone Design
  2. Choosing your material
  3. Colors
  4. Flat top, Serpentine top, and Rock Pitching
  5. Single, Double (Companion) Slant Headstones.
  6. Prices and what to expect
  7. Where to go to purchase a Slant Headstone?

Slant Headstone Design

Slant Headstones are gravestones that sit at the “top” portion of the grave/memorial plot. A typical slant headstone is 16 to 18 inches tall, 10 inches thick, and 24 to 36 inches wide. They can be very attractively set on a granite base, or stand just fine as a solo memorial stone. Traditional Slant Headstones typically come with a polished front and back face with the sides being rock pitched.
(See the Single Slant Memorial Picture for Rock pitching example)

Single Slant Headstones

Traditionally, an Slant memorial will be set atop a 6″ thick “Base” and then placed at the very top of the grave plot. One of a more common style of headstones, slants typically stand between 16″ and 18″ tall. When the monument is completely set, you can expect it to stand approximately 2.5′ – 3′ feet tall. The top of the Slant will likely be a serpentine top as seen traditional headstones.

Double (Companion) Slant Memorials

A Double (Companion) Slant Memorial is one that typically will bare the family surname in the upper middle of the headstone as well as the first names of those memorialized. Their first names will be engraved on either side of the bottom, right and left,  portions. In many companion slant headstones a larger design is engraved in the middle right and left to either tell the story of the families interests or could be adapted to each of the ones that had passed interests. Being used for multiple memorials in one, it is also typical for this style of slant to be 3′ – even 6′ wide.  

Slant Markers / Pillow Markers

A Slant Marker, also known as a pillow marker is one that is typically only about 6″ tall with a very slight slant forward to 4″ thick in the front. Pillow Markers typically can be set alone or on a 6″ Granite Base if you wanted to incorporate built-in vase holes for flowers. Being both all polished and rock pitched around the edges, this is a good design for those looking to make more of a statement than the most common flat grass marker. Being a smaller stone, a Pillow marker can be adapted to be even smaller as for an infant memorial, typically, 16″ wide at their smallest.  

Choosing Your Material

This is always a good place to start. Throughout North America, the most chosen material to build these types of memorials is granite. Granite is a natural stone mined from select portions of the world.

Granite is long lasting and tough. With proper engraving techniques, you can expect your chosen memorial to last for an industry average of 7 lifetimes.

Other but far less common materials used for Slant Memorials are sandstone, limestone, and other natural stones. Being less common, you will likely pay a pretty penny to build your chosen memorial in anything other than granite.


The color of the stone is what we call the headstone’s “Body Language”. By this we mean it is the first thing that anyone will notice about the stone, and says more about the loved one than most other aspects at times. The color of the granite typically corresponds to the price point, much like what we spoke on in the materials section. Most of the “colorful” granite used for upright headstones come from outside of the United States. (I.e Black from India, Blue Pearl from Norway)

The most common colors of granite are white and gray, both are typically mined in the hills the Sierra Nevada mountains as well as parts of Minnesota and the North East United States. China and India both supply similar white and gray granites.

Flat top, Serpentine top, and Rock Pitching

Flat top

Flat top Upright Monuments are most commonly used in conjunction with other memorial designs like pagodas and mausoleums. If you are looking to make an attractive modern statement with your loved ones upright, then a flat top may be your edge. Typically smooth and polished, this design style adds the touch of class your clean cut loved one always had. 

Serpentine top

The Serpentine Top is “THE” headstone topper for 85% of all upright memorials. Typically incorporated with a rock pitch finish, the serpentine is a centered and tapered design element. Almost all serpentine tops start from the top middle of the headstone and taper down 1.5-2 inches at the outer edge of the headstone. 

Rock Pitching

This is the name for the “natural finish” incorporated in many an upright headstone design. Natural and longest living, a rock pitched side of a memorial is one that has been set and literally broken away with hammer and chisel. To craft this design element, the monument builder must set a precise line and break the stone by tapping each point one after another until the stone naturally cracks. No two rock pitches are the same, thus adding a level of uniqueness to each stone.

Prices for Single, Companion, and Pillow Slant Headstones, What to expect in 2019.

Prices for Single (24") Slant Headstones

As far as Single Slant Headstones go, you can expect to pay somewhere between $1500 – $4000+ depending on size, shape, color, and amount or personalization. As mentioned before, color plays a huge factor in how expensive a Slant Headstone might be. Gray and White will likely be the most cost-effective while Blue Pearl and Emerald Pearl, with their iridescent flakes, can potentially increase the price of the same slant design 4 fold.

Prices for Companion Headstones

In creating a companion slant design, you will likely save some money when compared to purchasing 2 individual monuments. In the design process, the color of the granite will likely play the biggest role in where the final price will come out. If you select this style, you can expect to pay somewhere between $2000 – $5000 depending. As mentioned before they start at 36″ wide so be prepared to pay a little more than a single slant just for the amount of granite. 

Prices for Slant Markers (Pillow Markers)

For those looking for a cost effective memorial, a Pillow Marker might be the one. Simply by using less granite, a Pillow marker will likely cost somewhere between $700 – $2400. The design will be limited to the available polished space though, so if you are looking to tell a grander story than a pillow may be only one portion of the whole custom memorial

A quality Slant Headstone requires a quality Monument Builder

At Santa Barbara Monumental, we pride ourselves on delivering Slant Headstones at affordable prices. No matter the monument or memorial, you can be sure that with your help on the design, your loved one will be remembered with the perfect headstone for their memorial plot. That Monument then allowing future generations to remember the legacy and story through their quality memorial.

Let's start telling the story of your loved one in stone.

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