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 The present invention relates generally to lawn crypts or burial vaults, and to cemeteries where such crypts are buried.
 In the past, coffins or caskets of various materials were buried under the ground and covered with a layer of turf or grass. An improvement over this system was the introduction of lawn crypts or burial vaults, which may be of single or double depth, and which are of a strong, durable material such as concrete. The crypt is installed at a burial site prior to any interment, and is again buried under the ground and covered with a layer of turf or grass. At an interment, the turf is removed to expose the lid of the crypt, the lid is lifted off, and the casket is lowered into the crypt. The lid is then replaced and the dirt and turf is replaced over the top of the crypt. Although this system has advantages, there is a requirement in the United States that there is at least 18 inches of ground cover above the crypt lid for a single layer lawn crypt, and 12 inches of ground cover for a double depth crypt. A double depth lawn crypt or vault is described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,746,030 of Sannipoli, while a modified lid for such a crypt, incorporating a headstone support, is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,243,997 of Sannipoli.
 One problem with existing cemeteries having buried lawn crypts is that a large amount of digging has to take place at each interment. This involves driving heavy digging equipment over the turf to the grave site, which often damages the grass, then digging down to 12 to 18 inches below grade level to expose the lid of the crypt. After the interment, the procedure is repeated to replace the dirt and turf over the crypt. This is also very labor intensive and expensive. There is also the problem of maintenance costs for a large area of grass, and water damage to crypts and headstones as a result of daily watering of the grass. Another problem in prior cemeteries where headstones are placed in the earth above a crypt is that they will tend to tilt or even fall over with time as a result of the inconsistent support of the surrounding earth.
 It is an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved lawn crypt system and interment method.
 According to one aspect of the present invention, a lawn crypt system is provided, which comprises at least one lawn crypt for burying at a burial site, the crypt comprising a rectangular container for holding at least one casket, the container having an open top, and a lid for covering the open top of the container, and a covering layer for covering the lid of the crypt after burial, the covering layer comprising artificial turf or other artificial or man-made material.
 The artificial turf may be secured directly to the upper surface of the lid by a suitable bonding material or adhesive. In an alternative arrangement, a fill material may be placed on top of the crypt lid, and the artificial turf is then laid on top of the fill material. The fill material may be gravel, dirt, sand, or the like.
 In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the system comprises a plurality of lawn crypts buried to form an array of crypts arranged side-by-side in a series of adjacent rows at a cemetery, each crypt having opposite side walls and end walls, with a predetermined gap between adjacent crypts in each row and adjacent rows of crypts, a predetermined thickness of fill material forming a layer beneath the array of crypts, fill material filling the gaps between adjacent crypts and crypt rows, and a layer of artificial turf covering the top of all of the crypts in the array. The artificial turf may be laid directly on top of the array of crypts, or a layer of fill material may be provided between the crypt array and the turf. Where the artificial turf is laid directly over the lids of the crypts, it may be secured to the array by a suitable bonding material around the periphery of the array.
 A seal will be provided around the lid of each crypt so as to prevent or reduce leakage of any gases upwardly from the interior of the crypt. A drainage or leach system for liquids and gases may be provided beneath the array of crypts. Each crypt will have a base wall having two spaced drain openings. At the same time, a series of perforated pipes extend beneath the array of crypts such that at least one length of pipe extends beneath each crypt. The pipes are connected to inlet and outlet manifolds at each end, and the manifolds in turn are connected to vertical stand pipes at a distance from the crypt array, for creating air flow through the drainage system and venting any decomposition gases. The fill material beneath the crypts is of a porous nature to permit liquids and gases to drain downwardly, while the porous pipes provide an escape path for gases to the exit stand pipe. The fill material beneath the crypts may be birds eye gravel, for example. A different, non-porous fill material is provided in the gaps between adjacent crypts, such as sand, to prevent gases from escaping upwardly in the cemetery area.
 According to another aspect of the present invention, an interment method is provided, which comprises the steps of:
 burying at least one lawn crypt comprising a container and a lid to a predetermined depth; and
 covering the lid of the lawn crypt with at least one layer of covering material, the covering material comprising artificial turf.
 The artificial turf layer may be secured directly on top of the lawn crypt, in which case the crypt need only be buried to a depth such that the lid of the crypt is at grade level. Alternatively, a second layer of fill material may be placed on top of the crypt lid, and the layer of artificial turf is then laid on top of the fill material. In an exemplary embodiment, a hole is dug in the earth to a predetermined depth, and a layer of porous fill material is placed into the hole prior to burial of the lawn crypt.
 The method may comprise burying a plurality of lawn crypts in an array comprising a series of rows of lawn crypts arranged side-by-side in each row with gaps between each adjacent pair of lawn crypts in each row and similar dimension gaps between each adjacent row of crypts. A non-porous fill material is then placed into all of the gaps so as to completely fill the gaps, and a layer of artificial turf is secured over the array of crypts.
 At each interment, the artificial turf is cut around the lid of the lawn crypt at the burial site, and the lid and cut section of turf are then lifted off the crypt. The casket is then placed into the crypt, and the lid and turf are replaced over the crypt. The turf is adhered around the periphery of the lid by a suitable bonding material such as double sided adhesive tape of the type used in carpet laying. A section of turf over the lid may be cut out to allow installation of a suitable grave marker, such as a vertical headstone which is supported in a suitable holder on the lid, or a horizontal marker laid into a receiving recess on the lid. The turf is then suitably stuck down or bonded to the lid around the periphery of the cut out.
 It can be seen that the lawn crypt system and interment method of this invention is a considerable improvement over the conventional prior art arrangement. The crypts do not have to be buried as deeply as in an earth covered system, so that the hole for receiving one or more crypts only needs to be deep enough to position the crypt lids at grade level, rather than 12 to 18 inches below grade level. The artificial turf requires much less maintenance than grass, with no mowing, and no watering which could cause water damage to grave markers or headstones. There will also be significant cost savings for each interment, with no heavy digging equipment required before and after the interment, as is standard in conventional cemeteries.
 The present invention will be better understood from the following detailed description of an exemplary embodiment of the invention, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals refer to like parts and in which:
 The lawn crypt system of FIGS.
 A suitable drainage system
 Each crypt has two spaced drain holes
 The crypts are positioned with a small gap
 Although in the illustrated embodiment the artificial turf layer
 Instead of sealing gasket
 Although a multiple crypt array is illustrated in FIGS.
 After the casket has been interred and the lid and covering layer of artificial turf have been replaced, a suitable upright or horizontal grave marker may be installed at the site immediately after the burial. If the lawn crypt uses horizontal markers, the lids
 The method and system described above has many advantages over existing, conventional cemetery systems, in which each casket or crypt is buried at some depth in the earth with earth and grass covering the grave site. First, costs of both burial and cemetery maintenance are significantly reduced. Since the lawn crypts are covered with artificial turf or other artificial material, rather than grass, maintenance costs of mowing and watering are completely eliminated. Second, heavy digging equipment is only needed when the crypts are initially buried, and not at subsequent interments. All that is needed in order to prepare for an interment is to cut around the turf at the appropriate burial site and to remove the lid and cut portion of artificial turf. All that is required after the interment is to replace the lid and cut turf portion and to stick down the edges of the turf around the site. The grave marker can be set immediately, rather than having to wait until earth has been replaced to cover the crypt.
 This invention also solves the problems of burials in cold climates or in winter, where the earth may be frozen, making digging to expose a grave site extremely difficult or impossible. In such situations, heat blankets are sometimes needed to thaw the ground and permit burial to take place. The artificial turf covering layer in the system of this invention completely avoids such problems. The lawn crypts can be buried during warmer weather, and readily exposed when needed, whether summer or winter. The artificial turf layer can be readily replaced as necessary, and any damaged portions can also be simply cut out and replaced as appropriate. The need to drive heavy digging equipment over the cemetery before and after each burial, which sometimes damages the grass in a conventional cemetery, is completely eliminated in this invention, since the only major digging necessary is on construction of the cemetery when a single hole is dug and all the lawn crypts are buried and covered with the single artificial turf layer, so that they are ready for all subsequent interments. Although primarily intended for a cemetery having multiple, side-by-side single or double burial sites, the system is also useful for single burial sites within family estates, for example, as described above, making burials in such estates easier and more convenient.
 Although an exemplary embodiment of the invention has been described above by way of example only, it will be understood by those skilled in the field that modifications may be made to the disclosed embodiment without departing from the scope of the invention, which is defined by the appended claims.