View Full Version : Cubic yards per hour???

LawnScapers of Dayton
02-18-2004, 08:35 PM
I have done the searches etc.......but I have not found much info. on how much mulch a solo operator and expect to spread in one hour. I know there are a ton of variables.......but assume a 1/2 acre lot with approx. 1500 square feet of area to mulch....13-14 cubic yards.

Is 2-3 yard per hour reasonable with a 8 cubic foot wheel barrow.

Also this is all on the front yard.....no trips to the back.......


02-18-2004, 09:30 PM
I know i can spread atleast 2 yards an hour by myself, including edging of the beds. It took me a little over 5 hours to spread a 10 cu yd trailer of mulch.

LawnScapers of Dayton
02-18-2004, 09:59 PM
THanks for the reply

.....that is what I was thinking......but I was not really sure.........

I just started doing mulch this year.....


02-18-2004, 10:04 PM
If there are plants in the beds it really slows you down -- Closer to 1 - 1.5 yards an hour.

02-18-2004, 10:16 PM
I think having plants makes it go quicker. I use 15 gal plant containers to carry my mulch in. It allows me to better place the mulch with less time spreading and smoothing.

02-18-2004, 10:23 PM
It goes quicker because you use less mulch -- but 2 yards of mulch in an empty bed where you can dump and go is not the same as 2 yards in a highly planted bed.

D Felix
02-18-2004, 11:12 PM
I would have to agree with Hamons... The more plants, the more of a PITA it is.

Trying to remember how long it took and how much I spread when my bosses were off the day their son was born......

Seems like it took all day to spread 10-12 yards. I think around 9 hours or so, loading and travel time included. Plus I had to edge the beds. And it wasn't in just the front of the house, it was all the way around. And it was August 5th too.:) But I probably demand higher quality when spreading than most.......


LawnScapers of Dayton
02-19-2004, 05:56 AM
Thanks for the info.......that gives me a place to start.....


02-19-2004, 07:21 AM
I go for the hour per cubic yard.

These are the kinds of posts I enjoy . There is no talk about money,which is pointless anyway.
Rates change over the years ... every company's financials are different but production rates will almost always stay the same year after year.

02-19-2004, 10:14 AM
Some of you are pretty damn quick!!! We don't do 1 yd/ hour. I plan on 25 yds/day with five guys. Mind you we are meticulous, I mean meticulous. I insist on the mulch being smooth as glass, not touching plants in any manner (base of stem/trunk, leaves, etc.). This time frame includes clean-up, and excludes edging.

02-20-2004, 11:20 PM
could you spray down the mulch to get it off the plants? that way it doesn't look like a rush job? just asking. haven't done very many mulch jobs. mainly small ones.

LawnScapers of Dayton
02-21-2004, 05:44 AM
All of the jobs I am getting are realatively small.....the biggest so far is 7 yards (cubic).......none have very nice landscaping.

I think I am going to estimate 1.5 yards per hour and go from there.....I have an 8 cubic foot wheel barrow....

I think I can handle 5 Wheelbarrow loads an hour.......we will see!

I price out the edging and clean-up separately.....so I am taking strickly mulch moving and installation....

Great talk guys..... thanks

I will pass on the results.......

Now if the weather would just break........


02-21-2004, 07:31 AM
For estimating purposes we stick with the one yard per man hour.
For example I remember a small job last year which took 9 manhours for only 5 yards of mulch because the beds were overflowing with plants.
If you are doing a neat job, a yard per manhour is not possible with allot of plants in the beds. Then other jobs might be as much as 2 yards per man hour where plants are fewer

Acute Cut
02-26-2004, 02:19 AM
ok, it's late here and i am haveing a major brain fart. How many dang cubic feet in a yard?

And, as a one or two man operation would:
help at all? Im trying to figure out a feasiability chart. Well, in honesty i am trying to convince my wife we "need" one to work faster and thus cut down on labor. So, with said situation in place the grand answer would be?

02-26-2004, 05:57 AM
no problem....I have a bf at least once a day. There are more "exact" formulas to use for measuring but heres the one I;ve been using for years and it works fine.

for est purposes, 1 yard covers approx 100 sq ft at 3 inches thick.

if you want to put down only 2 inches, that means you are using 33% less which means that same yard then will cover 133 sq ft...at 1 inch, 1 yrd will cover about 166 sq ft..obvioulsy I round off these numbers but it shows the theory

this is a simple way to do it and you dont need to run back to the truck to get a calculator...

of course when you have allot of plants, you just have to guesstimate it. And trust me on this one, if your final estaimate is between 5 and 6 yards or 2 to 3 yards, ALWAYS go with the higher number or at least take the middle of the 2...I have lost allot of manhours over the years by trying to s t r e t c h the amount delivered
Better too have too much than too little

02-27-2004, 11:17 PM
27 cubic feet in 1 cubic yard

Acute Cut
02-28-2004, 01:18 AM
thanks guys. this helped alot. so did some sleep. lol

02-28-2004, 07:56 AM
Garpa is pretty darn close with those numbers. Definately get 3 yards if you have calculated 2.5 yards. We stick to one (1) inch of mulch on established beds that already have existing mulch from last year. New bedding areas/plantings we shoot for 2" for the initial install. If we do a late season install (oct-Dec) we go a little stronger on the mulch for the new plants maybe 3". Even when we go with 3".....we are cautious about burying the stem of the plant/shrub. We love the flat look for the mulch also. Any tricks to getting it smooth as glass?

02-28-2004, 12:31 PM
a metal leaf rake turned upside down...try it

02-28-2004, 12:32 PM
Originally posted by Katwalk
Any tricks to getting it smooth as glass?

Smooth it out as much as you can by hand, then i like to lightly pat it down using a broom rake to get it smooth.

02-28-2004, 08:53 PM
for getting mulch to look smooth on new install, I have built what I call a mulch tamper. It's a piece of expanded metal attatched to a broken handle of a set of post hole diggers. Hard to describe, but easy to build. I will try to get some pics this week and post them. It's a great tool and I'm planning to make a smaller one soon to get between the plants.