View Full Version : How To Determine How Much Mulch Is Needed

1MajorTom

05-29-2004, 03:09 AM

This question seems to be a popular one in this forum.

A lot of people want to know how to figure out the correct amount of mulch for their landscaping project. So D Felix came up with a good idea to have the formula stuck to the top of this forum.

Here it is:

To determine how much mulch is needed, you take:

Total square feet x depth desired (in feet) / 27 = cubic yards needed

Figure out your square footage.

Take square footage time depth desired (in feet, i.e. 3" = .25 feet).

That gives volume in cubic feet.

Divide that number by 27 to get cubic yards. There's 27 cubic feet per yard (3'x3'x3'=27 cubic feet).

wonderwoman

05-29-2004, 07:19 PM

thats pretty good try it out tomorrow

tiedeman

05-30-2004, 07:21 PM

thanks Jodi for the information

bobbygedd

05-30-2004, 09:54 PM

duhhhhhh!!!!!! if u can't figure it out, don't do it

Originally posted by bobbygedd

duhhhhhh!!!!!! if u can't figure it out, don't do it

BooBY

Just for you I will make it easier. That way you can do it. :D

1 Yard of Mulch 3" deep will cover 108 sq feet

1 Yard of Mulch 4" deep will cover 81 sq feet

1 Bag 2 cu feet at 3" will cover 8 sq feet

1 Bag 2 cu feet at 4" will cover 6 sq feet

EagleLandscape

06-09-2004, 02:18 PM

1 Bag 3 cu feet at 2" will cover 18 sq feet

1 Bag 3 cu feet at 1" will cover 36 sq feet

EagleLandscape

06-21-2004, 03:51 PM

Here is a table that will do it for ya...

http://www.soilbuildingsystems.com/CubicYard.htm

metric is so much easier :)

D Felix

08-04-2004, 10:34 AM

Not when you are used to the *right* way of doing it.:D

And especially not when your suppliers handle stuff that way too.:D:D

Dan

tx_angler

09-09-2004, 10:59 AM

If you use this formula you don't have to convert the depth from inches to feet:

Length (in Feet) X Width (in Feet) X Depth (in Inches) / 324 = Cubic Yards

Example:

Length=10'

Width=20'

Depth=3"

10x20x3/324=1.8518518518518518518518518518519 cubic yards

or

Using the decimal equilivant of 3 inches (.25 feet):

Length=10'

Width=20'

Depth=.25'

10x20x.25/27=1.8518518518518518518518518518519 cubic yards

BooBY

Just for you I will make it easier. That way you can do it. :D

1 Yard of Mulch 3" deep will cover 108 sq feet

1 Yard of Mulch 4" deep will cover 81 sq feet

1 Bag 2 cu feet at 3" will cover 8 sq feet

1 Bag 2 cu feet at 4" will cover 6 sq feet

tx_angler

No real need to make rocket science out of a simple thing. Remember this is for estimating only. The fact of the matter is you can not put down mulch at a perfect 3 or 4 inches over a large area. I always add in more mulch just to be sure we have enough.

Critical Care

09-18-2004, 12:32 PM

The calculations aren’t rocket science, but some people prefer not to do the math and so they use cheat sheets. Cubic area adds depth and is three-dimensional; square footage is two-dimensional without depth. Some people have a tough time visualizing this, and when you throw in cubic yards instead of feet, that throws in another curve.

For those of you who fret over this, give the calcs a try because the more you do it the more clear and second nature things will become.

Wolfie's L&L

10-18-2004, 10:54 PM

YES! Finally a site I can go to to figure out how mulch I am going to need! Its like a godsend for my non-mathmatically inclined self. :rolleyes:

Jason

jimmyq

10-18-2004, 11:29 PM

I made up a formula'd spreadsheet on exel. feel free to download and use it. it is protected so the only values you can adjust (unles you unprotect it) are the blanks for length, width and depth.

had to zip it to attach, let me know if it doesnt work, I can email it if anyone really wants it that bad.

Ray@LebanonTurf

12-16-2004, 09:57 PM

RIP Warren

shaughnessylawn

01-09-2005, 02:17 PM

u can cover 80 sgf. @ 4inchs thick 160sgf @ 2inchs thick so on so on all u have to do is fing the sgure feet

Hodge

03-03-2005, 08:46 PM

Or from the same site:

"http://www.soilbuildingsystems.com/BaggedMaterial.php"

old dog

03-05-2005, 12:55 PM

Add 10% until you get good at it.Coming up short is always more costly than having payup a

bit left over .Use it at your house or give it to a helper.Or stockpile a little for later

AdamCByrd

05-08-2005, 09:54 AM

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Here are a few more things to consider when ordering mulch:

When you calculate cubic yards for a landscaped area, remember that the mulch you spread may be a little more fluffed up than it was when it was buried in a 17 yard tractor truck trailor. When they load up an 18 wheeler trailor with mulch, it compresses a lot, so what they may call 20 yards ends up more like 25 yards by the time you spread it all out. I've learned this from experience. It depends on what kind of mulch you're using too. Bottom line, if you're ordering mulch by the dump-truck load, you may want to cut your estimate just a little bit to make sure you don't order too much.

Pine straw: for pine straw mulch, I use the bales that are about 5'x2'x2'/ I'm not sure what the exact measurements are, but they're exactly the same as an old square bale of hay. I've found that one bale covers about 50 square feet if it's a brand new mulch job, and about 80 square feet if it's a re-mulch over existing pine straw.

Ground covered areas: When you are calculating square footage of a bed, keep in mind how much mulch you can put around particular plants. For example, if you calculate a bed being 300 square feet, but most of it is juniper or jasmine or monkey grass, then you can't put much mulch in there, so maybe multiply your square footage by maybe .5 or something. It's a huge guessing game, but it helps me keep from over estimating.

I hope some of this information helps.

Adam

Mscotrid

05-13-2005, 04:42 PM

Generally when determining the amount, i put mulch thought into the equation.

M

I know my attempt at humor sucks....

pines

05-13-2005, 09:00 PM

duhhhhhh!!!!!! if u can't figure it out, don't do it

The guy is trying to help. Why do you have to be such a dhead!!! It seems to come so naturally to you, perhaps you do not know any other way to treat people.

cedarcroft

07-21-2005, 07:01 PM

iwas taught this formula:

LxWx(.08 per inch of depth)/27 = yards needed

i guess its the same.

gorknoids

08-10-2005, 01:19 AM

-13 mulchforkfuls will fill an 8 cubic foot wheelbarrow, 4 of which constitute roughly one yard.

-An 8' pickup will accomodate 2 cy of mulch (Don't try this with pea gravel!)

-All of the mathematical calculations related to mulch coverage fail to take into account planting density (The percentage of a given area which cannot be mulched because there are plants in the way).

-If the surface of the beds is rough and irregular, you can wind up 10% short of mulch even on small jobs (6-10 cy)

-Slipping the kid driving the front-end loader $5.00 makes sure that you're NEVER short!

scagwildcat

08-10-2005, 05:14 PM

usually mulch is aplied at 3 inches thick,

the easy way the find out how much mulch you would need, measure LxW and that will give you the sq. ft. as for the amount of mulch needed one yd of mulch applied at 3 inches thick will cover 108sq ft ...

sheshovel

09-05-2005, 07:23 AM

It's LxWxD divided by 27sq'=yds needed,

If your spreading it 3"then x by 3 ...if 2"then x by 2....ect,you don't minus the crown habit foliage of the plantings just say 4" to 6" circumfrence per plant.It's easy to remember minus 2' for every 4 plants.So if you have an 10x8bed and your spreading it 3" thick and there are 12 plants in the bed it would go like this 10x8x3=240 sq' -6'=234sq' divided by 27=8.66yds ...

and you order 9 yards anyway!

Rufscape

09-14-2005, 10:00 PM

Generally I don't use all that equation stuff. I have learned to eye ball it perfectly. Landscaping is natural and not a perfect sience so enjoy it and you will make plenty of money..... :blob3: :blob3:

Critical Care

09-14-2005, 11:40 PM

I think that guesswork can get some people into trouble, and not only that, but in some cases you will be called upon to show your estimates. At least in this state, to pass the landscape contractors exam you need to be able to look at a landscape design and figure out how much mulch and gravel to put down in various areas. Guessing won't work, and I'd think that the larger the job, the tougher it would be to guess exactly right.

dccarling

12-19-2005, 10:00 PM

Thank You jimmyq

CutApproved

01-06-2006, 04:24 PM

I'm not sure if anyone else has posted, but I have a little change to this formula.

Length x Width x Depth(in inches) divide by 10 divide then divide that number by 27 ,, this give you a 20% compaction cushion

M RASCOE&SONS

01-06-2006, 08:57 PM

this will help you all in converting too cubic yds to yards and then to tons for each material listed...

M RASCOE&SONS

01-06-2006, 09:17 PM

this will help you all in converting too cubic yds to yards and then to tons for each material listed...

here is the template to use to figure out how much material you need for a job.

Critical Care

01-06-2006, 10:15 PM

Sheshovel, I just noticed that in your example you didn’t convert your mulch depth over (one way or another) to feet, rather than inches. Your 9 yards of mulch would be way too much for an area of 10’ x 8’ (80 s.f.).

Instead of multiplying feet by inches 10’ x 8’ x3” lets go with common units, therefore 10’ x 8’ x .25’ or 20 cubic feet. Now convert the 20 cubic feet to cubic yards by dividing by 27 (20 / 27 = .74 cubic yards). So, one yard will do for this small area.

sheshovel

01-08-2006, 03:03 PM

OOPS sorry dident catch that my bad.

You know I know how to fiqure out how much mulch I need?I look at the space,don't need to measure anymore,just eyeball it.

chadwhick

01-16-2006, 07:57 AM

So, what if there is already old mulch down? do you rake it a little to freshen it up or clean all the old stuff out or just lay new mulch right over it? and how deep does the mulch need to be?

Critical Care

01-16-2006, 02:48 PM

So, what if there is already old mulch down? do you rake it a little to freshen it up or clean all the old stuff out or just lay new mulch right over it? and how deep does the mulch need to be?

Probably depends upon the situation. I've never removed old mulch, but if the client wanted dark mulch put down where "bleached" or "blonde" bark is, or vice versa, then I'd probably have to - in as much as I'd hate to. You surely would have to figure that into your bid!

If you're trying to cover up different colored mulch, you better plan on spreading it a bit on the thick side... probably at least a few inches of it. You may be able to hide it with a thin layer, but as soon as you try to freshen the new mulch you'll uncover the old.

justinslawncare

01-19-2006, 01:13 AM

no need to take old mulch out unless u have been doing the same landscape for a few years and it is thick(6-7 inches). then just take some out add a little bit of new in with the old let it sit for a day or two then go back and but brand new on top 1.5"-2" thick(total should be about 3-4") just a little tip i found.

fourseasonlawns

02-07-2006, 04:21 AM

all these equations are for the perfect world.

Have you asked for only one cubic yard of mulch, but the tractor has a three cubic yard bucket on it. the driver of the tractor scoops about 1/3 of a bucket full and dumps it on your trailer.

Or, the tractor has a single cubic yard bucket, and one employee fills that bucket to max capacity spilling mulch everywhere, and the next day a different employee uses the same tractor and bucket, but shakes and bounces that bucket, till you only get the bare minimum out of that bucket.

in all three instances you paid for only one cubic yard, but you get three different amounts of mulch.

I guess no one has any kidney shaped beds either, they are all perfect squares or rectangles? What about the circular beds with the tree in the center?

A good landscaper should know and/or have all the formula's necessary to complete a bid or project or test, but also there is some guesswork involved as well, once you land the job and actually have to get out there and do the work.

It sure will eat into that bottom line if you have to go back for one bag or one wheel barrow full of mulch to finish the job.

richallseasons

02-14-2006, 11:14 PM

no you guys are all screwed up , you will need th square root of pie multiply that by 365 days divided by the -ooops that might be my alimony payment , ill get back to you

SpudsM15

02-17-2006, 11:54 AM

all these equations are for the perfect world.

Have you asked for only one cubic yard of mulch, but the tractor has a three cubic yard bucket on it. the driver of the tractor scoops about 1/3 of a bucket full and dumps it on your trailer.

Or, the tractor has a single cubic yard bucket, and one employee fills that bucket to max capacity spilling mulch everywhere, and the next day a different employee uses the same tractor and bucket, but shakes and bounces that bucket, till you only get the bare minimum out of that bucket.

in all three instances you paid for only one cubic yard, but you get three different amounts of mulch.

I guess no one has any kidney shaped beds either, they are all perfect squares or rectangles? What about the circular beds with the tree in the center?

A good landscaper should know and/or have all the formula's necessary to complete a bid or project or test, but also there is some guesswork involved as well, once you land the job and actually have to get out there and do the work.

It sure will eat into that bottom line if you have to go back for one bag or one wheel barrow full of mulch to finish the job.

Yea definately, I figure out the cu.yds with math first to give some guidenance, then I'll finish the bid with a guess as to how much I acutally need...

Splicer

03-25-2006, 10:02 PM

So just how do you figure the area for a circle?

upidstay

04-15-2006, 03:34 PM

Why not just use the mulch calculator that the creators of this site so nicely provided? Top of the page.

Derek9D

04-17-2006, 11:25 PM

for a circle i would guess it would be

3.14 X Radius squared X .25/27= Cubic Yards

so a 10 foot diameter circle would have a radius of 5 feet from center to edge so

3.14 X 5' X 5'=78.5 sq ft

78.5 X .25= 19.625 cubic ft

19.625/ 27= 0.7268 cubic yards

so 3/4 of a yard or just get a yard...or you could just eyeball it:dizzy:

I think thats all right

lsylvain

09-15-2006, 12:45 PM

I usually just guestimate the square feet to get in the ball park and tell the customer I estimate that it will take "X" truck loads and depending on what truck I will be using give them the price per truck load. Plus if you get really specific a yard is a yard, but again does your mulch supplier actually measure out the amout of mulch or do they just say that their scoop is a yard or 2/3 a yard or whatever. (I use truck loads when dealing with clients because they can picture a truck load, but most people can't picture a yard.) I found this method to work much better, you can sit down and figure up exactly how much you need, but can you actually put exactly 3 inches in every mulch bed, no. so then if you end up a little thick and run short you eaither have to spread it thin towards the end or go get more much at your expense. As you do the job you will see how much you are using and be able to make ajustments to how much you are going to use. And of course you pass this information alone to the customer to keep them informed on the bigger jobs. I never had a complaint from anyone. If I used less they were happy because they save a little money and if I used more they were happy because they got what they paid for.

michaelmeyers31

11-29-2006, 06:24 PM

How about pickup truck loads instead of bags?

Critical Care

12-01-2006, 03:23 PM

Regardless of whether you calculate or guess on amounts, how accurately you spread your mulch will make a difference. You can goof up on spreading mulch either way, but you’re more likely to goof up on getting too much or too little if you just guess on what you need… that is unless if you don’t calculate things correctly.

Another reason why you may want to learn these calculations is if you get into landscape construction, rather than just maintenance. Some states require that you to take an exam and to be licensed to do this work, and if your state has an exam like the one here, there could be a number of questions on the test where you have to figure out how much material is needed. They give you a landscape plan and you have to go from there. Guessing won’t work.

Greenguy1

03-23-2007, 07:50 AM

try this easy method.... length X width divided by 81 equals cubic yards at 4" deep need only 2"? it would be half that how hard is that? 30'X60'=1800 div. by 81=22.2 yards @4" depth 2" would be 11.1 yards 3" would be18.5yards it never fails and it can be done in your head cause it doesn't have to be exact just round up or down when it comes to mulch it never has to be exact because of compaction differences.

Wayne's Lawn Service

04-12-2007, 10:06 PM

These are all great. However, be sure to calculate an estimated amount of square footage that is taken up by plant material. Based on square footage alone may have you over estimating your mulch which will over estimate your time to spread and thus raise your price higher than it needs to be.

I am not saying that you don't want to get as much as possible out of the job, get what the market will bear. I am only suggesting to keep in mind that even though you may have 2,000 square feet of beds, maybe only 1200 square feet require mulch due to plant material taken up the rest of the area.

johnnywill08

04-17-2007, 01:36 PM

how the hell do you guys measure irregular shaped areas? or do you just eyeball it and use your experience??? i'm 5yrs in the biz and still over/under shoot all the time.

Critical Care

04-17-2007, 04:00 PM

For estimating an irregular shape, you'll have to average the shape into something that you can calculate or look up, such as the example below. If your irregular shape has somewhat of a square or rectangle shape, try to visualize where the "average" is for the four sides. An irregular circle shape can be averaged into a regular circle as well. It ain't perfect, but better than nothing.

A more precise but longer method would be to take numerous X and Y measurements across the irregular area to get your average sides. Make sense?

Wayne's Lawn Service

04-17-2007, 04:02 PM

how the hell do you guys measure irregular shaped areas? or do you just eyeball it and use your experience??? i'm 5yrs in the biz and still over/under shoot all the time.

Irregular shapes are not as hard as you think. However, depending on the shape, the math is a bit different.

Depending on the size of the area, one way is to take a few measurements going longways and then take the average of that distance as the length. Repeat the same process for the width. Then multiply the average length by the average width to get square feet.

Circles are completed by 3.14 X Radius squared. Radius is equal to 1/2 the distance across the circle. Example: 3.14 X 20 feet X 20 = 1256 square feet.

Triangle = 1/2 base times the height. If the total distance across the base of the triangle is 50 feet (base) by 100 feet tall (height), you would multiply 25 X 100 = 2500 square feet.

Hope this helps.

johnnywill08

04-18-2007, 12:04 AM

Irregular shapes are not as hard as you think. However, depending on the shape, the math is a bit different.

Depending on the size of the area, one way is to take a few measurements going longways and then take the average of that distance as the length. Repeat the same process for the width. Then multiply the average length by the average width to get square feet.

Circles are completed by 3.14 X Radius squared. Radius is equal to 1/2 the distance across the circle. Example: 3.14 X 20 feet X 20 = 1256 square feet.

Triangle = 1/2 base times the height. If the total distance across the base of the triangle is 50 feet (base) by 100 feet tall (height), you would multiply 25 X 100 = 2500 square feet.

Hope this helps.

it IS helpful, and i dont want to sound ungrateful, but i didn't go into landscaping because i was REALLY GOOD at math, know what i mean?

i'm looking for simple, methods that can even just come close, so my customers don't think im screwing em by adding three yards on in the end or by porkin myself by overestimating by 3-4 yds on the bid and losing it cuz im artificially high.

SavageLandscaping

04-25-2007, 09:33 PM

make it easy and just ask the people you get your mulch from give them the dimensions they can figure out right on the computer...much less headaches

Wayne's Lawn Service

04-25-2007, 11:42 PM

it IS helpful, and i dont want to sound ungrateful, but i didn't go into landscaping because i was REALLY GOOD at math, know what i mean?

i'm looking for simple, methods that can even just come close, so my customers don't think im screwing em by adding three yards on in the end or by porkin myself by overestimating by 3-4 yds on the bid and losing it cuz im artificially high.

I don't think these simple formulas will make you a mathematician. However, if you want to be close to accurate on mulch estimates, you might consider remembering them. Mrs. Smith's lawn for example may be an easy guess. But if you are trying to estimate anything of any size, you had better understand these simple methodologies. The lack of knowledge not understanding these simple steps is exactly why the failure rates for the lawn & landscape industry are so high.

Please don't take this as sarcasm, but as a way to help you and your company make more money.

Good luck!

lsylvain

04-26-2007, 12:16 AM

Dang this is an old post. Almost 3 years old. good to see it still being used.

L X W X .33 Divide BY 27= Cubic Feet Needed

The .33 Represents 4" Of Mulch

Critical Care

08-04-2007, 01:41 PM

make it easy and just ask the people you get your mulch from give them the dimensions they can figure out right on the computer...much less headaches

Uh huh, that could be easy, but could also be totally bad for you. You could be trusting some third grade educated nincompoop to tell you how much mulch you need. If you're lucky, maybe you could hook up with someone with a brain, but I certainly wouldn't count on it.

Topsoilman

08-28-2007, 10:44 PM

simple just log onto 1800topsoil there is a topsoil calculator that will also work for mulch. just enter in your dimentions and the thickness you desire and bam its right there.

rockytop00

11-01-2007, 07:23 PM

Ah ha! Very good post indeed... my brother and I always argue about the mulch depth question!

JKEnterprise

11-02-2007, 12:57 PM

Here is another website that has a nice calculator:

http://www.lumberjake.com/calculators.html

fyi, -Gary

alesia

12-17-2007, 09:16 AM

Hey guys when someone wants advice on anything such as material estimating we should not cut them down like DUH or If you don't know how to do it then don't do it! We were all new in this industry at one time. The formula is pretty accurate but there is also variables such as plants shrubs and bushes. I feel pretty confident in eying it and coming up with the amount. But for some the confidence is not quite there yet!

Tom B.

01-11-2008, 02:14 PM

Not to be a jerk or anything, but all of the math discussed seems remedial. I'm by no means a mathematician, but proficiency in basic geometry and algebra are a must when estimating jobs.

steve m

01-29-2008, 06:29 PM

1 yard of mulch will cover 100 sq. ft. at 3 in depth for new beds. 1 yard of mulch will cover 325 sq. ft. beds with old mulch in beds for the most part. being 3 in of mulch at max depth.

SpringHillTnLandscaping

02-12-2008, 01:53 AM

I usually just eye it up according to past experience I can see roughly how much a bag at what ever cubic feet will spreat out to and I always add a few bags incase of mistakes. Always works out for me. nice to see the formula tho.

www.LandscapeNashville.com

bigcountry01

02-21-2008, 12:00 AM

go buy one yard at a time.....then u cant go wrong! HA HA HA!! You will be able to judge just by looking after you have some experience

SpringHillTnLandscaping

02-21-2008, 10:28 AM

with mulch I tend to look at the type of plants and what the client wants and go from there. Black and brown hardwood mulch break down alkaline while pinestraw breaks down acidic. I was told this by the Nashville Tn Ag dept. When using the black and you have hyrdangea or azalea, yews you know acid plants they may yellow and need an acidic fert.

www.Landscapenashville.com

Critical Care

02-22-2008, 09:03 PM

Here is a fairly foolproof Excel program that I put together for calculating the amount of mulch needed for square, rectangular, or circular areas.

There are two compressed versions included within the ZIP file. One is a binary Excel 2007 program and the other is compatible with earlier versions of Excel 97-2003. Have fun...

MarcM

03-06-2008, 11:13 PM

I tend to eyeball it. These calculators will help. Thanks.

SpringHillTnLandscaping

03-07-2008, 12:02 AM

I use a compost and pinestraw mixture to protect plants from winter damage even after there is mulch there if it is a sensitive plant. Is anyone else doing the same thing? Or are you just using the existing mulch to achieve this?

www.LandscapeNashville.com

casey humphrey

04-21-2008, 02:12 PM

hi peeps how is it going? i have a contract for lawn care and i am going to shoot him a estimate on some mulch i know how to convert from feet to yards and to how much $ the mulch is. the property mulch is about 2 years old and it looks like crap my question is how deep should i calculate into my bid since this isn't a new mulch bed this is just an over lay to freshen up the look of the property an inch or 2 inches? what are your thoughts on this thanks

alesia

04-21-2008, 06:07 PM

what? What kind of formula dp you have?

tomflan947

05-24-2008, 01:40 AM

1 Bag 3 cu feet at 2" will cover 18 sq feet

1 Bag 3 cu feet at 1" will cover 36 sq feet

You actually put mulch down at 1 inch?

Critical Care

05-24-2008, 12:41 PM

Why calculate when you can guess? Here is what happened the other day.

I was working in a nice subdivision several miles outside of town when a couple guys with a trailer full of bark pulled up across the street. They ran short, and in front of the client as well - which isn't ever good. This meant having to go back into town for more bark. When you consider the embarrassment, cost of gasoline, lost time, and wages, it certainly makes sense trying to get your estimates as close as possible.

cgll1135

06-04-2008, 09:01 PM

we use 165 square feet 2" depth per yard. Pine straw is 35 square feet per bale. we don't use bags only bulk but if you do 13 1/2 bags equal a yard.:usflag

mULcHmAN.wLs

06-05-2008, 03:57 PM

Just remember.....Measure twice, order your mulch once.....:laugh:

S & J Landscape-Const.

07-19-2008, 11:50 PM

I'm doing a sod job but they are paying for sod and soil what would you charge for labor to lay 21 pallets. I'm lost on this one.

S & J Landscape-Const.

07-19-2008, 11:52 PM

I'm doing a sod job but they are paying for sod and soil what do i charge for labor of laying 21 pallets of sod and spreading soil. I'm lost on this one.

SpringHillTnLandscaping

07-20-2008, 10:33 AM

Anyone know where to get Grade A Cypress mulch in Middle Tennessee Nashville area.

www.landscapenashville.com

TPnTX

12-10-2008, 10:24 AM

I'll take a shot at it explaining it and maybe save a visitor a lot of reading.

To calculate mulch you need to know 2 things.

How big is the area and how deep do you want it.

area = length x width.

dont get hung up on odd shapes. Box it out in sections.

If it's a triangle do lxw and divide it in half. add all those up.

Depth I usually do 3 inches of shredded mulch. I never use bark.

3 inches is a fraction of 1 foot or 3/12.

to multiply using a fraction you have to convert it to a decimal. so 3 divided by twelve is (.25). 4 divided by 12 is (.33)

so now you have your area 65ft x 6ft = 390 sqft.

I'd round that up to 400sgft of area you want to mulch.

If you want 3 inches in that area

400 x .25 (3/12) = 100

thats your cubic feet. Now you want to convert it to yards.

100/27 = 3.7 yards of mulch

round that up to 4 yards.

I pay about 25.00 per yard. I can put that on a 16" trailer with a tarp. or you could have it delivered.

I charge 65.00 per yard.

That how you do it in bulk. I you want to use bags you can still charge the same but it will cost you more for supplies. I hardly ever bag.

If you use bags don't do the last step where you divide by 27.

Just divide by the number of feet listed on the bag. The big bags are 3 feet and the smaller home depot bags are 2 feet.

so 100 / 3 = 33.3 you need 34 big bags.

It really simple but if your new to it,it's easy to forget.

s

Arnolds Lawn & Landscape

01-14-2009, 09:12 AM

1 Yard of any material will cover 100 sqft at 3 inches. 10x10

GCL-1

02-04-2009, 01:36 PM

awesome! Will work for me.

Ducati996

02-04-2009, 02:49 PM

I have a better suggestion for the mathematically challenged....since you all have computers, just type in "soil calculators" in google. From there you have a choice of free on-line calculators. Who has time for math these days?

:weightlifter:

marwin2020

02-20-2009, 08:38 PM

I made up a formula'd spreadsheet on exel. feel free to download and use it. it is protected so the only values you can adjust (unles you unprotect it) are the blanks for length, width and depth.

had to zip it to attach, let me know if it doesnt work, I can email it if anyone really wants it that bad.

Hey, im just geeting started any tips on how to bid? Loc. NY by the way

marwin2020

02-20-2009, 08:40 PM

Hey, im just geeting started any tips on how to bid? Loc. NY by the way

GCL-1

02-23-2009, 07:30 PM

Does anyone add a delivery fee to there invoice or is it built in to your price?

Trader Rick

03-12-2009, 01:16 PM

A very easy way to calculate it is to go to www.gardenplace.com mulch calculator fill in the deminsions and depth wanted, the calculator figures the number of 2 or 3 CY bags or yards for bulk. I keep the address loaded to my BlackJack and away we go. Mulch bids done in a few min.

ktfinch2000

04-02-2009, 09:55 PM

Right on! http://www.gardenplace.com/content/calculator/mulch_calc.html# is the easiest calculator to use.

JAX LANDSCAPING

04-04-2009, 11:10 PM

hey guys the way i use is LXWXthickness = square feet then divide by 27 then divide by 12 and then whatever that equals round it up to the next highest 1/4 yard.

Example 80'LX4'W=320'x3"thick=960 Then divide by 12=80 then divide by 27=2.96 so 3yards you need hope this helps.

Economy Landscaping

04-29-2009, 02:37 PM

thanks for the great information.

you guys rock!

skennedy

10-01-2009, 01:05 PM

So, what if there is already old mulch down? do you rake it a little to freshen it up or clean all the old stuff out or just lay new mulch right over it? and how deep does the mulch need to be?

Plus if you are using colored mulch how to get the color exact?

Perkins2000

10-31-2009, 03:57 AM

length X width X inches deep= cubic feet

total cubic feet/ cubic ft on bag will be how many bags you need.

50 ft length X 15 ft wide X 2 inches thick= 125 cubic feet

125 cu. ft. / 3 cu.ft. bags = 42 bags of 3 cu. ft mulch

glaciator

12-01-2009, 04:45 PM

I make it easy on myself.

1 cu yd. mulch covers 100 sq. ft. (about 3" deep)...enough to cover weed barrier if its used so it won't show anytime soon.

1 ton 1 1/2" river rock covers 100 sq. ft. (that's usually a little shy so I'll add a little when bidding)

Palm Tree Doctor

02-05-2010, 01:23 AM

Always order more than you need...

I can look at a job and tell how much mulch the job needs. I have been Landscaping for 25 years...

glaciator

02-05-2010, 10:30 AM

I can usually get close when estimating by eye. Since the mulch I like to use is sort of pricey, anything more then 3 or 4 cu. yards and I pace off the space. And yes, I always err on the heavy side. Nothing worse than having to go back to the materials yard for a 1/2 cu. yard of mulch!!!

skennedy

02-05-2010, 03:52 PM

The eyes of experience is a gift I hope to have one day. Rolling my wheel around and getting nearly the same number as the guy who rolls up and eye's it is getting annoying.

GrassIsGreenerLawnCare

03-02-2010, 04:47 PM

The guy is trying to help. Why do you have to be such a dhead!!! It seems to come so naturally to you, perhaps you do not know any other way to treat people.

i agree, people like that suck....they think they're so much better than everyone. in reality hes probably a guy with LBMS little big man syndrome

Ryan84

03-18-2010, 04:06 PM

It's important to know it is different if you are starting a new garden vs. remulching an existing garden.

If you are starting a new garden, you will want to add amendments to the entire area of the garden. Use the actual square footage for your calculations below.

If you are mulching or amending an existing garden approximate the percentage of the garden that is not occupied by plants. (Ex. 1/8, 1/4 or whatever) Multiply the actual square footage by the percentage not occupied by plants. The resulting square footage is the number you will use for your calculations below.

Coverage Depth Sq. Ft. / Cu. Yard

1...................... 320

2.......................160

3.......................110

4.......................80

KingOfCupCar20

04-21-2010, 05:40 PM

To estimate the required cubic yardage required

for mulch or compost, measure (in feet) the

length and width of the areas to be covered.

Multiply the length x width to get your square

footage. Add up square footage for all areas and

use the following formula:

For a thickness of:

1/2" - divide the square footage by 660 = total yards

1" - divide the square footage by 325 = total yards

2" - divide the square footage by 162 = total yards

3" - divide the square footage by 108 = total yards

4" - divide the square footage by 81 = total yards

5" - divide the square footage by 65 = total yards

6" - divide the square footage by 54 = total yards

bryan.thompson50

10-08-2010, 06:13 AM

We usually just apply anywhere between 2-3 inches of mulch.

Plus you never want to over mulch or mulch to close to trees or roots because the tree roots will start to grow upwards towards the ground.

Just a thought. :) Good luck

NarNar

10-19-2010, 12:13 AM

duhhhhhh!!!!!! If u can't figure it out, don't do it

exactly....

Corwin

04-01-2011, 05:13 PM

I have read this entire thread and have heard nothing about markup. I know if i sign up a contractor account at my local distributer I get a 4 to 5 dollar discout from the homeowner price. Where does that leave a fair markup price?

Wayne's Lawn Service

04-19-2011, 10:17 AM

I have read this entire thread and have heard nothing about markup. I know if i sign up a contractor account at my local distributer I get a 4 to 5 dollar discout from the homeowner price. Where does that leave a fair markup price?

Nice point! Profit is not a dirty word. But to know profit, one must first determine their break-even point. And that's where most get confused or go wrong. Nothing in place to calculate selling price other than that's what everyone else is charging, I'm small I can do it cheaper, or that's what I think the market or my client will pay.

Know why you charge what you you charge! We make it SIMPLE!

lakertaker2003

05-25-2011, 12:48 AM

Holy crap! Here in Michigan we have dealers who give us booklets & have service people capable of giving us a mulch amounts needed for a job. Its 1 yd @ 2" covers 212 sq ft. Geesus! Its not that hard to figure out! Take the measurements with a tape measure and multiply them together. Thats it. Very simple. 2 inches is all that should be needed! It would be advised to remove the old mulch first, but isnt always necessary.

longoslandscaping

10-28-2011, 07:54 PM

To determine how mulch is needed just multiply how many feet you need to cover plus the price per sq ft. It also depends if you want to pile the mulch high.

Thank you

Longos Landscaping (http://www.longislandlandscapingcompany.com)

CozyHollow

02-21-2012, 04:31 PM

If you use this formula you don't have to convert the depth from inches to feet:

Length (in Feet) X Width (in Feet) X Depth (in Inches) / 324 = Cubic Yards

Example:

Length=10'

Width=20'

Depth=3"

10x20x3/324=1.8518518518518518518518518518519 cubic yards

or

Using the decimal equilivant of 3 inches (.25 feet):

Length=10'

Width=20'

Depth=.25'

10x20x.25/27=1.8518518518518518518518518518519 cubic yards

Hey, I ain't saying I'm stupid and this comment ain't sayin' I'm dumb either :hammerhead:...but from what I gather in the above quote: 2 yards.

I'm stickin' with this formula.

I was also told to charge customer $125.00 per yard. Any thoughts?:waving:

tomsyardcare

04-15-2012, 08:30 PM

duhhhhhh!!!!!! if u can't figure it out, don't do it Duhhh??? Is that all u got? Wow the guy is asking for help here on a help forumn and you say duhhhhh? Wow must be that southern hospitality!

tomsyardcare

04-15-2012, 08:34 PM

Hey, I ain't saying I'm stupid and this comment ain't sayin' I'm dumb either :hammerhead:...but from what I gather in the above quote: 2 yards.

I'm stickin' with this formula.

I was also told to charge customer $125.00 per yard. Any thoughts?:waving:

I charge by the hr. because sometime you have to wheel the mulch a long ways to get to the beds. Also if there is edging and weeding involved. That will add time and even more time if the job is done later in season say like June. All those weeds have had a chance to sprout up, as opposed to mulching in April before the weeds arrive. I usually add %0 to the job and hit the beds w/ Preen

or I use Lesco's version. It is a pre emergent weed control granule. It helps good luck!

growlandscapes

05-18-2012, 02:00 AM

1 Yard of Mulch 3" deep will cover 108 sq feet

1 Bag 3 cu feet at 1" will cover 36 sq feet

try it once it is useful

CozyHollow

05-18-2012, 07:26 PM

A few mulch jobs under my belt and I stick to $60.00 - $65.00 a yard. Sells real good in these parts!

CozyHollow

05-18-2012, 07:35 PM

I charge by the hr. because sometime you have to wheel the mulch a long ways to get to the beds. Also if there is edging and weeding involved. That will add time and even more time if the job is done later in season say like June. All those weeds have had a chance to sprout up, as opposed to mulching in April before the weeds arrive. I usually add %0 to the job and hit the beds w/ Preen

or I use Lesco's version. It is a pre emergent weed control granule. It helps good luck!

I charge by the yard (as above) and then add my hourly if there's edge defining and weeding.

Just sold another job. 2 yards with a bunch of weeding for $300. (for Sat. the 26th) No edge defining. It'll take about 4 hours to completely weed and the mulch time is already included in the $65 per yard (roughly 1 and 1/2 hours). So after all's said and done I'll pocket $240.00. I usually try and hit the $45.00 hourly rate and sometimes try and squeeze in $55.00. So far it's been paying off REAL well!

What is your hourly rate if you don't mind me askin???

SpringHillTnLandscaping

07-23-2012, 12:12 AM

How do you figure Pine Straw when it comes in bails?

http://www.nashvillemulch.com (http://www.nashvillemulch.com)

Kleen Kutz

03-09-2013, 12:53 AM

This question seems to be a popular one in this forum.

A lot of people want to know how to figure out the correct amount of mulch for their landscaping project. So D Felix came up with a good idea to have the formula stuck to the top of this forum.

Here it is:

To determine how much mulch is needed, you take:

Total square feet x depth desired (in feet) / 27 = cubic yards needed

Figure out your square footage.

Take square footage time depth desired (in feet, i.e. 3" = .25 feet).

That gives volume in cubic feet.

Divide that number by 27 to get cubic yards. There's 27 cubic feet per yard (3'x3'x3'=27 cubic feet).

Ok, do soil works out the same way also? Or what if your using 60 3 cubic bag of mulch. How much soil do you needed at 2" dept.

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