Mulch install.....please don't trash me

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Jimmy348, May 24, 2003.

  1. Jimmy348

    Jimmy348 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 133

    I needed a few quick answers and figured this is the place. Anyway, customer has approximatelly 200 sq. ft. around their house that they would like mulched.
    Problem is, I have not done this before.
    I would only assume that the area needs to be dug out partially with an edge and then drop in the mulch.
    What will prohibit weed growth, how long will the mulch last and what would be the correct charge for a one-man operation.
  2. Georgiehopper

    Georgiehopper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    Depends on the mulch you use ... if the area is a bed, weed and edge it, then apply your mulch. Don't use more than 2 or 3 inches. Make sure the mulch is aged and not fresh, otherwise your client's plants will suffer from nitrogen tie-up unless you topdress with some fertilizer.

    Double shredded hardwood mulch lasts most of the season, but its color fades. Pine Fine mulch can wash away in rain, but it is good to use around perennials, nugget mulch lasts a very long time since it is chunks of bark and it retains its color a long time. Stone mulch is probably the lonest lasting of all.

    Weed control: Apply a pre-emergent to the mulch and water it in. This should cut down greatly on any weed seeds germinating for about 6 weeks or so. I never use landscape fabric, unless I'm laying stone mulch..and then that is only to keep the soil from infiltrating the stone.

    What you charge is up to you. Your cost for mulch plus some mark up on it, then your labor.
  3. Mike Bradbury

    Mike Bradbury LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 492

    1 yd of mulch covers 100 sq ' (108 actually) at 2 or 3". So you need 2 yards which should take about an hour or so to distribute, not counting prep time. I would spray with roundup any existing vegitation the day before so it soaks in before burying them.
    I charge $50 yd spread. Extra for prep. Mulch is $18 a yard here so $64 for your hours work (not counting getting the mulch there).
  4. Green in Idaho

    Green in Idaho LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Messages: 833

    I agree with the above.

    One of the biggest mistake landscape companies (and homeowners) do is install fabric! Those that do it probably don't do maintenance.

    Also let customer know for future weed control "casoron" works great around woody stem plants as post emergent and preventative. Granual for easy application and fairly inexpensive.

    As your first, be sure to keep track of your time and segment it:
    Time to prep
    Time for delivery
    Time for appling mulch
    Time for clean-up

    And then calculate your cost-drivers
    Time to prep per 100' ($/foot)
    Time per yard of mulch ($/yard)

    Then next mulch job you are offered you be able to give some good bid numbers.

  5. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    Remember that Round-UP is a non-selective herbicide that will kill shrubs, flowers and weeds---whatever it hits. In some states you must be licensed to apply it.

    I agree that fabric under a wood mulch becomes a headache. Using a pre-emergent herbicide is the easiest solution. Again, licensing to apply such products is usually legally required.
  6. Jimmy348

    Jimmy348 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 133

    Thanks for the info
  7. AztlanLC

    AztlanLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,051

    Down here mulch is about 30 per yard plus deliver, I get it for 15 because I buy by the bulk, a yard usually takes an hour to spread one guy, so you're looking at two hours, Fabric work good for about a year only, after that mulch decompost and weeds star to grow on top of the fabric it also takes a lot of time if you have existing shrubs in the beds, preemerge herbicedes works good too some can go almost for about a year without weeds, the best thing is to reaply mulch every year if posible or at least every other year, that helps to keep weeds at a minimum, on a new bed I usually put 3" and then about 1" or 1 1/2" every year.

    Like somebody mentioned before 1 yard would cover about 100 sqf at 3", for your job I would charge about 60 per yard including deliver, take into account that my mulch is at my shop, so I don't have to drive very far to get it, if you have a trailer it would be easy to fit 2 yard, you can get it in bags too and would be a little easier for one guy, there's 27 cubit feet in a yard so you need 9 3 cubit feet bags for each yard.

    I would charge by the hour on cleaning up the beds, because is really hard to know the exact time, choose a day when the soil is moist or wet, you'll be able to pull out weeds more easily.

    Please don't apply any round up or other herbicides if you have never used'em before or don't have a license for it.

Share This Page