Landscape Mulch Calculator – How Much Mulch Do I Need? (Bags & Bulk!)

Mulch is any material organic or non-organic which can be used as a form of ground covering during landscaping. Mulch can be placed on top of soil surface or around plants.

Skip to the mulch calculator tool!

Besides controlling weed growth, mulching helps to conserve soil moisture and ensures that your landscaped area has a neat and uniform look. Based on individual preferences, a wide range of materials can be employed for mulching, but the most commonly used materials include:

  • Pine needles
  • Hay
  • Shredded rubber
  • Straw
  • Stone
  • Wood chips
  • Crushed seashells
  • Cocoa hulls

After deciding the type of material to be used, your next key step is determining how much of the material is needed for a satisfactory spread. This can be done by taking measurements of the area to be covered and then making use of a mulch calculator to ensure adequate amounts of mulch are ordered.

We will now consider how to calculate mulch needs for your beds.

How to Calculate How Much Mulch I Need

landscape calculator for mulch coverage

The first step to calculate the mulch needed is figuring out the how many square feet the potential bed covers.

Simply multiply the length by the width if the bed is rectangular or square, or for a round bed, multiply the square of the radius (distance from the center of the bed to its edge in a straight line) by 3.14.

Next, the area in square feet should be multiplied by the desired depth in inches of mulch material to be utilized. To calculate mulch in yards, it is essential to note that one cubic yard of material will cover an area of 324 square feet at a depth of an inch.

To determine the total amount of mulch needed, the formula is: Square footage x desired depth (in inches)/ 324. A landscape mulch calculator like the one above can help with your calculations.

For example, to achieve mulch coverage for a bed with an area of 300 square feet at a depth of two inches:

300 x 2 / 324 = 1.85 cubic yards.

The value obtained after calculation should be rounded up to the nearest whole number. Imputing your measurements into a mulch estimate tool, will automatically generate the required value in cubic yards.

How Deep Should the Mulch Be?

The depth of mulch to be laid down is largely dependent on the type of material being used. Additionally, deciding how deep the planned mulching should be is important for knowing how to calculate how much mulch per square foot is needed.

Generally, a layer of mulch between two to four inches deep is acceptable. For more fine-textured materials like pine needles and shredded wood, a mulch layer two inches deep is satisfactory. For these fine materials, the depth shouldn’t exceed three inches.

Coarser mulch made up of stones and wood chips can be laid up to a depth of four inches and in some cases as much as six inches of these mulch types can be applied. The reason for this difference is to ensure proper aeration of the soil beneath the mulch layer.

How Much Space Can a Yard of Mulch Cover?

Trying to figure out the amount of square footage a yard of mulch will cover might seem to be a daunting task initially but using a bulk mulch calculator will eliminate any worries about over or under purchasing the needed material.

After taking measurements of the target area, simply input the figures into the mulch calculator in cubic yards to obtain an accurate idea of how much mulch to order. In this regard, the landscape mulch calculator attached to this site will come in very handy.

To illustrate further, one cubic yard will cover approximately:

1296 sq. ft. 1/4” deep

648 sq. ft. 1/2” deep

342 sq. ft. 1” deep

162 sq. ft. 2” deep

108 sq. ft. 3” deep

81 sq. ft. 4” deep

How Much Space Can a Bag of Mulch Cover?

how to calculate how much mulch I need
Depending on availability, items used in mulching are usually packaged either as 2 cubic feet or 3 cubic feet bags. This determines how much mulch is in a bag. Further, the area that the bagged material covers differs according to the bag type ordered and the required mulch depth.

2 Cubic Feet Bag

A 2 cubic feet bag of mulch will cover:

24 sq. ft. 1” deep

12 sq. ft. 2” deep

8 sq. ft. 3” deep

6 sq. ft. 4” deep

3 Cubic Feet Bag

A 3 cubic feet bag of mulch will cover:

36 sq. ft. 1” deep

18 sq. ft. 2” deep

12 sq. ft. 3” deep

9 sq. ft. 4” deep


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