Calculating Coverage Per Yard

Calculating how much mulch, topsoil, or gravel you need has never been easier.

A yard is a sanctuary for grass to grow, flowers to flourish and an area where landscaping can enhance the appearance of one’s property.  It is around your house…wait not that kind of yard! A “yard” is a unit of measure. 3 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet is one cubic yard. Imagine constructing a wooden box that was 3x3x3. Filling that wooden box  to the top would be one yard.

It is a universal unit of measure. It measures volume. Unlike a ton which measures weight. A yard of mulch weighs anywhere from 600-800 pounds (depending on moisture level). While a yard of stone weighs around 2,500 pounds (A ton and a quarter). Our Topsoil/Compost blend has a weight of around 1,800 pounds per yard because compost is much lighter than soil. A normal yard of soil would be in the 2,200-2,400 pound range.

Now that you know some weights you still have the most asked question when ordering material…

How Much Does A Yard Cover?

A cubic yard of material can be spread to cover 100 square feet (10×10 foot area) at 3 inches of depth. It’s a very helpful ratio because when spreading mulch, a depth of 3 inches is considered ideal. Knowing this let’s you become your own “mulch calculator.”

An Uncommon Scenario You May Have

Let’s pretend you are going to mulch around your house in three separate planting beds.

The front of the house has a porch and needs  mulch on both sides of it. The left side is 4 feet by about 20 feet (you walked and approximated because someone misplaced the tape measure again). So that one area will account for 80 square feet.

The other side of the porch is 4 feet by 10 feet. That is another 40 square feet.

Finally you meander out to your planting beds in the backyard, noticing the grass is tickling your calves and wondering why on earth the landscaper let it get this long.

The first planting bed has a weird shape because it was supposed to be “natural looking.” It starts out about 2 feet wide and gradually becomes around 8 feet wide, with a length of 5 full strides (around 15 feet). It resembles a weird oval. You can approximate because you are  mulching multiple areas, and if you tried to measure every single foot (even if you found your tape measure) you still wouldn’t have the time because  the kids must be picked up from soccer practice shortly.

So you determine that this area is between 2 and 8 feet wide, with a length of around 15 feet.  Having paid attention in geometry you remember that in order to determine the square footage of an oval, you must multiply length times width. Taking that result of 120,  you can then multiply by .8 for a square footage of 96. Now you realize that this is a skinny oval and round it down to 80 square feet.

Glancing at the other beds you can honestly say they are about the same size as the one we just conquered.

So with a combined 120 square feet in the front yard,  and 3 planting beds of approximately 80 square feet each, we have a whole sum of 360  square feet.

Since it is clear to us that 1 “cubic yard” will cover 100 square feet we can safely say that we need around 3 and 1/2 yards. Knowing that the mulch people we order from charge us a delivery fee (which directly supports their lovely fuel company) an order of 4 yards seems to be on the safe side.

Now you make a mental note to order 4 yards of mulch and head off to the next part of your hectic day. While trudging through the overgrown grass towards the mini van, you fantasize about some good samaritan spreading the mulch for you. This might let you relax on the weekend for a change.

Things To Remember
1 Yard=100 Square Feet Of Coverage
1 Yard=27 cubic feet (3x3x3)

Mulch was used for example purposes only. A yard of any material will cover approximately 100 square feet at 3 inches of depth.

We made the video below for those that would like to get a visual of mulch yardage & coverage.

At Grillo Services we produce and deliver bulk organic compost by the truck load. Those of you that only need a small amount of compost can look to The Little Compost Company; they produce and bag 100% organic compost in quantities from one to fifty pounds. Shipping is done all over the country. Be sure to check them out if you want quality compost, and need just a little bit.

Looking for ways to keep ticks out of your yard? This post from Landscaper Locator can help.


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