How To Calculate Total Mulch/Soil Needed

All of our soil and mulch products are sold in 1/2 cubic yard increments, so whether you need 0.5 or 1000 cubic yards, we can meet your needs. One issue I run into frequently are folks having difficulties determining how much material they need.

What is a cubic yard?

A cubic yard is a volumetric measurement only defined as an area 3 foot in height by 3 foot in width by 3 foot in length (or simply 3’x3”x3’). This measurement is not concerned with weight or vary by material.

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Sample Calculation Soil

If I have a raised bed that measures 5 feet long by 3 feet wide by 21 inches deep:

  1. First multiply length times width (this is also the calculation for square feet):                                                                                                                                                5′ * 3′ = 15′ Square Feet
  2. Next determine cubic feet from inches of depth:                                                                                                                                                                                                     21″/12″ = 1.75′
  3. Multiply the square feet calculated in 1. (15′) by the depth calculated in 2. (1.5′):                                                                                                                                            15′ * 1.75′ = 26.25′ Cubic Feet
  4. This now gives us cubic feet, 22.5 cubic feet to be exact, since all of our calculations have been by the foot.
  5. Lastly we need to convert to cubic yard. This is accomplished by dividing our cubic feet by 27 (as 27 cubic feet are in 1 cubic yard):                                                26.25’/27′ = 0.97 Cubic Yards

Sample Mulch Calculation

If I have a bed that measures 50 feet long by 8 feet wide and I want to install this to 2″

  1. First multiply length times width (this is also the calculation for square feet):                                                                                                                                                50′ * 8′  = 400′ Square Feet
  2. Next determine cubic feet from inches of depth:                                                                                                                                                                                                     02″/12″ = 0.17′
  3. Multiply the square feet calculated in 1. (400′) by the depth calculated in 2. (0.17′):                                                                                                                                      400′ * 0.17′ = 68′ Cubic Feet
  4. This now gives us cubic feet, 68 cubic feet to be exact, since all of our calculations have been by the foot.
  5. Lastly we need to convert to cubic yard. This is accomplished by dividing our cubic feet by 27 (as 27 cubic feet are in 1 cubic yard):                                                68’/24′ = 2.51′ Cubic Yards