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How Much Mulch Do I Need?

When our clients come in to see us, they often ask us, how much mulch do I need for my project? Or, sometimes they’re looking to add decorative rock to a landscape bed or maybe even gravel to a driveway. No matter what the case, there are often questions about how much mulch is really needed.

The answer comes down to measurements.

As much as people would like to get away with an approximate guess, it’s just not worth purchasing the wrong amount of product and having too much—or too little—for your needs. We certainly have clients come in with “guesstimates” and we always advise them that it’s worth getting out there with a tape measurer and making it accurate.

Here are some important things to know as you plan for your next landscape project.

Quantity Matters

First and foremost, you should know that the amount of mulch that you’re putting down matters (just like the quality of the mulch matters, too). A sparse layer of mulch is not going to work well as an insulator or a weed suppressor, which are the two primary jobs of mulch (besides looking great!).

On the flip side, too much mulch isn’t good either. Excessive mulch can absorb moisture and reduce how much ends up reaching plant roots, where it’s needed. When there’s too much mulch, it also fails to decompose—as it should—over time.

Dark Chocolate Brown Bulk MulchMost plant beds need around two inches of mulch for optimal results. A yard of mulch is going to cover 150 square feet at two inches deep.

So, the key is to know how many square feet you have.

To calculate square feet, you must multiply the length (in feet) by the width (in feet) of your project area. We are happy to calculate that for you—and we often do for our clients—but we do need the length and width of your area.

Whether you’re filling a driveway with gravel or you’re mulching a plant bed, it’s essential that you get out there with a tape measure and calculate those numbers. Bring that information in, and we’ll help advise you on how much product you need.

What if It’s Odd-Shaped?

This is another question that we get a lot. People have an irregularly shaped plant bed, such as one with curves, and they don’t know how to form the calculations.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be an exact science—it just has to be close. As you take the measurements, square it off as best as you can. Let us know that you did that—and that your calculation is a little more (or a little less) than what you might really need. We can take that into account as we determine how much product will work for your project.

The “Bag Dilemma”

We also get a lot of questions about the amount of product in a bag—and it’s important to understand that this can vary. For instance, some clients will come in and say something like, “I usually need 9 bags of mulch for my plant bed.”

But the fact is, the amount of product in a bag can vary from one manufacturer to another—or even from one type of mulch to another. For example, in our area, the local gas stations often sell bags of mulch—and you may have noticed those bags are getting cheaper. But did you also notice they’re getting smaller? These details matter and you can’t just go off of how many bags you’ve purchased in the past.

Here to Help!

Whether you’re looking for mulch, decorative stone, or gravel, we are here to help and want to make the process as easy on you as possible.

Of course, we also want to make sure that we’re steering you in the right direction.

While we’re happy to help calculate square foot and advise you on how much product you need (depending upon which product you’re buying), we really do need those height and width measurements in order to get you the most accurate answer possible. This will help get you on your way to the fantastic results that you’re after!

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