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How Much Mulch, Topsoil or Compost do I need?

Mulch and Topsoil Estimating


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If you’re trying to figure out how much mulch or topsoil to order you don’t need to guess. Here are some formulas and numbers to help you determine what you need. When you are ready to order go here



Mulch is typically sold by the cubic yard. To figure out how much mulch you need, first determine the area of the beds to be mulched. You may need to subtract a percentage to account for plant coverage.


One cubic yard of mulch will cover:

·         324 square feet at a 1-inch depth

·         162 square feet at a 2-inch depth

·         108 square feet at a 3-inch depth

·         81 square feet at a 4-inch depth



·         Six wheelbarrow loads of mulch is usually close to one cubic yard

·         Most bagged mulch is sold in 3 cubic feet bags. Nine bags equal one cubic yard.




The formula used for topsoil coverage is the same as the mulch formula. Topsoil is considerably heavier than mulch, which is something to consider during planning. Another thing to remember: mulch can be spread easily when it is wet, while topsoil is nearly impossible to work with when it is wet.




Here are some formulas that might be helpful in determining the areas of you garden beds.

·         Area of a square/rectangle/parallelogram = Length x Width

·         Area of a triangle = Base x Height x 0.5

·         Area of a circle = Square of diameter x 0.7854 (or square of radius x 3.14)

 Order your mulch/compost/topsoil Here

Sources: Compiled from experience and information from the Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturist Reference Guide. For more information visit us on the web at