How Much Mulch Do I Need?

Mulch is essential for a healthy outdoor space, offering a variety of benefits for plants and trees alike. You can order mulch from a variety of sources, including the Kurtz Bros. website. However, you may be wondering, "How much mulch do I need?" You don't necessarily want to run short and have to reorder; so, it's helpful to be able to gauge the approximate amount you need to take care of certain areas of your outdoor zone. Discover how to estimate the volume of mulch you need for specific purposes and spaces.

Mulch Depth

First, let's talk about mulch depth. If you layer on the mulch too thickly, you will find that your plants actually suffer from it. Too much mulch can keep water from sifting through and reaching the earth, so an overly deep layer will parch your plants. However, if you spread the mulch too thin, it won't do its job of holding in moisture or holding off weeds.

Finely textured mulch can be laid down up to three inches deep. Any thicker than that, and you'll run into problems. In fact, most experts recommend layering the mulch just two inches deep. If you are using coarser types of mulch, with larger chunks, you can go a little thicker, as in up to four inches deep. The chunkier mulch leaves more spaces in between the pieces, allowing better air flow and water flow.

Square Footage of Garden Beds

Now it's time to put those math skills to work. To truly obtain an accurate estimate of how much mulch you need to order, you have to figure out the square footage of the garden beds you are covering. If the bed is round, measure the distance from the center to the edge (that measurement is the radius) and multiply that distance by 3.14. If you have a rectangular or square bed, multiply the width times the length.

If you have a lot of plants in the bed, or a large tree, you can subtract a bit from the square footage. Repeat the measurement process for every bed in your yard that you plan to cover with mulch and write down the square footage of each one. Then add all the square footage numbers together. That's the total surface area you need to cover with mulch.

Results in Cubic Yards

You buy mulch by the cubic yard, so the basic square footage of the plant beds won't give you the number you need to put in an order. However, you can approximate the volume you will require by keeping in mind that a cubic yard of mulch covers about 324 square feet in a layer of one inch. provides a handy form you can use to save some time and calculations at this point; or you can figure out the amount yourself using the above ratio of 1 cubic yard = 324 square feet at a depth of one inch. Remember, the helpful folks at Kurtz Bros. are always available to answer your landscaping questions and offer advice about mulch types, colors, and styles.

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