How Big is a Cubic Yard?

How big is a cubic yard

A yard is just 3 feet or 36 inches. However, a cubic yard is the same as 27 cubic feet or 46,656 cubic inches. Doesn’t sound very small anymore, does it?

But how do you visualize what a cubic yard looks like? Simple—memorize the volumes of the following 9 objects. I’ll explain the volumes of everyday objects to give you a good idea of just how large a cubic yard truly is.

5 Large Wheelbarrows

5 Large Wheelbarrows

A wheelbarrow is an invaluable tool for gardening and construction. It can transport large quantities of materials or supplies in a single trip, so you won’t throw your back out moving them in buckets or by hand. On average, a wheelbarrow will hold between 2 and 6 cubic feet of stuff at a time.

If you had 5 large wheelbarrows, they would hold onto a collective volume of 1 cubic yard, give or take a few cubic feet. However, if you have a 10-cubic-foot beast, such as the Big-4 Wheeler, 3 of them would hold onto slightly more than a cubic yard.

1.5 Tons of Sand

1.5 Tons of Sand

Purchasing sand by the truckload is must more cost-efficient than purchasing sand in smaller quantities. However, a dump truck will usually dump 450 cubic feet of sand in one trip, which is much more than we need to measure 1 cubic yard.

Luckily, wheelbarrows can help us determine how much sand by weight is needed to get to 1 cubic foot. Since 1 ton of sand is the same as 20 cubic feet, that means a cubic yard of sand would be around 1.5 tons of sand or 10 trips with a small wheelbarrow.

13.5 Mulch Bags

13.5 Mulch Bags

While mulch and compost are oftentimes used interchangeably, there’s a huge difference that we should address. Compost, which is made up of decomposed organic matter, is used to feed nutrients to soil, whereas mulch is used to cover the surface of your garden bed to protect your plants from harsh elements.

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You can purchase mulch in 2-cubic-foot bags, in which case you would need 13.5 of them to add up to a cubic yard. However, you can save tons of money by purchasing mulch by the yard.

4 Water Tanks

4 Water Tanks

As its name suggests, a water tank is used to store water. Its main purpose is to serve as a secondary source of water in the event that your water company doesn’t can’t pump water directly into your home. Water tanks come in a variety of sizes, ranging from 50 gallons all the way up to 5,000-gallon tanks and even larger.

According to Home Depot, a good water tank size for a family of 4 holds up to 56 gallons of water. To get a rough idea of what a cubic yard of water is, you should refill the 56-gallon tank 4 times.

34 50-pound Rice Sacks

34 50 pound Rice Sacks

Rice is a staple food in many countries across the globe. Some cultures will eat rice every day as a main dish, while other places, particularly in the west, will partake sparingly. Large rice bags sold in many Asian supermarkets will weigh 50 pounds and measure around 27 × 14 × 4 inches. In terms of rice sacks, you would need 34 50-pound bags to get a total volume of 1 cubic yard.

19 40-pound Wood Pellets

19 40 pound Wood Pellets

For those thinking of spending a few weeks out in a log cabin during the summer, you should probably take a few bags of pellets with you. You’ll need them as fuel to heat up the cabin and to also cook your fresh meat in a pellet stove.

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Wood pellets are typically sold in 40- or 50-pound bags. The dimensions of a bag of pellets may be around 27 × 18 × 5 inches or 2,430 cubic inches. That 19 bags of wood pellets should take up around a cubic yard of storage space.

4 55-Gallon Drums

4 55 Gallon Drums

55-gallon drums are used for all sorts of things, including preparing a steaming batch of compost and constructing vertical planters. For the most part, these drums are used to hold liquid like rainwater that you can use to water crops.

As its name suggests, a 55-gallon drum can hold up to 55 gallons of liquid when full. Since a gallon is another unit of measuring volume, we can convert it into cubic feet and then cubic yards. 1 cubic foot is the same as 7.48 gallons, so 27 cubic feet (1 cubic yard) would be about 202 gallons or about four 55-gallon drums.

Half a Jacuzzi Tub

Half a Jacuzzi Tub

A jacuzzi is a tub that is usually installed outdoors. It comes with a series of jets that blast high-pressure gushes of water to relax your muscles. The size of a jacuzzi is usually based on how many people it can fit at a time. The most common jacuzzi size will fit 4 people.

To fill a 4-person jacuzzi, you would need around 450 gallons of water. So, if you fill the tub halfway full, the amount of water in the tub should be slightly more than a cubic yard.

6 Large Moving Boxes

6 Large Moving Boxes

For those planning to pack up and move to a new apartment or home, you should pay special attention to the size of the moving boxes you get. Moving boxes come in all sorts of sizes and dimensions, but a large-size moving box from U-Pack will measure 18 × 18 × 24 inches or 7,776 cubic inches.

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So, in terms of large moving boxes, you would need to get exactly 6 of them to pack up a cubic yard of your belongings. According to U-Pack, six large-size moving boxes should be enough to pack up 2 to 3 rooms in your home.


Baron Cooke has been writing and editing for 7 years. He grew up with an aptitude for geometry, statistics, and dimensions. He has a BA in construction management and also has studied civil infrastructure, engineering, and measurements. He is the head writer of

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