How Many Bags of Mulch Are in a Yard?

Mulch is comprised of decomposed organic materials, which are used to cover crops and vegetation from the elements. If you have a backyard garden, you’ll probably find yourself knee-deep in mulch in no time. So, if you purchase mulch by the bag, how many of them would you need to cover a cubic yard?

A single bag of mulch typically contains 2 cubic feet. A cubic yard, or a yard in gardening terms, is 27 cubic feet, which means that you would need 13.5 mulch bags per yard.

In this guide, I’ll help you calculate how much mulch you would need to purchase to protect your backyard garden from the elements, as well as compare bagged mulch against self-made mulch and purchasing mulch by the truckload.

How Many Bags of Mulch Do I Need?

Mulch is sold in various bag sizes, but the most commonly used size is 2 cubic feet. This means that you would need 13.5 of your go-to bagged mulch to cover a whole yard.

However, how much mulch do you actually need? It depends on the size of your garden and how thick you plan on laying the mulch. In addition, you should know what type of mulch you’re working with. Coarse mulch can be laid thicker (3 to 4 inches) since it won’t suffocate your plants as easily as fine mulch, which should be limited to a thickness of 1 to 2 inches.

So, assuming you have a 1-acre (43,560-square-foot) garden, your exact mulch needs are as follows:

 Mulch Thickness 1 in. 2 in. 3 in. 4 in. Mulch Volume (cu. ft.) 3,630 7,260 10,890 14,520 Required Mulch Bags per 2 cu. ft. 1,815 3,630 5,445 7,260 Required Mulch in Yards 134.4 268.9 403.3 537.8

Should I Buy Mulch in Bulk or in Bags?

The answer to this question depends on your exact needs. As you can see from the demonstration above, you will need more than 1,000 bags of mulch to cover an acre. If you purchased Rubberific Rubber Mulch, which is sold in 2-cubic-foot bags, at retail, you will end up spending a small fortune.

You can cut costs exponentially by purchasing mulch in bulk. On average, bulk delivery of mulch will run you up to \$65 per yard. The table below will compare the cost of mulch by purchasing it bagged (assuming each 2-cubic-foot bag costs \$40) or having it delivered by the yard to your 1-acre crop field.

 Mulch Thickness 1 in. 2 in. 3 in. 4 in. Required Mulch Bags per 2 cu. ft. 1,815 3,630 5,445 7,260 Cost of Bagged Mulch \$72,600 \$145,200 \$217,800 \$290,400 Required Mulch in Yards 134.4 268.9 403.3 537.8 Cost of Mulch by the Yard \$8,736 \$17,478.5 \$26,214.5 \$34,957 Cost Difference \$63,864 \$127,721.5 \$191,585.5 \$255,443

Of course, the calculations above are based on the assumption that you grow your crops at a commercial level. If you have a 50-square-foot garden, your mulch could be cheaper, depending on how thick you lay it.

Now, if you were to purchase a yard of mulch from a supplier, such as DD Mulch, then you would have to purchase at least 3 cubic yards to have it delivered to your garden.

 Mulch Thickness 1 in. 2 in. 3 in. 4 in. Mulch Volume (cu. ft.) 4.17 8.33 12.5 16.67 Required Mulch Bags per 2 cu. ft. 2.08 4.17 6.25 8.33 Cost of Bagged Mulch \$120* \$200* \$280* \$360 Required Mulch in Yards 0.46 0.93 1.36 1.85 Cost of Mulch by the Yard \$195** \$195** \$195** \$195** Cost Difference \$75 \$5 (\$85) (\$165)

*Rounded up to the nearest whole bag count

**Minimum purchase for mulch delivery

Is Making My Own Mulch Cheaper than Bagged or Delivery?

Yes, it is. Mulch is basically a mix of dead branches, leaves, grass clippings, bark, pine needles, and shredded paper. As long as you have these materials on hand, you should be able to produce your own mulch. Unlike compost, which takes months to break down into nutrients, mulch can be used almost instantly.

To make your own mulch, you might need to get a wood chipper, such as the Patriot Products CSV-2515, to turn large branches into tiny chips. As for the other organic materials, you can shred them with your bare hands or even pulverize them in a blender.

How Long Does Mulch Last?

The good news is that mulch has a practical lifespan of up to 7 years. So, even if you purchase a yard of mulch and leave it sitting somewhere in your garden, you can always go back to it during the following winter season to protect your plants from extreme temperature drops.

BaronCooke

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 measuringknowhow.com