How much mulch do you need?
Volume needed
cu yd
How many bags of mulch do you need?
Bag size
cu ft
Bags needed
How much will the mulch weight?
Weight of one bag
Total weight
How much will the mulch cost you?
Price of one bag
Total cost

The home depot mulch calculator makes it easy to answer a fundamental question when it's time for the final touch on your landscaping job - "How much mulch do I need?". Use our mulch estimator to get the answer and save yourself from having to make another trip to the garden center!

If you stay with us longer, we also answer some cardinal questions concerning mulch, like: “What is mulch?”, “How many bags of mulch are in a yard?”, “How much does a bag of mulch weigh?”, and “How much does garden mulch cost?”. We will provide you with mulch definition, talk about the advantages of different mulch colors and discuss various types of mulch. Did you know that mulch (playground mulch to be more specific) can protect not only your plants but also your children? For a more curious reader, we have also prepared examples of many mulch alternatives.

If you are in the middle of building your very own house, you have to check out our concrete slab calculator that will tell you how many bags of cement you really need!

What is mulch? – mulch definition

Mulch is a material that we put on soil to preserve its moisture, prevent the growth of unwanted plants or weeds, and improve the aesthetic value of the covered area. Home depot mulch is usually made of wood chips, but there are many other types of mulch and mulch alternatives. It is much harder for water to evaporate from soil covered with mulch as it prevents the sunlight from reaching the soil surface. However, too thick mulch layer may also make it impossible for rainwater to soak into the ground. Thus, a typical mulch layer should measure around 2 inches.

Mulch retains heat that is lost during cold nights and keeps the plants warm. Overall, mulch improves soil productivity. Gardeners like mulch for its ability to prevent the growth of weeds. Their seeds are left without sunlight after sprouting and their development is stopped. What's more, many people like to use mulch in their gardens to improve landscape look. Mulch is available in many forms and colors suitable for any setting.

If you want to grow some plants in pots, visit our potting soil calculator to see how much potting soil you should buy.

Types of mulch

Many materials are traditionally used as mulch, and there are also lots of mulch alternatives. Here, we present characteristics of different types of mulch:

  • Woodchip mulch – it is created when tree branches or larger stems are chipped. Cedar mulch and cypress mulch are examples of such products. Cedar mulch tends to be a little reddish but can be easily dyed to various other colors. Cypress mulch is found very attractive for its blond color. Woodchip mulch can be made also by processing used packaging pallets. As you may have guessed, this version is much cheaper as well.
  • Wood bark mulch – it is made from tree bark. The advantages of bark mulch are its natural color and look. Bark fragments are very irregular and randomly create interesting shapes and figures. By selecting specific sizes of pieces of bark mulch, you can change the speed of its decay. The smaller chips of bark mulch the faster it will decompose.
  • Straw mulch – it is known for its ability to retain heat. You can use it to protect your plants (for examples vegetables) from cold. Straw mulch is also very cheap and easily exchangeable. As it is available in many colors, you can create some gorgeous compositions with it.
  • Sawdust mulch – probably the most economical choice. Its particles are tiny and delicate, so they may be vulnerable to some weather conditions. Furthermore, an owner of a garden mulched with sawdust mulch, need to add some nitrogen (maintaining correct ratio) to sawdust mulch mixture. Otherwise, it will not decompose or even worse – steal the nitrogen from your plants!
  • Plastic mulch – used mainly in large-scale plants growing. Every plant has its own hole in the plastic cover through which can grow.
  • Rubber mulch – made from recycled tires. It has enormous insulating properties. Soil mulched with rubber mulch will stay warmer for a much longer time. It will also be better moisturized. Rubber mulch is also a perfect choice for children playgrounds. Because of that, it is often called playground mulch. Thanks to its elasticity, playground mulch can absorb more energy and protect your child from getting hurt when it falls on the ground.

If you are still looking for other materials that can be used as mulch, go to mulch alternatives paragraph. You will find your answers there!

Which mulch color to choose? Black mulch, red mulch or maybe brown mulch?

After we have chosen one of the types of mulch, we need to select a color that matches the style of your yard. There are three main mulch color types available:

  • Black mulch – its color lasts very long and looks very nice with green foliage. If your house has grey or white walls, it is also a mulch for you. However, it may not be a good choice for delicate plants in areas with high percentage of high temperature days in a year. Black mulch retains more heat which can lead to overheating of your precious flowers.
  • Brown mulch – it works very well with houses made of red brick. Any plant will appear charming as brown mulch looks very natural. It is so universal, and you cannot go wrong with it. The only downside is that its color loses intensity over time and may require renovation.
  • Red mulch – it looks elegant and exquisite. Because of that, it is used often in public areas and business zones. In a backyard setting, it will go well with light plants and rocks or gravel. Be careful as red mulch may stain your pavement!

How much mulch do I need?

The first step is establishing the volume of mulch needed. It is equal to the volume of desired mulch layer, and you can do it in the following way:

  1. Determine the length and width of a mulch layer. For example, we can assume that its length is l = 6 yd and width is b = 3 yd.
  2. Calculate the area that you want to cover with mulch, multiplying the length by width. In our case, A = 6 * 3 = 18 yd². You can also type the area of the mulch layer directly into the mulch estimator if you want to cover an area of some more sophisticated shape. We've got calculators for areas of many geometric figures like hexagon or pentagon. For even more examples, visit the 2d geometry section of math calculators.
  3. Determine the thickness (depth) of the mulch layer. Let's say it's d = 2 in.
  4. Multiply the area and depth of the mulch layer to obtain its volume: 18 yd² * 2 in (0.056 yd) = 1 yd³ = 27 ft³.
  5. The volume of mulch required is equal to the volume of mulch layer. Our home depot mulch calculator will display this value for you.

If you are also going to buy sand for your garden, try our sand calculator or the paver sand calculator.

How many bags of mulch are in a yard?

Bag sizes vary according to the type of mulch, but the industry standard is two cubic feet. One cubic yard is twenty-seven cubic feet, so fourteen standard bags are needed for each cubic yard.

With our home depot mulch calculator, you can calculate the number of bags that you will need buy for garden works in your yard. Set the volume of mulch bags available in your home depot in the Bag size field. Our mulch estimator will use the already calculated amount of needed mulch and divide it by the volume of one bag. It will then let you know how many bags of mulch you should buy. Now, you know not only how many bags in a yard, but what is even more important, in your yard!

How much does a bag of mulch weigh?

A standard two cubic feet bag of wood mulch weighs around 20 pounds. But watch out! It can even double its weight when soaked with water. If you acquire the weight of one bag of mulch, our mulch calculator will help you get the weight of any number of bags.

To calculate the weight of all bags of mulch, type in the weight of one bag. Mulch calculator will use the calculated number of required bags of mulch and give you the result. Please keep in mind, that you should round the estimated number of bags if it is not a whole number.

For finishing the interiors of your house we have prepared drywall and paint calculators that will help you to cut some costs there!

How much does home depot mulch cost?

Once you determined the weight of the material, you can use our mulch calculator to find out how much you will pay for your purchase. Mulch costs 2$ to around 7$ per bag depending on its quality, density, source material, and aesthetic values. Simply enter the price of one bag of mulch and let the mulch estimator calculate the value for you. Remember to buy some extra material to allow for small modifications of the project.

Check how much tax you will pay with our sales tax calculator!

Mulch estimator - how to calculate garden mulch quantity?

Let’s deal with a real-life situation. Imagine that you have just built your beautiful house. If there is still roof to be done, check our roofing and roof pitch calculators. They will help you finish it quickly and cost-effectively. It would be a shame to buy too much or even worse - not enough materials and have to go back to home depot. How do you imagine it? We find the traditional warm red roof tile roofs very classy.

Now, let’s get to the yard. You would like to surround your house with a grass yard and pavement made of tiles. To calculate the number of tiles you need to buy before getting to work, we recommend you to visit our tile calculator. It will even account for possible tile waste!

On one side of grass yard, you want to dig up your pool, while on the other you would like to plant some bushes, shrubs, and maybe even one or two trees. You have already bought soil and plants. You are also thinking about mulch purchase. It is a great idea! Mulch will not only keep the moisture inside your soil but also prevent the growth of any unwanted weed. Not to mention its aesthetic values. We want to calculate the required quantity and cost of garden mulch. As you can see, we cannot just type into our gravel estimator the width and length of the area that we want to cover with mulch as it has a very irregular shape. How to deal with this problem?


  1. First, we need to divide the area that is to be covered with mulch into four geometric figures: A, B, C, and D.
  2. Now, we have to take the measurements of each sector:
  • Sector A is a rectangle and has the width of 1 yd and the length of 10 yd;
  • Sector B is a right triangle, and its catheti (the two sides creating a 90-degree angle) have the lengths of 5 yd and 6 yd;
  • Sector C, and D are the same circles with a radius of 1.5 yd.
  1. Let’s calculate the area of each sector:
  • Sector A: the area is equal to 1 yd multiplied by 10 yd, which gives 10 yd². To expand your knowledge on rectangles and the most rectangular countries in the world visit the area of rectangle calculator!
  • Sector B: the area of a right triangle is equal to the half of the product of lengths of its catheti. In this case, it is 5 yd multiplied by 6 yd, and divided by 2, which gives 15 yd². To learn more about the right triangle and other interesting triangles visit our right triangle area and triangle area calculators.
  • Sector C, and D: the area of a circle is equal to πr², where r is the radius of the circle. As we have measured, the radius of our circles is the same and has a length of 1.5 yd. When we put it into this equation, we will get around 7.1 yd². We could also use the radius to calculate the circumference of our circle. Visit the circumference calculator to learn how to do it!
  1. Now, we have to sum up these four different areas:

    10 yd² + 15 yd² + 7.1 yd² + 7.1 yd² = 39.2 yd²

    From now on you can use our mulch calculator (see the instruction in how much mulch do I need? paragraph).

  2. It is time to choose the desired thickness (depth) of the mulch level. Let’s make it 1 inch. We need to assure that the mulch layer will be thick enough so that earth underneath it will not be visible. Furthermore, the thicker mulch layer will be, the better it will keep the water inside the soil and the longer it will last. Thick mulch layer will be more resilient to the wind, heavy raining, and even your pets 😉.

  3. You can calculate the required volume of mulch by multiplying the acquired area by the desired thickness of garden mulch level:

    39.2 yd² * 1 inch (0.028 yd) = 1.089 yd³ = 29.4 ft³

  4. Knowing the volume of one bag of mulch, we can calculate how many bags we will have to buy. Maybe it will make it easier for you to imagine how much space the bags will take in your trunk. If your garden is very large, maybe you will end up with a truckload of mulch!
    29.4 ft³ / 2 ft³ = 14.7 bags In this case, it seems that you will have to buy 15 bags and there will be some free mulch to spare. You can return to How many bags of mulch are in a yard? paragraph for more instructions.

  5. The last things to assess are the estimated weight of required mulch and its cost. Knowledge about the weight of the cargo may come in handy when it comes to transportation. It would be nice to know that your truck or trailer will endure the burden of your purchase. Check the weight of one bag of mulch. The information may be written on the bag. If it isn’t, ask the home depot employee to help you. You need to multiply the weight of one bag by the number of bags. You can return to How much does a bag of mulch weigh? paragraph for more details.

  6. And now, last but not least – money. Can you afford such an expense? Maybe you could save some money by reducing the thickness? To know that you need to calculate the total cost. With our home depot mulch calculator, you can do it by multiplying the number of bags by the price of one bag of mulch. You can use our mulch estimator to deal with these calculations. Go back to paragraph How much does home depot mulch cost?

Oh, and if you were wondering whether we can also help you with fulfilling your pool with water, yes, you’re right – we’ve got a calculator for it! There is nothing left to do apart from relaxing in chill water and inviting your friends for a barbecue!

Mulch alternatives

There are many other materials apart from wood chips or bark that can serve the function of mulch. We have discussed various functions of mulch in What is mulch? – mulch definition paragraph. Here, we provide a list of mulch alternatives:

  • Compost – did you know that you can use compost as mulch? It will not only help the soil retain moisture and prevent weed growth but also provide the ground beneath it with essential nutrients. With such a help your plants will grow even faster. The downside of compost mulching is that bag of compost may cost twice the price of traditional home depot mulch bag. But there is a solution! You can produce your own compost from leaves, cut grass, and other organic residues. Uneaten and rotten food will be perfect as well. This way you will get a fully functional mulch, save some money, and protect the environment! Our tree leaves calculator will help you estimate the number of leaves on your trees and quantity of bags required to gather them!
  • Cardboard or newspapers – they can serve as a practical addition to your mulch layer. If you place them under another mulch material, you will significantly reduce the required thickness of the whole mulch layer. Please keep in mind that mulching this way has an inevitable downside. If you intend to plant after mulching, you are going to have a bad time. You will have to use some extra force to get through the cardboard layer.
  • Carpet – it can keep our feet and then our plants warm! Furthermore, the fibers of the carpet will absorb rainwater and then let it sink slowly into the soil. Please note that you should use only natural, organic rugs in this manner.
  • Rocks and gravel – in this case saying “cold as stone” may be very misguiding. Rocks have the ability to retain heat and give it back later to the soil, thus keeping your plants warmer for a longer time.
Kacper Pawlik, Mateusz Mucha and Piotr Małek.

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