Mulch Math: How Many Cubic Feet in a Yard of Mulch

We have many customers who do not care about the careful calculations we make when we deliver mulch. They simply are happy they found nearby mulch delivery and can get high-quality mulch delivered to their home or business. The last question they have on their minds is “How many cubic feet in a yard of mulch?”

This article is not for them. This post is for you, the number cruncher who wants to know the mathematics of bulk mulch. You care about the volume of a cubic yard of mulch. Maybe you’ve been through the arduous task of buying small bags of mulch at garden centers, only to find that you never quite bought enough.

The mathematics of mulch

So, let’s get into it. First, we need to understand what a cubic foot really is. A cubic foot is a three-dimensional measurement of volume. One way to think about it is like this. Imagine you have a box and all edges are the same exact size. That box could be described as a cube.

So far so good?

Now, if each side of that cube is 1 foot in length, the volume of that box would be one cubic foot. Put simply, to find the cubic volume of the box, you would multiply the box’s length by its width by its depth, or length x width x depth. In this case you would get 1 x 1 x 1 = 1 cubic foot.

If each edge of the box were 2 feet in length, then you would have 2 x 2 x 2 = 8 cubic feet.

Ok, we’ve got the hard part out of the way. You should now understand cubic feet.

So, how many cubic feet in a yard of mulch?

In professional mulch sales, a “yard” of mulch is a volume of mulch that measures three feet by three feet by three feet, or 3′ x 3′ x 3′.

Think back to the example on calculating cubic volume. We multiply the length by the width by the depth. In this case, that would be 3 x 3 x 3 or 27 cubic feet.

So, there are 27 cubic feet of mulch in a “yard.”

How many square feet will one yard of mulch cover?

The important point to note here is that even though a yard of mulch is the same “volume” for all the different mulch types, there are differences in the mulch composition. Pine bark mulch, for example, is denser than, say, pine straw mulch. That density will play a role in how much the yard of mulch weighs.

Each yard of mulch should cover approximately the same square footage, with some exceptions. What is important to remember is that the layer of mulch needs to be a few inches deep to really get the value of putting mulch down, like weed control over the total area.