Landscape Gardening: How Many Bags of Mulch in a Yard?

In the landscaping industry, a common unit of measurement for bulk mulch is a “bag.” A biodegradable bag used to carry materials such as soil and fertilizer is typically referred to as a “bulk” or “pulp” bag. The size of these bags can range from 50 pounds up to one ton.  Here’s how to calculate how many bags of mulch in a yard.

Mulch measured in bulk bags is typically sold by the ton, but it can also be bought in smaller bags. If you’re planning to put mulch around your plants and trees to lock moisture in the ground, you may be wondering how many bags you need to buy. Let’s look at how many bags of mulch in a yard.

How Many Bags of Mulch in a Yard?

A standard-sized bag of mulch will cover around two cubic feet if it’s applied about 3 inches thick. One yard is approximately 27 cubic feet which means that you’ll need 13.5 bags of mulch to cover a yard.

Formula:  How to Calculate How Many Bags of Mulch in a Yard

1 yard = 27 cubic feet

27 cubic feet / 2 cubic feet = 13.5 bags

1 yard will need 13.5 bags of mulch

You Can Buy Mulch by the Truck, Not Just a Bag

It may be cheaper to buy mulch in bulk and have it delivered to your yard. This is likely the best solution if you need lots of mulch. However, having mulch in smaller bags makes it easier to handle and move around your yard. It all depends on how much space you need to cover with the mulch.

Although other types of bags are occasionally used for mulch, the pulp bag is used to carry products such as peat moss or manure, so it is a good unit of measurement. In the landscape industry, mulch is used as a topical application on top of the ground to promote vegetation growth and reduce erosion. Landscapers typically use two different types of mulch: organic or inorganic.

Organic mulches include materials such as wood chips or bark chunks that are derived from tree trunk removal or whole tree chipping. Other organic mulches include cocoa bean hulls and straw.

Inorganic materials used as mulch are typically not biodegradable and include crushed stone, sand, rubber, or plastic. The common denominator with all of these materials is that they prevent weed growth by blocking sunlight. Organic mulches need to be applied 2 to 4 inches deep to control weeds effectively. Some inorganic mulches can go as deep as 6 to 8 inches.

If you need to add dirt first, the cubic yard of dirt weight formula is different.

Where to buy mulch?

How Many Bags of Mulch in a Yard

When it comes time to purchase bags of mulch (as well as how many bags per yard), consumers should consider local market prices as well as the quality of the product. Consumers should also factor in the availability of these materials when making a purchase. Mulch that is made from recycled materials can be found in many nurseries, whereas supplies for mulch that are sourced from tree companies are more likely to be available at landscape supply stores.

Lastly, consider the quality of the product when making a bulk bag decision. Mulch that is not processed properly will have jagged pieces of wood that will not decompose easily.

Lawn maintenance companies usually deliver mulch in bulk bags to residential properties. When purchasing mulch, it is important for consumers to understand what they are paying for and how much of it they actually need. This information should help make the bulk bag decision a little easier.

Types of mulch include

Mulch per yard

There are many different types of mulch available, which can be used to create paths, cover your driveway, or put around trees and plants to keep moisture in the ground. Here are some of the most common types of mulch:

Organic mulch

  • Bark
  • Compost
  • Cocoa bean hulls
  • Lawn clippings
  • Leaf mold

Inorganic mulch

  • Crushed stone
  • Rubber mulch*
  • Stone dust* (recycled concrete)

* Not all states allow rubber mulch or stone dust


Make sure to store any mulch in a cool and dry place in order to keep it from getting moldy.  If you don’t, you might end up with mushrooms growing out of your mulch, which is a sign it’s gone bad.


You’ll need roughly 13.5 bags of mulch to cover a yard if you lay it about 3 inches thick. Before buying mulch, it’s a good idea to measure the area you want to cover and work out how many bags you’ll require using the above formula.

Recycled mulch can often be bought from nurseries or landscape supply stores. Lawn maintenance companies can also deliver mulch in bulk to your home. When purchasing mulch, consumers need to understand how much they need and what type of mulch they require.