The typical bag of hardwood mulch found at Home Depot or Lowe’s is 2 cubic feet. To determine how many bags of mulch are in a yard, we have to figure how many cubic feet are in 1 cubic yard.
1 cubic yard is equal to 27 cubic feet. Therefore, 1 cubic yard of mulch is equal to 13.5 bags of mulch. The math is as follows:
27 cubic feet per yard ÷ 2 cubic feet per bag of mulch = 13.5 bags of mulch in a yard
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Bagged vs. Delivered Mulch
There are advantages and disadvantages to bagged vs. delivered mulch by the yard.
Bagged mulch is easy to transport and handle. You simply carry the bags to the various locations of your landscaping, split the bags open, and spread the mulch.
The downside is that people often have to go to a place such Home Depot and load the bags from the garden center to their home. This might require multiple trips depending on the size of the vehicle and the area being covered by mulch. In other words, it is a decent amount of labor for the average person. Mulch can be delivered in bags, usually for a charge, at some stores or landscaping centers.
Delivered mulch is commonly dumped in a pile on the driveway and you have to use a wheelbarrow to move it to the desired location in the yard. This is often a much more labor intensive process compared to handling the bags. For a large mulching job, there will be a lot of shoveling of the mulch and back and forth with the wheelbarrow from the mulch pile to the landscaping.
Cost: One Yard
The cost will vary greatly based on delivery charges (if applicable) and product costs in various locations. However, here is an example of the cost of red bagged mulch vs. delivered loose red mulch.
Bagged Mulch (1 Yard):
For the bagged mulch, we assumed that it was being picked up by the homeowner in the store, so no delivery charge is applicable. The everyday price of a bag of Earthgro Red Mulch is $3.75 per 2 cubic feet bag at Home Depot. The cost for a yard of this mulch is a follows:
13.5 bags (1 cubic yard) x $3.75 = $50.63
Delivered Mulch (1 Yard):
Delivered red mulch (loose, not bagged) at a local landscaping store in our area cost $31.95 per yard. The delivery charge is $24.00. The total cost for the delivered red mulch is as follows:
$31.95 1 cubic yard of red mulch + $24.00 delivery = $55.95
The delivered mulch is much cheaper for the mulch itself, but is more expensive than bagged for the convenience of delivery of 1 yard. However, if you are obtaining multiple yards of mulch, the delivery option becomes the more economical choice.
Cost: Five Yards
Let’s use 5 yards of red mulch bagged (2 cu ft) vs. delivered loose in bulk. As you can see from the below calculation, the delivered mulch is much cheaper. Below you can see how much cheaper the 5 yards of delivered mulch is in comparison buying bags.
Bagged Mulch (5 Yards):
13.5 bags/yard x 5 yards = 67.5 bags for 5 yards of mulch
67.5 bags x $3.75 per bag of mulch = $253.13 total cost
Delivered Mulch (5 Yards):
$31.95 per yard x 5 yards = $159.75
$159.75 mulch cost + $24.00 delivery fee = $183.75
Based on the above scenario, you would save $69.38 by going with the delivered mulch over the bags.
Keep in mind that 13.5 bags of mulch (2 cu, ft per bag) is equal to a yard of mulch. This makes it easier to calculate the best deal for mulch in your area.
Bagged mulch is often on sale for about $2.00 per bag around Memorial Day. This is an excellent deal and can be cheaper than a local landscape delivery option in bulk.
Of course, mulch comes in many different materials such as pine straw, rubber, wood, and cocoa beans. The quality and prices will be different based on the mulch you prefer for your yard and many other factors (i.e. purchase location, sales discounts, delivery fees, and so on).