How Much Does Mulch Cost?
$15 – $65 Per Yard
$35 – $70 Per Yard Delivery + Install
$35 – $70 Per Yard Delivery + Install
Mulch costs $15 to $65 per cubic yard for a bulk truckload delivery, and $35 to $110 per yard for delivery and installation. One yard of mulch covers about 108 square feet at 3” deep. For smaller projects, mulch costs $2 to $7 per bag which covers 8 sqft. each. Get free estimates from mulching services near you or view our cost guide below.
Economy mulch costs $15 to $30 per cubic yard or $2 to $6 per bag, while hardwood or colored mulch is $30 to $40 per yard or $3 to $8 per bag. Dyed mulch for a 160-square-foot flowerbed costs $75, and wood chips for a 500 sqft. landscape area runs $120 to $250 delivered.
Make your mulching project easier by having the mulch delivered for a flat fee of $40 to $100, and have the mulch installed by a landscaper for an additional $20 to $45 per yard. Here are typical projects and their cost installed:
|Project||Square Feet||Average Cost Installed|
|Vegetable Garden with Hardwood Mulch||100 SF||$70 – $120|
|Play Area with Playground Mulch||250 SF||$175 – $300|
|Flowerbed with Colored Mulch||300 SF||$150 – $250|
|Landscaping area with Wood Chips||1,000 SF||$350 – $600|
The average homeowner spends $141 to $291 for mulch delivery and installation. The amount of mulch you need to order depends on the project—flowerbeds, yard borders, island beds around trees, bordering paths, adding traction to a large muddy area of the yard or around an above-ground pool, or under play equipment. You might also have a large vegetable garden you’d like to keep weed and mud-free.
|National Average Cost||$175|
|Average Range||$141 to $291|
Table of Contents
- Red, Black, Brown Colored
- Wood Chips
- Shredded Hardwood
- Cedar and Cypress
- Pine Bark & Straw
Bulk Mulch Prices
Bulk mulch delivery costs $15 to $65 per cubic yard with most homeowners spending $350 to $700 for 10 yards delivered which includes professional installation. For delivery alone, prices range from $45 to $100, while installation usually adds $20 to $45 per yard to your final cost.
While many projects only require a few bags of mulch, larger projects like spreading mulch in a wooded area of the yard can cost less per yard and become an easier job when the mulch is bought in large quantities and delivered to the house. The more mulch you buy, the cheaper per yard you'll have to pay.
|Number of Yards||Price Per Yard|
|1 Cubic Yard||$60|
|1.5 Cubic Yards||$50|
|2 – 5 Cubic Yards||$40|
|6 – 11 Cubic Yards||$25|
|11+ Cubic Yards||$15|
Mulch Prices Per Yard
On average, mulch prices range from $15 to $65 per yard, with most spending $18 per yard for bulk delivery. Economy mulch costs $15 to $30 per yard, and colored or hardwood mulch runs $30 to $40 per yard. A yard of mulch covers 110 to 160 square feet based on a depth of 2-3”.
|Number of Yards||Price Per Yard|
|Economy Mulch||$15 – $30|
|Colored or Hardwood Mulch||$30 – $40|
|High-end Mulch||$40 – $60|
Mulch Prices By Type
Mulch costs vary based on the types and delivery fees. Most suppliers sell mulch based on cubic yards, but buying per bag is also an option.
|Type||Per Foot||Per Bag||Per Yard|
|Shredded Hardwood Mulch||$1.50||$3||$40|
|Redwood or Gorilla Hair Mulch||$2.22||$4.44||$60|
|Tea Tree Mulch||$1.58||$3.16||$42|
Cost to Deliver a Truck Load of Mulch
Delivering a truckload of mulch costs $15 to $65 per yard plus a flat fee $45 to $100. Truckload deliveries start at 2 cubic yards (13.5 bags), with 10 to 30 cubic yards being the standard delivery size for a single axle truck. Some mulch suppliers offer free delivery if you live close.
Mulch can be delivered in bags, pallets of bags, or loose and trucks will usually dump it onto your driveway, pavers, or gravel. Otherwise, lay down a tarp so the delivery crew knows where to unload it, and to keep it off the grass. The size of the delivery, where you live, and if you scheduled delivery on a weekend will determine your final cost.
|Project Size||Cubic Yards||Delivery Type||Average Costs|
|250 Sqft.||2.31||Bags||$75 – $150|
|500 Sqft.||4.63||Bags or Pallet||$120 – $250|
|1,000 Sqft.||9.26||Pallets or loose load||$150 – $350|
|2,000 Sqft.||18.52||Pallets or loose load||$350 – $600|
|3,000 Sqft.||27.77||Pallets or loose load||$420 – $750|
Bag of Mulch Costs
A typical brown or black bag of mulch costs $2 to $6 from your local hardware store. Red mulch, cedar, or exotic purple-dyed mulch costs between $3 and $10 per bag. Each bag of mulch contains 2 cubic feet, and 13.5 bags make a cubic yard.
You can also buy bags of mulch in bulk per truckload or per pallet. At local home improvement stores, 55 bags of mulch come on a pallet, which covers 440 to 660 square feet at 2-3” deep.
|Type||Cost Per Bag|
|Red Mulch||$3 – $10 per bag|
|Black Mulch||$3 – $6 per bag|
|Dark Brown Mulch||$2 – $10 per bag|
|Cedar Mulch||$3 – $10 per bag|
|Pine Mulch||$2 – $5 per bag|
|Rubber Mulch||$7 – $15 per bag|
|Purple Mulch||$4 – $10 per bag|
How Much Mulch Do I Need?
One yard of mulch is enough to cover about 108 square feet at 3” deep, while each 2 cubic foot bag covers about 8 square feet. Bulk mulch delivery starts at 2 cubic yards or about 13.5 bags. First, you’ll need to measure the area and know how many inches of depth you want to lay down.
A layer of mulch will help keep your garden beds moist and weed-free, but too much will encourage root growth into the mulch layer and kill the plants rather than the weeds. The recommended depth for most flowerbeds is 3”.
- A fine mulch can be 1” – 2” in depth
- A coarsely shredded mulch can be 3” – 4” in depth.
- Enough mulch to kill grass and weeds is about 6” deep.
Mulch Cost Calculator
Put in the dimensions of your project in our mulch calculator below to find the number of cubic yards, bags required, and the estimated total cost.
Bag Mulch vs. Bulk
Bulk mulch is cheaper to buy than bags if your project requires more than 2 cubic yards or 27 bags of mulch. When buying by the bag, mulch costs $50 to $60 per yard, whereas bulk deliveries can be as cheap as $15 to $25 per yard depending on how much you purchase.
|Type||Average Cost Per Yard|
|Bags||$50 – $60|
|Bulk Load||$15 – $25|
Mulch Installation Costs
Mulch installation costs $20 to $45 per cubic yard with most homeowners spending $38 per yard, not including the cost of the mulch at $15 to $65 per yard. Mulch costs $175 to $375 for 5 yards delivered with professional installation.
Most landscapers charge a flat fee for mulch installation, at $55 to $115 per hour. It usually takes one hour for two men to install 2 to 3 yards of mulch.
|Item||Cost Per Yard|
|Mulch & Delivery||$15 – $65|
|Install Labor||$20 – $45|
|Total Cost||$35 – $110 per yard|
For 600 square feet of flowerbeds, your total bought, delivered, and installed cost would be $200 to $600 depending on the type of mulch selected and depth. This price does not include weeding before laying down the mulch; the beds must be prepared in advance.
|Project Size||Average Cost|
|250 SF||$120 – $260|
|400 SF||$160 – $400|
|700 SF||$220 – $700|
|1,000 SF||$320 – $1,000|
|2,000 SF||$640 – $2,000|
A mulch-blowing service costs $35 to $60 per cubic yard, compared to hand mulching, which runs $50 to $100 per yard. For a typical 250-square-foot flowerbed that needs 2.31 cubic yards of mulch, mulch spraying costs about $100. Mulch blowing is cheaper and faster, especially for larger jobs.
Mulching Sheet Prices
A mulching sheet costs $20 per 100-foot roll of plastic. Mulching sheets are generally used on farms producing acres of vegetables. Sheets come in different widths and lengths and is usually a black or metallic plastic that covers the soil to retain moisture and inhibit weed growth.
Forestry Mulching Prices
Forestry mulching and land clearing costs $150 to $250 per hour, or at a flat rate of $400 per acre. Final prices depend on the size and number of trees on the land.
Types of Mulch
Mulch prices vary based on the type of wood (or other material) they are made from and how finely shredded they are. Below we compare the advantages and disadvantages of each type of mulch.
|Color||Cost Per Cubic Foot||Cost Per Cubic Yard|
|Brown Mulch (Walnut)||$1.11||$29.97|
|Red Mulch (Color Scape)||$1.29||$34.95|
|Black Mulch (Hardwood)||$1.48||$39.95|
|Black Mulch (Rubber)||$4.81||$129.80|
|Brown Mulch (Rubber)||$4.81||$129.80|
|Red Mulch (Rubber)||$5.18||$139.80|
Colored Mulch Prices
Colored mulch costs $2 to $10 per bag depending on the type. Dyed wood mulch helps keep the soil moist and slow the growth of weeds. Organic mulches can be dyed with vegetable dyes, and the color usually lasts a few years.
- Red Mulch Prices – Red mulch prices range from $3 to $10 per bag or about $30 to $40 per cubic yard. The red in the mulch can come from the iron-oxide dye (completely safe vegetable-based dye) on waste wood chips or from rubber mulch.
- Black Mulch Prices – Black mulch costs $3 – $6 per bag, or about $40 to $60 per yard. Black mulch is made up of hardwood or rubber. Wood chips are dyed with carbon, similar to charcoal.
- Brown Mulch – Brown mulch costs from $2 – $10 per bag. Most mulch is naturally brown, since it comes from trees and bark.
Cost of Wood Chips
The cost of wood chips is $0.89 per cubic foot, $1.78 per bag, or $24 per cubic yard. Wood chips are an excellent mulch for paths, trees, or shrubs but not so much for flowers and vegetables, as they tend to tie up the nitrogen needed by annuals and their shallow root system.
Bark Mulch Prices
The average cost of bark mulch is $3.44 per cubic foot, $6.88 per bag, or $93 per cubic yard. Bark mulch is a popular choice for flowerbeds, with cedar bark being the top choice for its scent and appearance. Bark dust costs $27 to $41 per cubic yard and is the grinding up the bark mulch, fir, and hemlock.
Shredded Hardwood Mulch Costs
Shredded hardwood mulch costs $1.50 per cubic foot or about $40 per cubic yard. Double or triple-shredded ground mulch has a finer cut, is more effective at weed control, and costs slightly more. Coarsely shredded hardwood mulch is better to use around shrubs and trees, and the finely shredded mulch works better around flowers.
Cedar Mulch Prices
Grade A cedar mulch costs $99 per yard, while other cedar mulching runs $3.70 per cubic foot, and $7.49 per bag. Cedar brings vibrant color and scent to your garden areas, is beneficial to earthworms, and prevents bacteria, fungus, and pests. Some people are sensitive to the cedar scent, as it can exacerbate allergies. Cedar takes a much longer time to decompose, so you may want to add fertilizer.
Cypress Mulch Prices
Cypress mulch costs $109 per cubic yard, $4 per cubic foot, and $8 per bag. Cypress is very absorbent, so it may not allow much water to penetrate the soil. Pine straw is just as a good a mulch as cypress, and it is cheaper and doesn’t harm the environment.
Pine Straw & Pine Bark Mulch Costs
Pine bark mulch cost $0.96 per cubic foot, $1.92 per bag, or $26 per cubic yard. Pine bark nuggets are an excellent organic mulch that lasts longer than most mulches, but will wash away in heavy rain.
Laying pine straw costs $1.50 per cubic foot, $3 per bag, or $40 per cubic yard. The labor cost to have pine straw installed is $38 per cubic yard or $1.41 per cubic foot. Pine straw is an excellent organic mulch and is simply the fallen needles from a pine tree. Its acidity makes it an excellent mulch for acid-loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, and camellias.
Rubber Mulch Prices
Rubber mulch costs $80 to $160 per cubic yard or $7 per 40-pound bag. When buying in bulk, rubber mulch costs $300 to $800 per ton. Rubber mulch prevents insects and fungus from infecting your plants, comes in different colors, and is often used in children’s playground areas or landscaping areas.
Redwood or Gorilla Hair Mulch Prices
Redwood or gorilla hair mulch costs $2.22 per cubic foot, $4.44 per bag, or $60 per cubic yard. It is fibrous, fuzzy, and rich in color, and it works well on slopes due to its light, fluffy texture. When wet, it's heavy enough to discourage weeds and stay put. Redwood and cedarwood are naturally rot and pest resistant, making it a good choice for your garden.
Hemlock Mulch Prices
Hemlock mulch costs $1.67 per cubic foot, $3.34 per bag, or $45 per cubic yard. Hemlock mulch is very acidic, so don’t use it around your alkaline-loving plants. It is a slow-decomposing mulch, so if you choose hemlock mulch, you may want to add some fertilizer.
- Tea Tree Mulch – Tea tree mulch costs $1.58 per cubic foot, $3.16 per bag, or $42.66 per cubic yard. It releases a pleasant scent that goes well with your garden, repels pests, and releases nutrients into the soil slowly.
- Hay Mulch – Hay mulch costs $82.50 per ton. Hay is nutrient-rich and a good mulch to use if you have extensive vegetable gardens, due to its low cost. Seeds that may be in the hay, causing weeds to grow, but most gardeners agree the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
- Plastic Mulch – Plastic mulch costs $20 for a 4 x 100-foot sheet and is often used in melon, strawberry, and cucumber gardens to keep the vines clean and rot free. Plastic mulch doesn't allow air or water to get through, so it's used around plants to protect the root system.
- Gravel, Crushed Stone, and Crushed Brick Mulch – Gravel and crushed stones cost $10 to $20 per ton, can be used as mulch over a garden bed, and discourages weed growth. Use landscape fabric under stone to keep weeds down and to keep the rocks from sinking into the soil.
Where is Mulch Typically Used?
There are many types of garden mulch available, from organic to synthetic. Each type of mulch has a specific purpose. Some plants need certain kinds of mulch and will do poorly if the wrong kind of mulch is laid down.
Mulch falls into two categories—organic and inorganic.
- Organic: Wood mulches, leaf, pine straw, grass clippings, straw or hay, newspaper. Organic mulch contributes to the soil quality, but as it breaks down, it must be replaced.
- Inorganic: Rubber, plastic, landscape cloth, rock. Inorganic mulch lasts longer but contributes nothing to the soil.
It’s best to avoid laying organic mulch in low, wet areas. Sometimes this can keep the plants too damp, and it encourages unwelcome pests such as slugs to feast on your plants.
- Bark chips – Bark chips cost $3.44 per cubic foot or $93 per cubic yard. Chips are not the best mulch for your garden plants, as the small wood particles tend to tie up nitrogen. Use bark and wood chips for paths or the areas between flower/vegetable beds.
- Compost or manure – You can use compost and manure anywhere. Compost is the result of kitchen waste left to decompose in a pile that turns into nutrient-rich fertilizer good for plants. Manure supplies nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium as well as micronutrients—all necessary for plant growth.
- Grass clippings – Clippings can be used as mulch if you’re looking for a quick, cheap, and nutrient-rich mulch to put in your garden. Clippings don't look good and often smell, but they add nutrients to your soil for free.
- Shredded and whole leaves – Leaves are an excellent mulch for annual and perennial beds. A tree’s leaves contain 50 – 80% of the nutrients extracted from the soil and air. However, it may contain insects, so don't use near flowers.
- Straw or hay – Straw and hay are excellent mulches to use in a vegetable garden which prevents soil-borne diseases and lasts for a long time.
Mulching Tips & Tricks
How To Lay Mulch
- For flowerbeds, lay down the mulch by hand with a small shovel or spade. For larger areas, empty a wheelbarrow full at a time in an open space and then spread it around.
- Fine-textured mulch (shredded leaves and compost) should be kept to 2” – 3” thick. Coarser textured mulch (wood chips, pine needles, or straw) can be layered 4” – 5”.
- Mulch 1” – 2” away from the base of plants, and 3” – 4” away from the base of shrubs.
- When using mulch around trees, leave 6” – 12” around the base of the tree free of mulch to prevent moisture and disease. The mulch layer can be 2” – 4” deep, tapering out to 0 at the edge of the drip line.
- Keeping mulch away from the base of plants or trees to allow sunlight and oxygen to reach the plant, and also keeps away any pests who might take up residence in the mulch.
- Before you add new mulch to your beds, remove the old mulch so it doesn’t rot. However, adding a little bit of new mulch to the top layer without going over the 3” depth keeps your yard looking fresh.
DIY Mulching Tips
Mulching not only benefits your garden, but it also adds some curb appeal to your home. To gain the most from the mulch you put down, consider its visual effect.
- After laying down mulch, add landscape edging to the garden bed to prevent the mulch from blowing away.
- Smooth the mulch after you lay it down to get rid of hills and valleys.
- Lay down mulch when the soil is still warm, and make sure the soil is moist.
- Choose a mulch that looks good with your current home and garden colors; it should blend in.
- Use a weed killer to kill any weeds before laying down mulch.
- Sometimes wood-based mulch can deplete the soil of nitrogen. Before you lay down mulch, add some bloodmeal or a high-nitrogen fertilizer to the soil.
- Newly laid mulch needs to be well-watered. Good mulch contains microorganisms that are beneficial to your soil and plants. If the mulch dries out, those microorganisms can die and then fungi can come in, creating a water-repellent surface.
- Newly delivered wood or bark mulches need to be watered thoroughly before application. Mulch is stored in piles, and it tends to get very hot in the summer months. The microorganisms that live in the mulch tolerate the high heat but die as the mulch cools.
Mulch Safety Issues
Some wood mulch comes from wood treated with chromium, copper, and arsenic. The arsenic can leach into your soil and get on your hands. Look for the Mulch and Soil Council’s certification logo, which guarantees it CCA free.
Some mulch can be a safety hazard for pets.
- Mulch made from cocoa bean hulls can cause a dog’s heart to race and may also cause vomiting.
- Mulch made from rubber sometimes contains benzene, which causes cancer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do You Tip For Mulch Delivery?
If the landscaper is helpful and dumps the mulch where you need it, or in multiple spots, tipping is a nice touch. If the mulch delivery service just drops it anywhere and leaves, think twice before tipping.
How Many Bags of Mulch Are in a Yard?
There are 13.5 bags of mulch in a cubic yard since each bag of mulch contains 2 cubic feet on average. For the 3 cubic feet bags, it takes 9 bags of mulch to make a yard.
How Much Does a Bag of Mulch Weigh?
A bag of straw mulch weighs about 20 pounds, while a bag of cedar mulch weighs 40 pounds if completely dry. If the mulch becomes wet, the weights could double.
How Many Cubic Feet Are in a Yard of Mulch?
There are 27 cubic feet in a yard of mulch. When mulch providers talk about a yard of mulch, they are talking about a cubic yard.
Should I Remove Old Mulch?
You should remove old mulch because it can contain bacteria or fungi, which can prove harmful to plant life. Applying new mulch over it can cause rotting and nutrient starvation.
How Do You Get Rid of Old Mulch?
If you suspect or know the old mulch has fungi, bacteria, or disease pathogens, throw it in the trash. Otherwise, you can place organic mulch such as leaves or straw in a compost pile. Don’t remove mulch too early in the spring, as a late frost may damage new shoots.
Does Wood Mulch Attract Termites?
Termites are not attracted to the wood in mulch; it’s the cool, moist environment. Although, fresh wood chips are a food source to termites, so don't lay mulch right up against your house. Keeping a clear, mulch-free path around the perimeter of your home is the best way to keep the pests out.
Can You Mulch After Rain?
An excellent time to lay down mulch is after it rains. The layer of mulch will keep the soil moist and help it not to dry out. Laying mulch over dry soil is not a good idea—the water from rain or sprinklers doesn’t penetrate the layer of mulch to reach the soil, which is detrimental to your plants.
Can You Put Mulch Down in Fall or Winter?
It’s better to put down mulch in the fall rather than the winter. Fall mulching creates an insulating layer that protects the plants from rapid temperature fluctuations, which can disrupt the plant roots and cause damage. A fall mulch also keeps the soil warmer for earthworms that provide soil aeration, improving the quality of your soil.
Can I Use Sawdust as Mulch or a Soil Amendment?
Sawdust is considered raw wood and will deplete your flowerbeds of nitrogen as it decomposes. No raw, unaged wood products should be used in or around garden plants.
Can I Use Newspaper as Mulch?
Newspaper is good temporary cover to use when reseeding or to protect wintering plants, but it should be removed when warm weather arrives.
Where to Buy Mulch?
You can buy many types of mulch from your local nursery, home improvement stores such as Home Depot or Lowe's, or garden centers like Walmart. Most places offer mulch in bulk or in bags. Shop around to get the best price for your project.
|Stores||Lowest Price Per Bag|
For larger projects or convenience, order directly from a mulching delivery service to save on costs and have it dropped off directly at your home or construction site. Most landscapers will also install the mulch for you.
Get free estimates on HomeGuide from trusted mulching companies:
20+ Mulch Services in Ashburn, VA
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