How Much Does Mulch Cost Per Yard?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 14, 2018

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Mulch is a type of material, commonly made from decaying leaves, bark and/or compost, that is laid out around flower beds and the bases of trees to enrich the soil, inhibit the growth of weeds, and fight off pests.  It is also spread on walking paths to promote landscape aesthetics.

mulch by k.ivoutin, on Flickr
mulch” (CC BY 2.0) by  k.ivoutin

How much does a yard of mulch cost?

The cost of mulch is going to depend on the supplier, the amount of mulch, and the type you decide to buy.  Most suppliers are going to charge anywhere from as little as $15 to as much as $60 per cubic yard.  This is just the prices for the mulch only and wouldn’t include a professional if you were to need one.  With so many types of mulch, refer to our table below to see what the average bag could cost you:

Type of MulchAverage Cost (per cubic yard)
Bark$13
Black$20
Black Hardwood$60
Brown$20
Colored$30
Cypress$35
Dark Brown Fines$35
Engineered Wood Fiber$377
Hardwood Oak$55
Natural$18
Pine Bark Nuggets$35
Pine needles$10
Pine Straw$55
Playground Recycled Rubber$105
Red$20
Screened Natural$25
Shredded Log$20
Sweet Peet$47
Wood Chips$10

NOTE:  The more you purchase at once, the more you can save.  This is the price you would pay without any delivery or installation.

If you needed a landscaper to install the mulch, then you should be prepared to spend another $150 to $350, depending on the job size, but to give you a rough estimate, plan on spending close to $60 per yard to have it delivered and installed, and these costs could rise if weeds and/or debris needed to be removed.  If you want an exact quote, then we highly recommend HomeAdvisor.com.  Here, you can explain your job and contractors will email you with a free estimate.  No credit card needed.




Types of mulch

Pebble mulch consists of very small pebbles and is often used for playgrounds or walkways.  It provides great drainage of water.

Rock mulch offers the same benefits of pebble mulch, but it is made of larger rocks.  This is often used for driveways.

Pumice rock, commonly known as lava rock, is very porous has the ability to retain water and is therefore commonly used for flower beds.

Straw mulch is normally used in rustic areas and is used mostly for sidewalks.  Most people say that this is the least useful type of mulch.

Newspaper and cardboard can be used to make mulch, which is a great way to recycle these products.  This mulch is great at suppressing weeds.

Grass clippings can be used as mulch after you finish mowing the lawn.  This is great because it allows you a fresh layer of mulch about once a week.

Compost makes great mulch as long as it is properly decomposed.

Landscape fabric is a great option since it catches the heat of the sun and still allows plenty of water through.  This is especially helpful when growing melons, particularly watermelon.

Woodchips are the most common type of mulch and are great at keeping the temperature of the soil from fluctuating too much.

Pine straw can be used as mulch and is very beneficial as long as you have a thick layer.  Pine straw can last forever.

Rubber tire mulch is made of recycled tires that have been cut into smaller pieces.

Organic mulch can include tree bark, leaves, grass clippings, straw, newspapers, compost, and composted manure.

What are the extra costs?

To have mulch delivered from a local supplier, plan on spending anywhere from $25 to $100, depending on the distance; however, this fee may be waived or significantly dropped if spend a minimum amount.

When laying mulch, some choose to use a fabric underneath the mulch to prevent weeds from coming through.  Plan on spending about $10 to $15 per 100 feet.  If you don’t use this fabric, then you may want to spray some weed killer to stop the growth for the next six to 2 months.

Tips to know:

The most common bags of mulch, if you were to purchase at a local retailer, such as Home Depot, Walmart or Lowe’s, commonly come in a two cubic foot bag.  If buying in bulk, then the costs will sell by the cubic yard.  One cubic yard is equal to 13.5 bags found at your stores.

A cubic yard of mulch is able to cover around 100 square feet if it’s three inches deep or 150 square feet at two inches deep.  If you’re unsure how much mulch you need, check out this helpful Lowes.com calculator.

Don’t apply too much mulch to a new flower bed.  Experts recommend only adding one to three inches to prevent the roots from suffocating.

How can I save money?

You can save a lot of money by using dry leaves as mulch if you intend on using it around your flower garden.

Another option to consider is free wood chips, which you can obtain from a local tree trimming service, or you can even check with your local city to see if there is a free mulch program in your area.

If you are insistent on purchasing mulch, consider purchasing in bulk.  The more you are able to purchase at once, the lower that price per yard is going to be.  Consider ordering with a neighbor to split the costs of the mulch and delivery.

Those who need less than a cubic yard should consider purchasing it by the bag.  A bag of mulch, as stated above, should cost around $3 to $5 per bag.


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