How Much Does Mulch Cost?

Mulch costs range from an average of $30 to $110 per cubic yard or $3.25 to $6.50 per bag. 

Mulch is like a magic carpet for your plants –– it retains moisture, protects your garden beds from erosion, and even adds nutrients to the soil. But how much is mulch for your yard going to cost you? On average, the cost of mulch per cubic yard ranges between $30 to $110, whereas a bag of mulch costs $3.25 to $6.50

If you want that mulch professionally installed, expect to pay an additional $20 to $45 per cubic yard or $55 to $90 per hour, depending on how your landscaper prefers to charge.

Curious about what affects the total price of mulch the most? We’ll run you through the facts below. If you’re interested in additional services –– like mulch blowing –– our pricing guide has you covered, too.

Average Cost of Mulch in 2024

Typical Range for Materials$30 to $110 per cubic yard or $3.25 to $6.50 per bag
Typical Range for Labor$20 to $45 per cubic yard or $55 to $90 per hour
Typical Range for Materials and Labor$50 to $155 per cubic yard

How much is a cubic yard of mulch? Homeowners can expect to pay between $30 to $110 per cubic yard of mulch, though this will vary depending on the types of mulch and the amount of mulch you buy. One cubic yard of mulch covers 108 square feet at 3 inches deep or 324 square feet at 1 inch deep.

How much does it cost to hire someone to mulch? The cost of mulch per yard installed is usually between $40 to $155, including labor and materials, or $55 to $90 per hour (not including materials).

How much does a bag of mulch cost? The cost of one bag of mulch usually ranges from $3.25 to $6.50

How much will a bag of mulch cover? One bag typically holds 2 cubic feet of mulch. A cubic yard of mulch contains 27 cubic feet, which means you would need 13.5 bags of mulch to cover 1 cubic yard (assuming all the bags have 2 cubic feet of mulch).

Cost Estimator by Mulch Type

closeup of mulch
Photo Credit: Unsplash

The type of mulch you buy will have a significant impact on your total costs. The most affordable mulch type on our list is pine straw, which has an average price of $25 to $55 per cubic yard. In the middle, hemlock, glass, stone, and lava rock mulch cost an average low of $50 per cubic yard. On the expensive end, a cubic yard of crushed seashell mulch can cost as much as $400.

If you prefer inorganic mulches, such as rubber or tumbled glass, you can expect a hefty bill. Organic mulches, like tea tree, bark, or pine bark, won’t pull as much from your wallet.

Mulch TypeAverage Cost Per Cubic Yard
Pine Straw Mulch$20 – $55
Pine Bark$30
Bark Mulch$30 – $100
Wood Chips$30 – $110
Synthetic Pine Straw$40 – $60
Shredded Hardwood Mulch$40 – $70
Crushed Seashell Mulch$40 – $400
Tea Tree Mulch$45
Hemlock Mulch$50
Glass$50 – $70
Stone and Gravel Mulch$50 – $180
Lava Rock Mulch$50 – $180
Hay Mulch$60
Redwood Mulch$65
Playground Mulch (Wood Fibers)$65
Rubber Mulch$80 – $140
Cedar Mulch$100
Cypress Mulch$110

Organic mulches are plant-based materials such as wood chips, bark, or pine needles. Organic mulches are popular because they add nutrients to the soil and enhance plant health.

The disadvantage? Organic mulch decomposes over time and will need to be replaced. Some organic mulches also attract termites to your property.

Inorganic mulches, such as rubber, plastic, or landscape fabric, are not plant-based. These mulches don’t add nutrients to the soil, but they still serve many of the same functions as organic mulch, including retaining moisture, preventing erosion, and protecting the plants.

Inorganic mulch’s advantage is that it lasts for a long time, rarely needs to be replaced, and doesn’t attract pests.

Other Factors That Affect Cost

Delivery fees, buying in bulk, and even your mulch’s longevity will all affect the total cost. The type of mulch is a significant factor, but there are a few other elements to consider when calculating prices. Let’s go over them in more detail below:

Mulch Color

Mulch comes in many colors, ranging from earthy browns and reds to black, greens, and blues. These dyed mulches can elevate your landscaping in a way that undyed mulch may not be able to. Colored mulch can cost as little as $30 or as much as $135.

Mulch ColorAverage Cost Per Cubic Yard
Brown$30 – $135
Red$30 – $40
Tan$30 – $45
Black$40 – $55
Green$40 – $55
Blue$40 – $60


Most mulch suppliers charge a flat mulch delivery cost to bring the product to your home. If your home is far from the supplier, you may be charged even more. On average, mulch delivery fees run from $70 to $140.


Bagged mulch is measured in cubic feet. Mulch by the truckload, otherwise known as buying in bulk, is measured in cubic yards. Buying in bulk is the key to saving on mulch costs.

When you buy a bulk truckload of mulch, the cost of each cubic yard begins to lower. For instance, 5 yards of mulch cost $35 to $60 per cubic yard. Order over 10 cubic yards, and the mulch cost per cubic yard could be as little as $15 to $25.

If you have several areas in your landscape to mulch, it’s best to buy all the mulch you need at once instead of buying more bags each time you begin mulching a new space. The cost of a yard of mulch might end up being higher than buying multiple yards.

Here’s what you can expect to pay when you buy in bulk:

Number of Cubic YardsAverage Cost Per Cubic Yard
1$30 – $110
2 – 3$30 – $80
4 – 6$30 – $65
7 – 9$25 – $30
10+$15 – $25

Size of Area

Obviously, the greater the area you need to mulch, the more mulch you’ll need to buy. 

You’ll also need to consider how thick you want the mulch layer to be. If you’re going to cover a 324-square-foot area with a 1-inch mulch layer, that will cost you 1 cubic yard of mulch.

But if you want a 2-inch mulch layer on that 324-square-foot area, you’ll need to buy 2 cubic yards of mulch instead of one.


Some pros that install mulch charge a flat rate for labor, but others charge by the hour. Expect to be charged an average of $20 to $45 per cubic yard or $55 to $90 per hour to have a professional to mulch your landscape. On average, it takes an hour to spread 2 to 3 yards of mulch.

However, this price can easily balloon if you are working with a lot of mulch and/or you’re working over a large area. How easy it is to move through your yard also will affect labor costs. Mulch can be quite heavy and it takes a while to install, so it will cost more to mulch over uneven or rough terrain. 


Some mulches last longer than others. If you want to buy an affordable organic mulch, such as bark, you’ll need to replace it every time the old mulch decomposes. Mulch replacement costs can add up year after year. 

Inorganic mulches, though more expensive than organic mulches, typically don’t need routine replacement. Inorganic mulches take several years to degrade. In the long term, buying inorganic mulch might save you more money than organic mulch.  

Keep in mind that saving on replacement costs isn’t the only factor to consider when choosing between organic or inorganic mulch. Both inorganic and organic mulches have pros and cons, longevity only being one of them.

Color is another factor that can affect mulch longevity. Darker mulches break down faster, so they will need to be replaced more often than lighter mulches.

Extra Services

Your front lawn might need a little something extra to make it the best-looking one on the block. Mulch will make your eye-catching Johnny jump ups spring from the landscape, but it won’t do that much good if those flowers compete with nuisance weeds or unattractive edging. 

And if installing mulch by hand proves to be a problem for you or your landscaper, there’s another installation service you might want to consider: mulch blowing.

Mulch Blowing

Mulch blowing involves special equipment that blows mulch through long tubes or hoses. It’s an excellent option for homeowners who need to get a large mulching job done quickly or have areas that wheelbarrows cannot access. 

Blown mulch costs range from $35 to $60 per cubic yard, including materials and labor.

Mulching Sheets

Also called landscape fabric, mulching sheets provide an extra layer of protection against weeds. While they are often used with organic mulch to extend its lifespan, they can also be used with inorganic mulch to make clean-up and replacement much easier.

There are different types of landscape fabric: woven, non-woven, spun, and perforated. They’re also made of different materials, like plastic, fabric, and metal. Landscape fabric can cost as cheap as $0.05 per square foot to as much as $0.85 per square foot.


gardener with gloves holding weeds
Photo Credit: photoAC / Pixabay

Before laying your mulch in your flower beds, you’ll want to tackle any weed growth first. You can spend the weekend working on your hands and knees, or you can turn to a professional for help.

The cost of weed control ranges from $65 to $165, depending on the method used. Paying a gardener to hand-pull the weeds usually costs between $35 to $80 per hour.


Edging boosts your curb appeal, but it also helps keep your mulch in place on those windy or rainy days. Edging creates an appealing line between the grass and bed using materials like wood, rocks, or brick to define the areas and give them a manicured look. 

Also known as curbing, a typical edging job costs most homeowners between $730 and $1,720. If you’re looking to spruce up your curb appeal, this may be just the solution for you.


Mulch can enhance your landscaping by adding texture, color, and general visual interest. If you’re interested in taking your landscaping to the next level, then you might want to hire a professional landscaper to design your landscape, plant flower beds, and add trees and bushes to your yard.

Most homeowners spend between $4,000 and $20,317 for a professional landscaping project. If you have an existing landscape that only needs maintenance, then it costs much less at an average cost of $252 per month.

Land Grading

Is your landscape uneven or steep? Mulch will not be as effective in uneven areas as it won’t be evenly distributed. To make the most of your mulch, you might need to hire professionals to grade your landscape. On average, the cost of land grading ranges from $100 to $3,400, depending on the size of the area.

Cost of DIY Mulching

If the equipment required for mulching is already in your tool shed, and you’re only filling in a small flower bed or two, installing the mulch yourself can save you quite a few bucks. If you don’t have the equipment or the time, calling in a professional is the best way to go.

DIY Mulching Cost Breakdown

ItemAverage Cost
Garden trowel$10
Gardening gloves$12
Face mask$12 (per pack)
Landscape rake$65
Mulch$30 – $110 per yard
Total cost$209 – $289 (for a project that needs 1 yard of mulch), plus $30 – $110 per additional yard of mulch

This cost doesn’t include the delivery fee you’ll need to pay if you won’t be transporting the mulch home yourself.

DIY Cost vs. Professional Mulch Installation Cost

wheelbarrow and rake sitting beside pile of mulch
Photo Credit: manfredrichter / Pixabay

If you already own the necessary equipment for mulch installation, applying the mulch yourself can often be the more affordable option. You’ll still need to pay for the mulch, but you can avoid the mulching service cost. 

When should you call in a professional? If you don’t have the necessary equipment in your tool shed to install mulch, you may want to hire a professional. 

Here’s why: Buying all the equipment at the store will cost you around $179, mulch not included. Paying a professional to install just 1 cubic yard of mulch will cost you much less than all that equipment. Most professionals charge $20 to $45 per cubic yard of mulch they install. 

What if you already have the equipment? If you already have the necessary equipment to install the mulch yourself, call in a professional for those large-scale projects. Doing a major landscaping project by yourself can quickly eat up your time and turn into tiresome work.

Cost of Mulch Installation by Location

All the mulching services costs in this pricing guide are national average costs. On a local scale, factors such as mulch prices, labor costs, and delivery fees may be higher or lower than the average costs. Given these variations, it’s a wise idea to look up mulch prices near you to get a more accurate estimate for your specific location. 

Varied prices are often due to how local suppliers decide to set their rates. If you live far away from a supplier, your mulch vendor may charge a high delivery fee.


How Much Mulch Do I Need?

Determining how much mulch you need takes a few simple calculations. Grab a pen, paper, calculator, and your thinking cap:

  • Step 1: Calculate the square footage of the area you want to mulch.

    If the area is a rectangle, multiply its width by its height.

    W x H = square footage of the rectangular area

    If the area is a circle, measure the distance from its center to its edge. This measurement is called the radius (R). Multiply R by itself, and then multiply the total by 3.14 (π).

    R x R x 3.14 = square footage of the circle area

    If your garden area is an odd shape, you’ll need to use your imagination. Try to picture the circles and rectangles that make up the area’s unusual shape. Calculate each imaginary shape’s square footage and then add them together to find the total square footage.
  • Step 2: Decide how deep you want the mulch.

    An ideal mulch layer is 2 to 3 inches thick. Decide how deep you want your mulch layer to be, and write that number down. You’ll need it for the next step.
  • Step 3: Determine how many cubic yards you need.

    Multiply the total square footage of your garden bed by your chosen depth. Your calculation should look like this:

    Total square footage of the garden bed x desired depth (inches) = X

    Next, divide the above total (X) by 324 (1 cubic yard covers a 324 square-foot area with a 1-inch layer of mulch). This answer will equal the amount of mulch you need in cubic yards.

    X / 324 = number of cubic yards you need

    If you plan to buy mulch by the truckload, you have all the information you need to make your bulk order. If you plan to buy bags of mulch instead, move onto the next step to find how many bags you need.
  • Step 4: If you want to buy bagged mulch

    One cubic yard equals 27 cubic feet. One mulch bag typically contains 2 cubic feet of mulch. That means 13.5 bags of mulch equals one cubic yard (assuming all the bags hold 2 cubic feet).

    To calculate how many bags of mulch you’ll need, follow this simple calculation:

    13.5 (bags) x number of cubic yards you need = total bags of mulch

    But what if the bags at your local home improvement store don’t sell mulch bags holding 2 cubic feet? There’s a simple solution. Most bags have 2 cubic feet of mulch, but there are exceptions.

    Here’s a formula that can help in a case like this:

    27 cubic feet / number of cubic feet in the bags = number of bags for 1 cubic yard

    Next, multiply the number of bags for 1 cubic yard by the number of cubic yards you need (this number is from Step 3)

    Number of bags for 1 cubic yard x number of cubic yards you need = total bags of mulch you need

When is the Best Time to Spread Mulch?

The best time to lay down mulch is mid to late spring. You want your spring plants to have plenty of time to grow before laying down mulch. If you apply the mulch in early spring, your young plants will struggle to penetrate the mulch layer.

If your beds have a layer of old winter mulch that needs removing, pull it away gradually. Removing the mulch all at once could expose your plants to a cold snap.

Summer and winter are also good times to mulch. Applying an extra coat of mulch in summer can help retain moisture. Spreading mulch in winter helps with insulation.

Where Can I Get Free Mulch?

You can get free mulch in many different places:

  • Your local tree care service. They often produce wood chip mulch from pruned and chopped-down trees.
  • Your local city or municipal free mulch program. Many cities offer free mulch that you simply have to pick up.
  • Your home. You may find these mulch materials around your home:
    • Grass clippings (Make sure they’re not chemically treated.)
    • Fallen leaves
    • Pine needles
    • Compost
    • Newspaper (Use as sheet mulching.)
    • Straw (if you live on or near a farm)

DIY or Hire a Pro to Mulch Your Landscape?

Whether you install the mulch yourself or hire a professional, mulch can be a great addition to your landscape. If you have the supplies and the time, applying the mulch yourself can save you on installation costs.

If you have a large area to cover, hiring a local professional near you may be the way to go. 

Remember, the mulch price per yard ranges between $30 and $110, while the price for a bag of mulch starts at $3.25 to $6.50 per bag. The additional cost to install mulch professionally ranges from $20 to $45 per cubic yard or $55 to $90 per hour.

Note: LawnStarter may get a referral fee for matching you with contractors in your area.

Main Image Credit: Pixabay

Janine Caayao

Janine Caayao

Janine Caayao has always been fascinated with growing plants, from fruits and veggies to bonsai trees and orchids. Now, she’s interested in urban gardening with her family. She loves finding new tips and tricks to keep their plants thriving.