Estimate your cost using the Mulch and Stone Calculator below. Measure your garden, flower bed or plant bed size . Enter the approximate length and width of the area you want to cover and the desired depth. Click Calculate. Calculates approximately how many cubic yards or tons of material needed.

Input the length, width and depth. Your answer is a close approximation of the mulch or stone required.

Mulch And Stone Calculator

Select type of material
Width of the area (in feet)
Length of the area (in feet)
Thickness (in inches)
(Enter new input numbers and calculate as needed.)

You'll need approximately for your mulch or rock project.

Applying mulch is one of the best things you can do for your flower and plant beds, trees and vegetable gardens. Mulch is a layer of material, most often wood or rubber, that is spread on top of the soil to protect against erosion and conserve moisture.

Mulch has many benefits, but the main reason people use it is to boost their curb appeal and put the finishing touch on their landscaping. Additional benefits include helping plants maintain a more even soil temperature, slow evaporation rates during hot summer days, and prevent weed growth to reduce garden maintenance.

When to Mulch

When the weather gets warm, we're always in a hurry to get our landscape looking its best, so we pile on the mulch. Don't put mulch down too early in the spring. Give the soil a chance to warm. Mulching too early will actually slow down the warming process. Normally, mid- to late spring is the best time to put down mulch.

Seedlings can work their way through a thin layer of mulch, but too deep a layer could be impenetrable. Let your plants get off to a good start first. You can always add more mulch after the plants are established.

You may need to apply additional mulch in the summer to retain moisture and in the winter to insulate from cold.

If your garden has a layer of winter mulch, pull it away gradually as the temperatures warm. If you remove it all at once, the tender, new growth underneath could be affected by a late-season cold snap.

How to Landscape With Rocks Instead of Mulch

Rocks and stone lend color, texture and a nice touch to your garden, but they're not right for every area of your yard. Using rocks for mulch is a more permanent solution than using organic materials such as pine straw or wood chips that break down over time. Rocks tend to retain heat, drying out the soil at night and heating up the plants from below. Keep the rocks around large plants such as trees and shrubs instead of around delicate flowers to keep all your garden plants healthy.

Cover the area where you plan to add rocks with landscape fabric. Cut it to fit the area using a utility knife or sharp scissors. Cut a slit from the side and an X in the fabric to accommodate an existing shrub or tree.

Install edging around the area to hold the rocks in place, as they tend to become displaced over time if not held in. Dig a trench the same width as the edging that's one-quarter to one-half as deep as the edging is high. Tuck the landscape fabric edges into the trench. Lay the edging in place in the trench, backfilling with dirt around the edges to hold it in place. Use bricks, large stones or plastic edging.

Pour the rocks over the landscape fabric inside the edging. Continue adding rocks until they are 2 to 4 inches deep.

Scoop the rocks away from plant stems and trunks, leaving at least 2 inches of space uncovered.

Back To

Which Gravel to Use?

When installing a gravel driveway, you’ll actually use three sizes of gravel. The first layer of gravel should consist of baseball size rocks, which are often called #3 stones. These rocks form a strong foundation for your driveway and ensure good drainage. This foundation layer also keeps the smaller rock from disappearing into the soil. You’ll install approximately a 4 inch layer of this rock.

On top of the base, you’ll install another 3 to 4 inches of golf ball-size rocks, often identified as #57 rocks. These smaller rocks form a similar function and help make the transition to the top layer.

The top layer of gravel consists of 4 inches of marble-size rocks. These rocks can vary in color from black to gray to rust, depending on the type of stone.

For each layer of gravel, you’ll want machine crushed stone, rather than round rock. These rocks have an angular, triangle shape and will lock together on the driveway. Round rock slips, creating an unstable surface. River rock, for example, is not appropriate for a driveway.