Every spring we try to clean up our yards by planting new grass, killing weeds and putting mulch in our flower beds and around our trees but the cost of mulch, getting it home and applying it can lead to a soar back and a empty wallet.
The first thing you should consider when deciding if you need a bulk delivery of mulch or just a few bags is how much you actually need.
If you are moving into a new home or redesigning your yard then taking delivery of yards of mulch is the way to go mainly because you won’t be wasting time getting small batches in bags.
On the other hand if you are simply repairing some patches of beds that might have blown away in the winter winds or adding a couple bushes that need to have mulch applied a few bags in the back of your car can do the trick.
How much Mulch do you get in a Bag?
Most bags of mulch are 2 cubic feet. If you remember your geometry a cube is a box that is equal on all sides so if you had a box that was 1 foot tall, 1 foot wide and 1 foot deep that would be 1 cubic foot. You get two of them in a bag.
Bulk Mulch is ordered by the Cubic Yard
In a cubic yard the box is 3 feet high, 3 feet wide and 3 feet deep and it equals 27 cubic feet of mulch.
So for every cubic Yard of Mulch you get 13.5 and a half Bags of Mulch.
13.5 bags of mulch is an important number to remember when you are trying to decide how much your total cost of bags vs bulk will end up costing you out of pocket.
What about delivery costs?
Delivery is an important factor to consider when buying anything.
If you can bring bags of mulch home in the back of your car but don’t have a truck to pickup a bulk load of mulch you will have to factor whatever the company selling it will charge you.
My local place charges about $35 a delivery whether I buy one or five yards of mulch. Other companies may charge more and some deliver for free depending on the amount of product you are buying.
You can expect to pay the cost of an extra yard of mulch for the delivery so it is best to get bulk mulch delivered when you need a large quantity of product.
What is the Difference in Cost of Bulk Vs Bag Mulch?
When you start shopping around for mulch you may be amazed that the cost between bulk and discount bag mulch really isn’t that much.
My local supply center sells bulk mulch for $32.99 a yard which compares to $2.44 a bag.
The local big box general retail store not lumber store.. sells the same mulch in a generic bag for $2.70 a bag and a name brand mulch of the same basic quality for $3.50 to $5.00 a bag.
I looked at a few of these big retailers and that $2.70 a bag mulch is pretty rare but the $3.50 a bag seems pretty common for brown and red mulch. Black mulch costs a bit more but that $2.70 a bag generic that I found was black. Who knows what they use to color it but its probably all pretty much the same.
So, what is the answer Which is better Bulk or Bag Mulch?
It seems that if you need to buy more then 3 yards or 40 bags of mulch then you might do better buying bulk mulch.
The first and main reason is that you can get all of the mulch delivered and you won’t be driving back and forth to pick it up in your car.
The second reason is cost. If you are buying a large amount of mulch then bulk will come in less but if you are cleaning up your yard the cost difference is really pretty close and if you are only getting less then three yards of mulch it doesn’t make a lot of sense unless you are getting a special product not available in bags.
If you are getting bags of mulch then do it the smart way. Pick up a few bags every time you go to the store and don’t make a bunch of trips only to get mulch because you will be wasting gas.
Just like a delivery of mulch cost about as much as a yard … you picking up mulch in your car will at least equal one bag of mulch for each trip you make so do it on the way home from work for a few days or when you go to pickup some food or other items.
A few dollars here and there does add up. It can mean the difference of getting the best deal or simply getting what you need right now.
If you are willing to spend a bit more then don’t worry about it.. but if you would rather save enough to pickup a garden full of flowers or tomatoes on top of the mulch you are buying then take some time and notice prices and figure out what is best for your home.