It might not sound glamorous but don’t be tricked – mulch is a landscaping all-star. Benefits of mulch far outweigh the costs. Below are some reasons you’ll want to consider adding mulch to your yard:
|What you can expect|
|Range per square foot:||$0.51||$1.14|
|Range for this type of project:||$254||$571|
Cost of residential-grade, 100% clean arbor mulch. Rate is inclusive of local delivery, as well as standard excess for perfect installation and occasional repairs.
Mulch Labor, Basic
Labor cost, under typical conditions, for complete installation. Mulch will be distributed and leveled to uniform depth of approximately 2". Rate is inclusive of all aspects of the project, such as thorough planning, acquisition of equipment and material, preparation and protection of project site, and meticulous cleanup.
Mulch Equipment Allowance
Daily rental of specialty equipment for maximum quality and efficiency. These include 100-lb. wheelbarrow, shovels, and landscaper spreading rakes. Consumable equipment elements not included.
|cost to install mulch|
|National Avg. Materials Cost per square foot||$0.37|
|National Avg. Cost (labor and materials) for 500 square foot||$405.73|
|National Cost Range (labor and materials) for 500 square foot||$249.80 - $561.66|
Wondering how much mulch costs? Installing mulch costs between $100 and $300 for a typical garden, with an average cost of $175. This is based on a mulch price of between $0.20 to $0.60 per square foot for the raw materials, a mulching depth of three inches, and a garden size of around 500 square feet.
The following table shows the average cost to install mulch per square foot:
|Square Feet||Average Cost||Lowest Cost||Highest Cost|
In addition to the material cost, there’s the mulch installation cost to consider. A landscaping company will be happy to put down mulch for you, and you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $45 in labor per cubic yard of mulch.
When you have a relatively small area to protect, you can purchase mulch pre-bagged at home garden centers or home improvement stores. Bags of mulch typically cost between $2 and $7 each. How much mulch costs depends on the material used, with premium material providing a longer lifespan and a more excellent overall appearance.
For larger projects, mulch is sold by the cubic yard (or just yard). One cubic yard can cost anywhere from $30 to $110 and equals 13.5 standard bags.
Sometimes, mulch will be priced by square feet, instead of cubic yards. One cubic yard will generally cover 100 square feet at three inches deep. On average, mulch costs $0.60 per square foot.
Buying bagged mulch makes sense for smaller projects, but if you’re landscaping a larger area with mulch, you’ll want to buy in bulk. At $2 to $7 per bag, one square foot of mulch costs $0.25 to $0.88, versus $0.30 to $1.00 per square foot for bulk mulch.
A scoop of mulch may vary based on the company you buy from, but it should be around half a cubic yard and cost between $15 and $55 – plus a delivery charge unless you have a truck to pick it up.
For heftier projects, it will be the most cost-effective for you to have mulch delivered by the supplier. Trucks usually deliver 10 cubic yards or more but may deliver as little as two cubic yards. On average, charges for delivery will range from $45 to $100.
Organic mulch is made of natural materials, like wood and bark. Don’t worry; you’re not paying extra for the word ‘organic’! However, costs will vary based on the type of material, with cedar and cypress mulch being more expensive. Below, we’ll break down the types of mulch and average costs per cubic yard.
Red mulch is the most cost-effective choice, and it also brings a touch of color to your yard. This type of mulch is colored with a vegetable-based dye that isn’t harmful to you or your garden. It costs an average of $30 per cubic foot, and the color will last for a few years before noticeably fading.
Black mulch is more towards the premium end of mulches because it matches the color of topsoil more closely than red mulch while still giving the same benefits. Black mulch typically costs about $40 per cubic yard.
Natural bark mulch is one of the more expensive options, but it also provides the most natural look, blending seamlessly with the natural environment. Bark mulch comes in a range of colors and textures and costs about $95 per cubic foot.
Shredded hardwood mulch provides some of the same natural feel as bark mulch, and comes in at a lower price range - $40 per cubic foot, on average. This type of mulch is particularly effective on slopes or other areas that are prone to soil erosion.
In addition to all the other benefits, cedar mulch brings even more to the game. Cedar is naturally resistant to fungus, which will keep it looking cleaner for longer, and it also repels pests – like termites and ants. You can expect to pay around $100 per cubic foot for cedar mulch.
Cypress mulch includes the same benefits as cedar mulch but also repels reptiles. This type of mulch will cost you approximately $110 per cubic foot.
Hemlock trees are high in tannin, working as a natural pest repellent. All hemlock mulch is from a non-toxic species of hemlock, so there are no worries about it harming children or pets that might ingest it. Hemlock mulch is an economical option at an average $45 per cubic foot.
If you’re looking for a great option to mulch a large area, pine bark mulch might be the way to go. It degrades more quickly than other types of mulch, so it will need to be topped up periodically. The good news is that this inexpensive option is about $30 per cubic foot, and as it degrades, it improves soil quality and nourishes your garden.
|Organic Mulch Type||Average Cost||Lowest Cost||Highest Cost|
|Shredded hardwood mulch||$40.00||$35.00||$45.00|
If you don’t mind a look slightly less natural than organic mulch, the materials below may be just the thing to control weeds and keep your garden looking trim and tidy year-round.
Landscape fabric costs an average of $0.30 per square foot and prevents weeds while still letting air and water through to the soil. Landscape cloth will degrade over the years and can be used as a base covered with more decorative material, such as stone or chipped wood mulch.
At round $0.60 per square foot, plastic sheeting is more durable than landscape cloth. However, it prevents water and air from reaching the soil, so holes will need to be made in it before any planting.
Stone mulch is generally sold by weight at around $0.50 per pound, usually with an additional delivery charge. Rocks and gravel greatly reduce weed growth while keeping the soil healthy, but may require occasional weeding to keep the area tidy.
|Inorganic Mulch Materials||Average Cost||Lowest Cost||Highest Cost|
|Rock and gravel||$0.50||$0.40||$0.60|
Your actual cost for mulch installation will vary but generally falls between the $20 and $45 range. Landscapers will base your specific quote on these factors:
To reduce your overall project cost without putting in mulch yourself, do these critical things to prep for landscapers:
Inorganic mulch, like gravel, will not need much maintenance beyond occasional weeding and topping up as the layer settles. This is particularly true if you use plastic sheeting or landscape fabric as a base layer.
Organic mulch will need to be topped up, but the frequency will depend on the type of mulch you choose, as some degrade faster than others. The amount you need to add should be relatively small and is something you can do on your own or ask your routine gardener to handle.
Adding mulch to your garden beds can be a great DIY project. Wood or bark mulch is light and easy to transport through your yard, making it a satisfying weekend project. Inorganic mulch, like gravel, is more labor-intensive to move, and covering a large area might be something you want to hire out.
How much is a yard of mulch?
How much does a bag of mulch weigh?
When's the best time to put in mulch?
Can I use garden debris as mulch?
Does mulch attract termites?
Do you need a permit to install mulch?