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The first step when beginning any new project that needs bulk materials is measuring how much material you need. You do will not want to run out of material half way through the project and need to reorder more, nor would you want to finish and realize that you have wasted money on all the extra materials that you now have no use for. Thankfully, Saunders is not only here to sell and deliver bulk materials, including mulch, topsoil, sand, firewood, wood chips, and gravel and stone, but we will also help you with whatever you need from us during this process. We recommend that you check our material calculators on our website before ordering anything, but this blog should introduce you to some elements to watch out for as you measure how much bulk material you need for a project.

To calculate the amount of material you need, no matter what type of project you are working on or what type of material you are working with, you will need to figure out the volume of the space you want to fill. Finding the area of the surface is not too difficult, as you can easily measure the length and width. In order to figure out the depth of the space you are filling, however, this depends on your project and its goals. Mulch, topsoil, and gravel and stone in particular have so many different uses that you may want to look into when designing your project.

The following sections should give you an idea of potential projects you may want to complete with each type of bulk material and the required depth of material for each. The length and width will, of course, depend on your unique project and space.

How to Measure for Mulch

Much is frequently the material of choice for people who want to suppress weeds, moisturize soil, control insects, or insulate soil. Thankfully, you can easily accomplish all of these things and improve your soil greatly with a simple depth of about 2 to 4 inches of mulch. This will keep weeds from popping up in your garden or yard, while also trapping in enough moisture to keep your plants thriving. Be sure to limit yourself to this thin layer, however, because though this will help with insect control, using a larger depth would actually attract termites. Other projects with mulch would require different depths of this material. For example, the reduction of soil compaction would likely require a depth of 6 inches or more.

How to Measure for Topsoil

Overall, projects using topsoil tend to require about 2 to 8 inches of this material. What you will need within this range will depend on the particular project you choose. If you want to install, regrade, or over-seed your lawn, a layer of about 3 to 6 inches of topsoil would be best for you, depending on the quality of the soil underneath. To prepare for a garden, you will want to be on the higher side of this range and use closer to 6 inches of topsoil in order to better protect and stimulate your plants. Amending soil, however, would only need about 2 to 3 inches of topsoil. Filling in depressions can also be done with topsoil, and clearly this task would depend on the depth of the depressions in your yard.

How to Measure for Gravel and Stone

Finally, gravel and stone are commonly used for a large variety of landscaping projects as well. Projects such as improving drainage and decorating flower beds will only require a depth of about 2 to 3 inches. Weeds can be prevented from coming through the ground with a depth of 3 to 5 inches of gravel or stone. If you want to create a structure like a driveway, this will require a depth of 6 inches of stone, while a pathway would only require about 4 inches because it will not experience as much wear. Controlling erosion requires the largest depth of gravel, at about 12 inches, in order to prove successful. Whenever you undertake a project using gravel or stone, it is also important to consider that using larger rocks will require you to use a larger depth than you would with smaller rocks in order to make sure that they do not slip out of place and expose the ground or fabric.

As you can see, there are quite a few different projects that bulk materials can contribute to, and it is very important to know exactly what you are trying to do in order to come up with an accurate measurement of the required depth. Ultimately, this depth will lead you to exactly how much material you will need. Getting this figured out early on will save you the stress of running out of material, or overpaying for it. We want to help make sure that you can get the job done efficiently and productively, and measuring how much material you need is just the first of many influential steps in the process. Once you have the measurements figured out, you will quickly receive a price estimate from us, and not long after, you will receive the shipment of material and can go ahead and get to work.

Once again, we highly recommend that you take advantage of the material calculators on each product’s page on our website, as these provide a sure way to know that you are prepared for your upcoming project. Whether you want topsoil to regrade your lawn or gravel to add a pathway throughout your yard, our calculators are a great place to start. Just be sure create an accurate measurement of the space and even consider possible sloping when deciding on the necessary depth. 

Hopefully, these recommendations give you a better idea of how to measure for bulk materials and you feel confident with your next landscaping venture! 

Feel free to reach out to Saunders for questions or general advice whenever you need some help, as we are here for you before, during, and after your purchase. You can check out our website to get started.