Landscape Calculator

How can I tell how much material  I need for my landscaping project

Often, it’s hard to tell how much landscaping product (pine straw, mulch, dirt, plants etc.) that you need to properly fill an area. That’s where this reference sheet comes in! After measuring and installing so much over the years, we have a pretty good idea on general measurement knowledge! We also included our favorite measuring pro tip at the end of the article! 

Square Footage reference and calculation

The first step in most cases is finding an approximate square footage of the area you’ll be working with. 

For square areas, walk the length of the area in 2-3 foot steps, and then multiply the number of steps by 2 or 3 (depending on your step size). Do the same with the width – and multiply the length and the width together, and that is your square footage. 

For a triangular shape bed, do the same thing as above, length and width (making sure the width is deepest area of the bed) and then divide the total in half. 

For finding the area of a circular bed – start at the center of the area, and walk to the edge of the bed, counting your steps (again, 2-3 foot steps, and multiplying the number of steps by the number of feet in each step. Then you’re going to square that number (multiplying it by itself) and then multiplying it by pi (3.14). For example – if you walked 5 3 fo0t steps, you’d have 15 feet. 15×15=225. 225×3.14 = 706.5. Your area is 706.5 sq ft! 

For Reference Landscape Calculator

  • A typical parking space in a parking lot is about 175 SQ ft
  • A normal full-size trampoline takes up about 150 sq of space
  • Typical drive ways are about 1000-1500 sq foot
  • In most cookie cutter neighborhoods, a rectangular bed all around the house ends up being around 7-800 square foot. 
  • With larger and more dynamic bds (beds around trees, curves, beds in back yard) it might look more like 1100-1300 sq ft.

How to determine how much Pine Straw I need

Take the total square footage of the your area, and divide it by 45. That’s how many bales you should count on to cover the area.

For example – if you have 4500 square foot of bed, you would need 100 bales of pines straw.

How to determine how much Mulch I need

Take your total square footage, and divide by 160. That’s how many yards of mulch you need for the area. For example, 480 SQ FT of bed, you need 3 yards of mulch. 

We use “yard” in the landscape/outdoor industry. What we mean by that, is cubic yard. So if a yard of mulch were to fill a box, the box would be one yard high, one yard wide, and one yard deep. Spread out, it can cover about 160 sq foot of ground at about 2 inches thick.  When you are buying in bulk, this is how you would order it. If you are headed to Lowes or Home Depot, they sell bags of mulch. The cubic FOOT will be listed on these bags. For 1 cubic yard, there are 27 cubic feet. Most mulch bags are sold as 2 cubic foot. This means – if you calculated you needed 2 cubic yards of mulch (about 330 sq ft) you would need 27 2 cubic foot bags of mulch to cover your area. 

For 1 inch of thickness, divide your square footage by 320

For 2 inches of thickness divide by 16t0

For 3 inches of thickness divide by 107

For 4 inches of thickness divide by 81

How to determine how many Plants I need Landscape Calculator

If you are filling a bed with plants, it is important to not over crowd your plants – which also means you’ll need to know how big the plants, trees, and shrubs you have will eventually get. A good rule of thumb is planting your biggest plants on the ends of your bed, and filling in with smaller plants. Look on the label of the plants you pick up at your nurseries, they will most often give the size they will grow to be. Leave that much space in between each plant. 

If you have 3-gallon plants you’re wanting to create a hedge row with, first determine the natural characteristic and size of the plant. If they are 5-12 feet in height then you want to plant them 3-5 ft apart. If your plant is a 3-5 ft, plant them 2-3 feet apart. Then the first time you need prune, you want to touch up the top, front, back, and ends, but let the centers grow together. Continue to work in that way until it fills in. It should fill in within 2-5 years.

How to determine how much Grass Seed I need Landscape Calculator

You’ll need to figure out approximately how much turf you have first – while the stepping method will work, for a larger area like that, we recommend using out Pro Tip listed below!

We recommend 1 50-pound bag of seed for every 5000 square foot of turf (this is how they typically come). Or essentially 10 pounds of grass seed covers 1000 square foot of turf. We do not recommend. seeding summer turf gras – Bermuda, Centipede, Zoysia. It has been our experience that it is very hard to get the summer seeds to germinate (sprout). We recommend sodding for these types of grass. The most common seeding is done for the cool temperature grass Fescue. 

Our Pro Tip!

 if you want exact measurements of an outdoor area– you can get them online, for free, fairly easily. 

Here’s what to do 

  • Go to Google Earth and select “Launch Earth”
  • Search your Address and zoom in on your property
  • On the left-hand side, you’ll see a tool bar, the last tool is a ruler. Click on the ruler, and a window will open in the top right. 
  • You’ll see your curser is now looks like a +. Start clicking all around the area you want measured, and as you are almost around where you started, double click to “close shape” and it will tell you both the distance and area of what you measured! 

We use a very similar software when measuring clients properties, and have found this method to be very accurate!