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Average Cost of Mulch Delivery

As any gardener knows, mulch is more than just grass cuttings – it plays an extremely important role in keeping your lawn looking healthy and getting all the moisture and nutrients it needs. Ironically, given that mulch is made up of (usually) organic materials (and can be old grass cuttings, plant material) or the like, its primary function is to help keep the soil healthy. This, in turn, will ensure that your plants, flowers, and lawn are all able to grow healthy plants or grass.

At a practical level, mulch undertakes a few key tasks. The first of these is to trap water in the soil and stop it from evaporating. Without mulch, the soil is in danger of drying out, causing a lawn to become threadbare and patchy, and for flowers to die. The mulch also helps to keep the soil cool, which is additionally useful if you live in a warmer climate. Mulch also inhibits the growth of weeds, which can threaten to take over your lawn, plants, and flowers if left unchecked. All in all, mulch can be a savior when it comes to a garden in distress.

MAKING YOUR OWN MULCH

It is possible to make your own mulch using your grass cuttings and other organic materials. There are plenty of ‘recipes’ that you can use to help you. However, in reality, making your own mulch is not only extremely time-consuming but can also be ineffective.

Because mulch is designed to add nutrients to your soil (amongst its other functions), the plants from your yard will lack those nutrients, meaning that your own mulch will not have the desired effect.

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Indeed, it may even be counter-productive, as it will prevent the required nutrients from reaching the soil. To put it another way, it’s simply not worth making your own mulch; the time investment alone is not worth it, let alone if it’s a futile effort. Commercial mulch delivery services represent a straightforward – and often cost-effective – way of getting mulch on your garden or lawn. Depending on your budget, you can find almost anything you need online, delivered straight to your door. What’s not to love about that?

If you’re thinking about ordering some mulch for your garden, there are a wide range of different costs to consider. This guide is designed to walk you through all of the key elements involved in organizing a mulch delivery. In addition to the actual mulch, there are lots of different accessories you can order that will compound the mulch’s beneficial effects.

Working out which option is right for you will depend on the purpose for which you’re intending to use it, as well as the size and climate of your garden.

These will naturally have an impact on price, although the below guide will give you some ballpark figures to consider – as well as show you where you can save time and money if you’re on a tight budget. However, if your flowers are your babies, you may decide that they’re worth the cash. Either way, the information in this guide will help you make an informed decision.

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WHAT IS MULCH?

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MULCH

Mulch effectively acts as a natural roof and insulation for your soil. Most often, this is designed to help it stay protected from the sun. Not only does mulch work as a barrier to keep the sun off the soil, but it also works to trap moisture in the soil; this is critical for regulating soil temperature.

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In warm climates, the little rain that does fall in the summer very quickly evaporates, which means that soils become very dry. By covering soils or lawns with mulch, you can therefore keep the soil moist, temperate, and healthy, thereby improving its overall health, as well as the health of your plants, flowers, and lawn.

Mulch can be made of almost any organic material you can think of (and sometimes non-organic ones). Since the role of mulch is relatively straightforward, you don’t really need mulch with special properties. Some companies sell mulch that contains nutrients that can help your soil, although generally, mulch works just as well if it is made of simple materials.

The most common types of mulch are made from organic residues such as:

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Grass clippings

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Bark

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Shredded newspaper

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Leaves

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Sawdust

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Cardboard

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Hay

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Shells

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Wool

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Straw

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Woodchips

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Animal manure

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Kitchen scraps

Commercial mulch is likely to be made of a combination of the above materials and is usually shipped in units of one cubic inch.

OVERALL MULCH
COSTS

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OVERALL COST

Overall, you can expect to pay around $145 for one cubic yard of mulch to be delivered to your home. This varies depending on which state you’re in (sales taxes, for example, vary greatly from state to state). Generally, however, you’ll pay somewhere between $55 and $185.

The varying factors are discussed in the ‘Additional Costs’ section, below. If you’re choosing particularly high-grade mulch, such as hemlock, the costs can be slightly higher, although you’re unlikely to see anything go above $200 or $300.

ADDING MULCH SPREADING SERVICE

If you choose to have the mulch spread as part of your delivery, this will be an additional charge. Generally, the labor for this will run you somewhere between $20 and $45 (again, depending on the cost of living in your area).

However, if you book it as part of your mulch delivery, you may be able to gain an economy of scale, meaning you can bundle the two together and reduce your overall cost. If you are budget conscious, saving money on spreading is a good way to go as it doesn’t require any expert gardening knowledge, and is something you can very easily do yourself over a day or a weekend, depending of the size of the space needing mulch.

ADDITIONAL
COSTS

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As mentioned above, there are ways for you to amend that $145 if you’re interested in saving money, as well as ways you can push the boat out if budget is less of a concern. Below are the main ways you can alter the final cost.

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LANDSCAPE CLOTH

Landscape cloth is material you place on top of the soil in lieu of mulch. It costs roughly $20 per roll and will very easily cover the same area as a cubic foot. This acts in the same way as mulch, albeit doesn’t have the same aesthetic appeal (since you’re effectively placing a large amount of plastic on the ground of your lawn). However, this does represent an effective alternative at a lower price point.

COMPOST

If you want to not only protect your soil but also give it a big boost of nutrients, then you may choose to add compost to your garden. This isn’t as effective as mulch at retaining water, and compost can have an odor that may be off-putting. However, it is much cheaper, costing around $25 per cubic yard when you buy it in bulk.

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SCATTERING

If you want to upgrade your delivery and not do any of the work yourself, you can have the company scatter the mulch for you. As mentioned above, this will usually cost somewhere between $20 to $45 (although these costs go higher if you are ordering more than one cubic yard of mulch). The benefit of this approach is that the work will be done by a professional – ideal if you are somewhat inexperienced.

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One cubic yard of mulch can cover a wide area of lawn or garden, meaning it should be more than enough for your home. $145 may seem like a relatively steep price, but when you consider the alternative, it becomes a lot more reasonable.

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First of all,

One cubic yard of mulch can cover a wide area of lawn or garden, meaning it should be more than enough for your home. $145 may seem like a relatively steep price, but when you consider the alternative, it becomes a lot more reasonable.

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Then factor in time,

to collect mulch materials, gas, as well as the cost of any materials you might use, and you’ll find that you’re spending more than $145, and potentially a lot more depending on the nominal ‘hourly rate’ for your own work.

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The other alternative

is to simply not use mulch and allow your garden and flowers to die, or at least look drier and more threadbare. Of course, this is harder to quantify and weigh up, although for most of us, a $145 cost once a year is well worth the benefits from being able to enjoy a healthy garden or lawn.

Ultimately, if you’re making the decision to buy mulch, you’re doing it because you take pride in your yard. You’ve presumably already invested money into making sure your yard is beautiful, healthy, and thriving. In this case, it’s well worth the additional money. The purpose of this guide is to ensure that, firstly, you’re aware of what the potential costs may be and, secondly, that you determine where to spend money and where to save it.

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Being smart with money is about making sure all purchasing decisions are conscious, and that’s where this guide can ensure you are smart with yours. Mulch may seem like a trivial expense, but it’s indicative of so much more when it comes to being frugal, spending wisely, and enjoying a higher quality of life.