Bulk ground covering? Mulch, whatever. Cheapest option?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by lokiju, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. lokiju

    lokiju Lifer

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    I recently found a lawn guy and he's worked out well and is affordable. I paid him $200 to rip out everything in a 1,400ish SF area that's in my backyard that's above my retaining wall and up to my tree line.

    I've already covered this area with landscape fabric (weed block) and now just need to cover it all in something.

    I don't care all that much about what that something is, if it's pine straw, mulch, rock, whatever. I don't really care.

    What I do care about is the cost of the materials and getting it to my house since I don't have a truck or trailer.

    I went to Home Depot over the weekend and I'm looking at about $2.57 per bag of the absolute cheapest stuff they have which if I'm not mistaken is called cypress brown mulch. One bag covers either 12 sf in a 2" layer or 24 sf in a 1" layer. From what I've been told and can find I really should go for 2" deep since theres nothing there now but landscape fabric, so thats my plan.

    Based on that I'd need 117ish bags with a total cost of about $320 with tax plus either a $80 flat deliver fee or rent the Home Depot truck for $20 an hour, have them load it up with a forklift and then scramble to get it home, dumped into my driveway and back before the hour.

    So total is either $340 or $400 when all is said and done going with the cheapest solution I can find from Home Depot.

    All things considered, that's a lot of money to drop on what amounts to dirt. It's ground covering. I don't want it to be fancy, I want it to be simple and cheap.

    Does anyone know of a much much cheaper way to cover 1,400 SF of sloped useless backyard that isn't pushing or at $400? I was hoping maybe $100 but holy crap was I in for a surprise seeing how much all this stuff cost.

    I feel like there should be a way to get some tree service company that grinds up the tress it chops to deliver that to me for a much more reasonable cost but can't figure out how to find something like that locally so far.
     
  2. Vic Vega

    Vic Vega Diamond Member

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    ...
     
    #2 Vic Vega, Apr 9, 2012
    Last edited: May 27, 2012
  3. SandEagle

    SandEagle Lifer

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    #3 SandEagle, Apr 9, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  4. Capt Caveman

    Capt Caveman Lifer

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    Contain landscaping companies and find out what they offer as the cheapest solution. It'll be cheaper and easier than buying by the bag as they'll deliver but most have a minimum of 3 yards for delivery which should be fine as you'll probably need more.
     
  5. vi edit

    vi edit Elite Member <br> Super Moderator
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    Do you have access room for a dump truck to get in there? I'm getting 8 ton of pea gravel delivered to a playground area of around 600 sq/ft @ 3" deep for $200 from a local gravel pit. It's way cheaper than paying by the bag at home depot.
     
  6. HardcoreRobot

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    buy it by the yard and have it delivered
     
  7. vi edit

    vi edit Elite Member <br> Super Moderator
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    Re: Rock vs. Mulch...

    Just remember with mulch that it will break down and need replacing every year or so. Rock is essentially lifetime warranty :)
     
  8. CLite

    CLite Golden Member

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    I would think landscaping companies that offer mulch by the cubic yard and deliver by dump truck would be cheaper, but perhaps not. Keep in mind for mulch to look good you will need a refresher every few years.

    Pachysandra is good ground cover if the area doesn't get too much sun. Plant a few and they will grow fast, you just want to make sure to make clear borders.
     
  9. NuclearNed

    NuclearNed Raconteur

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    Our local mulch guy charges $22 for one bucket full on his front end loader. I think that's about 1 cubic yard.
     
  10. FerrelGeek

    FerrelGeek Diamond Member

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    You're talking about 9 cubic yards. The cheapest mulch will cost you ~$28-30 / yard, plus delivery. If you only want covering and aren't going to plant anything, pea gravel is a good option.
     
  11. DrPizza

    DrPizza Administrator Elite Member Goat Whisperer
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    Buy it by the cubic yard and have it delivered in a dump truck. Far cheaper than Home Depot. Also, next time you're at home depot, take a tape measure and do some simply math: find the volume of the pallet of mulch in cubic feet. (LxWxH)

    It's amazing how they're able to fit 70 or more TWO-cubic foot bags inside less than 100 cubic feet. "Some settling of contents may have occurred." I can't believe no one calls them out on this. That stuff doesn't fluff up when you pour it out of the bag.
     
  12. DrPizza

    DrPizza Administrator Elite Member Goat Whisperer
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    9 cubic yards? No, I think he's right about a smaller front end loader (the size they might have at a nursery or somewhere) - about a yard per scoop. It's sold locally to me that way. A cubic yard is 27 cubic feet.
     
  13. Pens1566

    Pens1566 Diamond Member

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    I think the 9 yards is about right, maybe even a little on the low side. We had to cover a little more than what OP is looking to and we ended up just barely making it with 10 yards while skimping in some of the areas.

    To answer the OP, get it delivered by the yard from a mulch company. Much cheaper than bags.
     
  14. EagleKeeper

    EagleKeeper Discussion Club Moderator<br>Elite Member
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    I paid $125 for a dump truck full of gravel that was used to replace mulch along the flower beds and the back areas. ($25 for the drop off and $100 for the rock) Originally by the bag it would have been $200 and 8-10 trips. They dumped it in the drive; a shovel and wheelbarrow kept me busy the next few weekends.

    AS Vi_edit stated above; the mulch will breakdown over 1-2 years. The rock does not.

    Determine your square footage.
    For mulch - you want 6 inch thickness
    For rock 3-4 inch

    That will allow you to determine your volume in cubic yards; Allow 15-20% overshoot
     
    #14 EagleKeeper, Apr 9, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2012
  15. GagHalfrunt

    GagHalfrunt Lifer

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    Spend more and get the rock. As others have said, mulch is not a permanent solution. Two years from now you'll be right back to square one.
     
  16. BoomerD

    BoomerD Lifer

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    What's the area going to be used for?
    I personally HATE pea gravel, and would like to pummel the asshat who convinced the previous owners of my house to remove all the bark in the various flower beds and replace it with pea gravel...13 years later, I'm still trying to get rid of it all...even though they put down a cheap weed cloth, it's worked its way into the soil by several inches.

    If the area is 1400 SF, figuring a 3 inch depth, 1400/.25 = 350 Cu Ft /27

    That's almost 13 cu. yards of material...

    2 inches of coverage would be about 9 yards.

    How deep it should be will depend on what material is used, and what the area will be used for.
     
  17. Doodoo

    Doodoo Golden Member

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    I ended up ripping out most of the landcape fabric when we moved into our house. Over the years, the mulch broke down and then weeds started growing on top of the fabric and into it. Made ripping out the weeds a pain in the ass.

    Thinking about getting gravel, but don't really like the look of it.
     
  18. IronWing

    IronWing Lifer

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    Get pea gravel. It is great for keeping coots out of the yard.
     
  19. Pens1566

    Pens1566 Diamond Member

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    Only problem with rock is if you ever want to remove it. Good luck with that.
     
  20. vi edit

    vi edit Elite Member <br> Super Moderator
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    Fair enough. But if you don't plan on doing anything for years it still beats having to remulch every year or two depending on where you live.

    When I'm done with my playground area maybe I'll just turn it into a volleyball or horseshoe pit.

    :D
     
  21. DrPizza

    DrPizza Administrator Elite Member Goat Whisperer
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    Duh, I thought you were responding to the poster prior to you that a scoop was a yard. Sounds like a good enough estimate.
     
  22. iGas

    iGas Diamond Member

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    Perhaps free garden waste/mulch/wood chip from the local local newspaper/craigslist landscaping/yard clean up services.

    A friend of mine got 33 yards of mulch for free & free delivery last week.
     
  23. bbhaag

    bbhaag Diamond Member

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    Contact your local nursery/garden center and see what a cubic yard of River Rock runs.
    We charge $60 a yard and that covers about 150 sq. feet at a 2" depth and if your in town our delivery charge is $30.
    River Rock is bigger than pea gravel and looks a hell of a lot better in the landscape. It maybe more expensive up front but you don't have to top dress it every couple years like you would mulch.
     
  24. alkemyst

    alkemyst No Lifer

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    Yeah rock is lifetime. Idiot here used it at one point and got the cheapest crap he could find (pea sized white rocks even a step down from pea gravel). It's not a problem in most areas where my lawn is, but all my planted beds I had to majorly redo and I still find those shitty pebbles time to time.

    Being you are putting down fabric would make renovations later easier.

    Home Depot/Big Box is not the way to go for a major landscapeing projects. Call up your local garden centers/farmer's markets and profit.

    I can't remember what I paid, but I sourced Home Depot / Lowes for mulch (that I'd have to load into a $20 truck rental) vs a farm market we by our vegetables at and plants.

    It was less than half the price and they delivered it. All in bags on the front yard. I could have paid more and had them put it down, but I'd have to be there and they had no availibility compatible with my schedule a few months out. They always had openings for drop off though, so I went with that.
     
  25. EagleKeeper

    EagleKeeper Discussion Club Moderator<br>Elite Member
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    If you have small kids and need to remove rock; convince them to fill up the wheel barrow.

    Fun for them and easy on your back.