If you’ve ever had plans to mulch your yard, you probably know how easy it is to spend more than $200 on materials alone. Uh, no thanks. Truth is, all you need is a good mulch sale to save 40% – 50% on your purchase!
I got knee-deep in the top mulch retailers and brands to figure out what a good price on mulch actually is, and how to save more with a mulch sale, bulk discounts, and more.
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1. To find the best price on mulch, always calculate the cost per cubic foot.
Mulch comes in all different sizes, packages, and varieties — which is why it’s so hard to compare prices across brands. To most accurately compare prices across different mulches, we always calculate the cost per cubic foot. Doing this will tell you where to get the best deal every time.
How to calculate the cost per cubic foot of mulch:
First, look at the price tag to see how much the item costs. Then, check the mulch package for its total cubic feet. Most packages have it listed front and center, but some brands place it in the bottom left or right corners of their packaging.
Then, divide the item’s total price by its total cubic feet (Price / Cubic Feet) to get the price per cubic foot.
2. Try not to pay more than $1.50 per cubic foot, and your goal is $1.
When it comes to wood-based mulch (as opposed to rubber mulch, which is far pricier), most price tags come out to about $1.70 or more per cubic foot. Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Menards are the only retailers I’ve found who consistently sell mulch below $1.70 per cubic foot.
I try to avoid paying regular retail prices when I can, especially when I’m shopping sales like Lowe’s Spring Fest and Home Depot Spring Black Friday. This is when you’ll find mulch for $1 per cubic foot.
If you need it now and can’t wait for a mulch sale, you’re probably looking at a price closer to that $1.70 per cubic foot number.
3. You’ll find the best mulch sale during spring at Lowe’s and Home Depot.
Lowe’s and Home Depot both run their big spring sales throughout April, so it’s by far the best time of the year to buy mulch. The Lowe’s Spring Fest sale started on on Thursday, March 30, 2023, and the Home Depot Spring Black Friday sale started on Thursday, April 13, 2023. While the spring deals on mulch are pretty good at both stores, Lowe’s deal is slightly better.
Home Depot promotes a “5 for $10” deal on Scott’s Earthgro mulch (reg. $3.97) for their spring sale, and each bag contains 1.5 cubic feet of mulch. Realistically, you don’t have to buy five bags to get the sale price. So each bag costs $2 no matter how many you buy.
If you take the sale price ($2) and divide it by the cubic feet (1.5), your cost per cubic foot comes out to just $1.33.
On the other hand, Lowe’s promoted the same “5 for $10” deal on their bags of Premium mulch (reg. $3.98). But these bags are bigger — you get two cubic feet of mulch instead of Home Depot’s 1.5 cubic feet. This brings your cost down to $1 per cubic foot at Lowe’s.
Related: Want to know how Lowe’s prices compare to Home Depot? Our Lowe’s vs. Home Depot guide will show you where to get things for the cheapest.
4. Get to know the best regular prices for top mulch brands.
Here are the top U.S. mulch brands and their everyday cost per cubic foot in 2023:
Menards has the most affordable store-brand mulch at $3.33 per bag — or $1.67 per cubic square foot.
Once in a while, Menards will offer a mail-in rebate, which gives you 11% off the regular price. So you’d pay $2.96 for two cubic feet, or $1.48 per cubic foot. That gets you a price below the $1.50 per cubic foot mark!
Timberline mulch at Lowe’s
Lowe’s cheapest mulch option is Timberline mulch, which sells for $3.48 a bag, or $1.74 per cubic foot. This Timberline mulch consists of mini pine bark nuggets, which help reduce the need for watering and control weed growth.
I was surprised to see Lowe’s store-brand mulch (reg. $3.98) cost more than the Timberline Mini Nuggets mulch (mentioned above). Lowe’s premium mulch comes out to $1.99 per cubic foot. Like the other store-brand options, Lowe’s mulch is available in red, black, and brown colors. This is the mulch to look for during Lowe’s SpringFest sale since the price drops to just $1 per cubic foot.
Vigoro mulch at The Home Depot
Vigoro mulch is available at Home Depot in black, brown, and red. The different colors indicate different primary sources of wood. Cypress is often used for brown mulch, cedar is used in red mulch, and black mulch is usually some form of hardwood (like oak). Employees I spoke with said they prefer the red cedar mulch because the cedar naturally acts as an insect repellent.
Home Depot sells Vigoro mulch for $3.97 ($1.99 per cubic foot). But Home Depot will occasionally run a sale, bringing the price down to $3.33 (or $1.67 per cubic foot). This isn’t the best price we’ve seen on Vigoro mulch, but it’s the current deal at Home Depot for the remainder of their Spring Black Friday sale.
Preen mulch at Lowe’s
Preen is one of the priciest brands of natural mulch (reg. $4.98). A Lowe’s associate explained to me that this mulch is treated with a weed preventer, and that’s why it’s more expensive. But at $2.49 per cubic square foot, Preen’s mulch is more than double the price of some on-sale mulch brands.
During Lowe’s SpringFest sale (until April 27), you can pick up a bag of Preen Mulch for $4.28 ($2.14 per cubic foot), but this still isn’t nearly as good as Lowe’s premium mulch deal.
Locally sourced mulch from Ace Hardware
While locally sourced mulch is your cheapest option at Ace Hardware, you’ll pay less at other stores. Ace Hardware’s mulch sells for $4.99 a bag, or $2.50 per cubic foot. That’s more than double some of the sale prices we’ve seen, particularly at Lowe’s.
Scotts Earthgro mulch at Home Depot
You don’t have to look hard for Scotts mulch, but if you want the best price, Home Depot is where you need to go. And you’re not getting a good deal unless you’re shopping Home Depot Spring Black Friday prices.
At regular prices, a 1.5 cubic-foot bag of Scotts mulch costs $3.97, which comes out to $2.65 per cubic foot. But during their spring sale, Home Depot slashes the prices to $2 per bag (or $1.33 per cubic foot).
5. Use a mulch calculator to figure out how much mulch you need.
Figuring out how much mulch you need for a given area isn’t as simple as just getting enough to cover the square footage of your garden. That’s because, for the best results, you want to have a mulch depth of 3 inches.
Getting enough mulch to cover both the square footage and that depth is, embarrassingly, math that I’d rather not solve by hand. I use this mulch calculator, which shows me how many bags of mulch I’ll need. It provides information for 2-cubic-foot bags and 3-cubic-foot bags. (And if you have a 1.5 cubic-foot bag, just double the amount they tell you to get.)
For instance, a 400 square foot area needs 3.7 cubic yards of mulch to hit that 3-inch depth (one cubic yard equals 27 cubic feet). The calculator says that I’ll need 50 2-cubic-foot bags of mulch to do the job, which could cost as little as $83.50 if I went with the Vigoro mulch at The Home Depot.
6. If you can’t pick up your mulch in stores, expect to pay for local delivery.
Mulch delivery can really rack up your overall costs. At Lowe’s, expect to pay $79 for local delivery. Menards charges $100 for delivery within 15 miles and way more for longer distances. Home Depot offers scheduled delivery for as low as $8.99, depending on where you live.
Ace Hardware, on the other hand, will give you free delivery on $50+ purchases if you’re an Ace Rewards member. Now, this isn’t a great option if you’re only buying mulch. But if you have other lawn and gardening needs on your shopping list, this can help you avoid a hefty delivery fee.
7. Or rent a truck from Lowe’s for $19 and transport the mulch yourself.
If you want to combine the best mulch prices with a much more affordable delivery fee, then how about making the delivery yourself? Lowe’s truck rentals are the answer. You can rent a truck for 90 minutes and only pay $19.
A word of caution: If you go over 90 minutes, then you’ll have to pay $119 for the full-day rental. So you might wanna get some help.
You can also rent a truck from Home Depot, but $19 will only get you 75 minutes.
8. The Home Depot will discount bulk mulch purchases — 10% off the regular price.
Home Depot has two categories for bulk mulch. The first is a bulk pricing discount (10% off regular price) they’ll apply to any purchase of more than 30 bags of mulch. This would bring Vigoro mulch, for example, down to $3.57, which means your price per cubic foot is only $1.79 (versus $1.99).
The other category is bulk mulch, which sounds similar but applies to folks who need 5 – 25 cubic yards of mulch.
The price per cubic foot for bulk mulch is higher than the individual bags I highlighted above, but Home Depot will give you free shipping. And at this size, it’ll take a dump truck to deliver your mulch, so take solace in the fact that this will be a convenient delivery method.
9. Mulch alternatives like wood chips or composting can keep your costs below $20.
Still shocked by mulch prices? There are plenty of cost-effective ways to nurture your garden without spending any money on mulch at all.
Compost bins are available on Amazon for $22, and these composting bags from Target are $6.49. It’s more work, as you’ll need to routinely cover your soil with your composted kitchen scraps, but hey, it’s effective.
Although wood chips don’t insulate your plants or retain water as well as mulch does, you can get free wood chips for your garden from Chip Drop. It sounds too good to be true, but Chip Drop exists to connect gardeners with tree trimmers and removers who are looking to get rid of excess wood chips.
Do you have any other questions about mulch? Drop ’em in the comments below!