Landscaping Made Easy: Calculate Cubic Feet

how to calculate cubic feet for landscaping

To successfully plan and execute your landscaping projects, it’s essential to have an accurate estimate of the materials you’ll need. One crucial measurement in landscaping is cubic feet, which helps determine the volume of materials like soil, gravel, or mulch required for your project. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to calculate cubic feet for landscaping, providing you with a straightforward formula and helpful tips.

Understanding Cubic Feet and Cubic Yards

Before we delve into the calculations, let’s first understand the relationship between cubic feet and cubic yards. This knowledge will help you accurately measure and convert between the two units, ensuring precise material estimates for your landscaping project.

A cubic yard is equivalent to 27 cubic feet. It represents the volume of a yard that measures 3 feet in length, width, and height. When dealing with landscaping materials, such as soil, gravel, or mulch, measurements are typically provided in cubic yards. However, there are instances when you may need to determine the quantity in cubic feet to calculate the exact amount required for your project.

Why is it important to convert between cubic feet and cubic yards?

Converting between cubic feet and cubic yards is crucial for accurate material estimates. By understanding the conversion factor, you can ensure that you have the right amount of materials for your landscaping needs. It enables you to match the measurements provided by suppliers, making it easier to order the correct quantity and avoid any shortages or excess.

Now, let’s take a look at the conversion factor:

Cubic Feet Cubic Yards
1 0.037037037
3 0.111111111
5 0.185185185
10 0.37037037

Use this table as a reference to convert between cubic feet and cubic yards for your landscaping requirements. If you have a measurement in cubic feet, simply multiply it by the conversion factor to obtain the equivalent measurement in cubic yards.


If you have determined that you need 100 cubic feet of soil for your landscaping project, you can use the conversion factor to find the quantity in cubic yards. Multiply 100 cubic feet by 0.037037037 to obtain approximately 3.7037037 cubic yards.

It’s important to clarify any units of measurement with your suppliers to ensure that you are both on the same page. By being knowledgeable about the cubic feet and cubic yards conversion, you’ll have greater confidence in accurately estimating material quantities for your landscaping projects.

Determining Cubic Feet for Your Project

To determine the cubic feet required for your landscaping project, you’ll need to consider the shape of the area you are working with. Below are the formulas for calculating cubic feet for various common shapes:

  • Rectangular Area: Multiply the length, width, and height in feet.
  • Triangular Area: Calculate the base times the altitude times the height.
  • Circular Area: Use the formula radius squared times 3.14 times the height.

These formulas can be plugged into a cubic feet calculator or calculation tool to simplify the process even further. Whether you’re dealing with a rectangular, triangular, or circular area, knowing these formulas will help you accurately determine the cubic feet needed for your landscaping materials.

Calculating Cubic Feet for Different Shapes

When it comes to landscaping, accurate measurements are essential for estimating the amount of materials you’ll need. Calculating cubic feet is especially important as it helps determine the volume of materials required for your project. The good news is that there are specific formulas for different shapes that can simplify the calculation process.

Rectangular Areas:

For rectangular areas, the formula to calculate cubic feet is straightforward. Simply multiply the length, width, and height of the area in feet. The result will give you the cubic feet measurement. Let’s say you have a rectangular flowerbed that is 10 feet long, 6 feet wide, and 0.5 feet deep:

Length (ft) Width (ft) Height (ft) Cubic Feet
10 6 0.5 30

Triangular Areas:

If you’re working with a triangular area, the formula for calculating cubic feet involves multiplying the base, altitude, and height measurements. Let’s say you have a triangular garden bed with a base of 8 feet, an altitude of 6 feet, and a height of 0.5 feet:

Base (ft) Altitude (ft) Height (ft) Cubic Feet
8 6 0.5 12

Circular Areas:

Calculating cubic feet for circular areas requires using the formula: radius squared times 3.14 times the height. Let’s say you have a circular flower bed with a radius of 3 feet and a height of 0.5 feet:

Radius (ft) Height (ft) Cubic Feet
3 0.5 14.13

As you can see, the formulas provide a straightforward way to calculate cubic feet for different shapes. But if you prefer a more convenient approach, there are cubic feet calculators and calculation tools available online. These tools allow you to input the dimensions of your landscaping area and instantly obtain the cubic feet measurement.

By accurately calculating cubic feet for different shapes, you can ensure that you order the correct amount of materials for your landscaping project, avoiding any delays or shortages.

Next, we’ll explore how to adjust for irregularly shaped areas in section 4.

Adjusting for Irregularly Shaped Areas

In landscaping projects, you often come across irregularly shaped areas that require filling. These unique spaces can present a challenge when calculating cubic feet. However, with a systematic approach, you can accurately determine the volume of materials needed.

To tackle irregularly shaped areas, it’s best to break them down into smaller, more manageable pieces. By doing so, you can measure and calculate each section separately using the appropriate formulas for the specific shape.

For example, if you have an irregularly shaped area that can be divided into rectangular sections, measure the length, width, and height of each rectangle. Then, use the formula for calculating the cubic feet: length × width × height. Repeat the process for each separate rectangle within the irregular shape.

After calculating the cubic feet for each individual piece, sum up all the numbers to get the total cubic feet required for the irregularly shaped area. Keep in mind that these calculations provide an estimate, so it’s advisable to add a bit more to account for potential errors.

Let’s look at an example to illustrate this process further:


You have a landscaping project with an irregularly shaped area that consists of three distinct sections:

  1. A rectangular section with a length of 10 feet, width of 8 feet, and height of 4 feet.
  2. A triangular section with a base of 6 feet, altitude of 3 feet, and height of 5 feet.
  3. A circular section with a radius of 3 feet and a height of 6 feet.

To calculate the cubic feet:

  1. Rectangular section: 10 feet × 8 feet × 4 feet = 320 cubic feet
  2. Triangular section: (6 feet × 3 feet) ÷ 2 × 5 feet = 45 cubic feet
  3. Circular section: (3 feet × 3 feet) × 3.14 × 6 feet = 169.56 cubic feet

Total cubic feet: 320 cubic feet + 45 cubic feet + 169.56 cubic feet = 534.56 cubic feet

Remember, these calculations provide an estimate, so it’s always a good idea to round up and add a bit more to account for any errors or unexpected variations in the irregularly shaped areas.

Having an accurate understanding of the cubic feet required for irregularly shaped areas ensures you order the right amount of materials for your landscaping project, ultimately saving time, money, and effort.

Tips for Ordering Materials

When it comes to landscaping projects, ordering the right amount of materials is crucial. To ensure accuracy, you’ll need to calculate the cubic feet required for your project. Once you have this measurement, there are a few tips to keep in mind when placing your order.

  1. Order 30% more: It’s recommended to order about 30% more materials than your calculated amount. This accounts for potential losses during transportation, spreading, or slight measurement errors. This additional quantity acts as a buffer, preventing delays or shortages during your project.
  2. Consider material compaction: Some materials, like soil, have a tendency to compact when spread out. Ordering extra accounts for this compaction, ensuring you have enough material to achieve your desired results.
  3. Consult with professionals: If you’re unsure about the exact quantity you’ll need, it’s always a good idea to consult with landscaping professionals or suppliers who can provide guidance based on their expertise and experience.

By following these tips, you’ll be better prepared when ordering materials for your landscaping project. Having the right amount on hand ensures a smooth and efficient process, allowing you to bring your vision to life.

In the next section, we’ll explore the differences between bulk and bagged materials, helping you make an informed decision for your landscaping needs.

Bulk vs. Bagged Material

When it comes to sourcing materials for landscaping projects, you have the option of purchasing them in bulk or in bags. Bulk materials are typically delivered by truck and can save costs for larger projects. However, if you have a small area to cover or limited access, bagged materials might be more suitable. It’s important to consider the conversion between cubic feet and cubic yards when making this decision. Bagged materials usually include the volume in cubic feet on their packaging, making it easier to determine how much you need.

Conversion Chart and Handy Conversions

If you’re unsure about the conversion between cubic feet and cubic yards, don’t worry! A conversion chart can come to your rescue. Take a look at the table below for an easy reference:

Cubic Yards Coverage in Square Feet (at various depths)
1 324 sq ft at 1 inch depth
2 648 sq ft at 1 inch depth
3 972 sq ft at 1 inch depth
4 1296 sq ft at 1 inch depth
5 1620 sq ft at 1 inch depth

Remember, there are 27 cubic feet in a cubic yard. The coverage area in square feet depends on the depth of the material you’re working with. This handy chart makes it easy to determine how much material you’ll need based on the desired depth and area of coverage.

In addition to the conversion chart, it’s essential to be aware of some useful conversion facts:

  1. Weight of Different Materials:
    • 1 cubic yard of topsoil weighs approximately 2,000 to 2,200 pounds.
    • 1 cubic yard of gravel weighs approximately 2,400 to 2,900 pounds.
    • 1 cubic yard of mulch weighs approximately 400 to 800 pounds.
  2. Number of Bags or Truckloads:
    • A standard 40-pound bag of topsoil covers approximately 0.75 cubic feet.
    • A standard 50-pound bag of gravel covers approximately 0.5 cubic feet.
    • A standard 2-cubic-foot wheelbarrow load is equivalent to around 0.074 cubic yards.
    • A standard pickup truck can typically hold about 2 to 3 cubic yards of material.

Understanding these conversions can make your landscaping projects much easier to plan and execute. Whether you need to calculate cubic feet, estimate the weight of materials, or determine how many bags or truckloads you’ll need, these conversion facts and the handy chart will be your go-to references.

Now that you’re armed with valuable conversion information, you’re ready to confidently tackle your landscaping projects with precision and accuracy.


Calculating cubic feet for your landscaping projects doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By understanding the relationship between cubic feet and cubic yards, knowing the formulas for different shapes, and utilizing conversion charts, you can easily determine the amount of material needed for your project.

Whether you’re ordering bulk materials or purchasing bagged products, accurate calculations are crucial to avoid shortages or excess. By following these steps and using the cubic feet calculator for landscaping or cubic feet calculation tool for landscaping, you can ensure perfect material estimates and make informed decisions.

So, the next time you’re planning a landscaping project, take advantage of these resources and tools. With accurate material calculations, you’ll be able to create stunning outdoor spaces without any unnecessary setbacks or delays.