One question we get so many times each year is: how much compost do I need? Also, what *actually* is a cubic yard, and how do I calculate cubic yards to gallons?! Worry not – we’re here – with calculators – to walk you through it!

Compost should be added to your soil at a ratio of 1 part compost to a minimum of 2 parts native soil.

  • For lawns: Lawns can look great without chemicals. Aerate your lawns, then apply 1/4 – 1/2 inch of compost and gently rake into existing soil. Reseed and water as usual.
  • For vegetable or flower gardens: Apply 1 – 3 inches of compost and rototill or mix into existing soil.
  • For fall garden cover crop: Spread 1 – 3 inches of compost and seed cover crop in the fall to protect exposed soil. Incorporate the cover crop into the soil and proceed with gardening as usual.  

Compost Calculator

1 Cubic Yard of Compost Covers

SQUARE FEETATDEPTH
324 sq. ft.at1″ depth
162 sq. ft.at2″ depth
108 sq. ft.at3″ depth
81 sq. ft.at4″ depth
65 sq. ft.at5″ depth
54 sq. ft.at6″ depth

Cubic Yds. Required to Cover 1,000 sq ft

LAYER (INCHES)GREATER THANCUBIC YARDS
1/4 inch layer0.75yd3
1/2 inch layer1.5yd3
1 inch layer3.0yd3
1 1/2 inch layer4.5yd3
2 inch layer6.0yd3
2 1/2 inch layer7.5yd3
3 inch layer9.0yd3

Cubic Yds. Required for
Various Depths of Coverage

SQUARE FEET1/32″1/16″1/8″1/4″1″2″3″
1,0000.100.190.390.78369
5,0000.480.971.943.8815.53146.5
10,0000.971.943.887.75316293
43,560 (1 acre)4.228.4416.8833.76135270405
100,0009.6919.3838.7577.5310620930