How to Measure a Cubic Yard of Soil


Knowing how to measure a cubic yard of soil can come in handy for many landscaping projects. Some projects may involve needing to remove soil in your yard to be replaced by something else, such as gravel, concrete, or better soil, or you may be looking to add garden soil, compost, or mulch to your garden and need to know how much to purchase. Once you know how simple it can be to compute your basic measurements into cubic yards, you'll be able to use these steps for many projects.

Step 1

Measure the area of your future landscaping, garden or patio in feet. If your measurement isn't in exact whole feet, remember to multiply the inches by 12 to convert it to feet. For example, you would use 0.25 for three inches, 0.5 for six inches, and 0.75 for nine inches.

Step 2

Write down the length and width of the garden area. If it is 20 feet by 15 feet nine inches, you would write down 20 and 15.75 as your measurements. Multiply the two numbers together to get the square feet of the area.

Step 3

Determine how deep the soil is that you want to add or remove from the area. Multiply the number of inches deep by 12 to convert the measurement to feet.

Step 4

Multiply your answer from step two by your number from step three. This measurement is the cubic feet. If you are adding soil to your garden you may need to note this measurement on your page in case the product you are using is measured in cubic feet.

Step 5

Convert this new number from step four to cubic yards by dividing it by 27 (there are 27 cubic feet in one cubic yard). The final answer you have is how many cubic yards of soil you will be removing or need depending on the project.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Calculator, if needed


  • "New Complete Guide to Landscaping"; Better Homes and Gardens; 2002

Who Can Help

  • An online calculator for cubic yards
Keywords: cubic yards of soil, cubic feet of soil, how to measure a cubic yard of soil

About this Author

Margaret Telsch-Williams is a freelance, fiction, and poetry writer from the Blue Ridge mountains. When not writing articles for Demand Studios, she works for as a contributor and podcast co-host.