How do I decide how much mulch to buy?

How do I decide how much mulch to buy? Where do I go to find the kinds of materials that make good mulch?
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

Take a walk through your local garden center and you'll find many types of mulch: shredded bark in bags, washed river rock in bulk, and pebbles from pea to golf ball size. Each spring, the parking lots of discount stores fill up with mountains of bagged mulch. You also can find bulk suppliers in the telephone directory under Building Materials, Landscape Equipment and Supplies, Rock, or Stone. The choices can be confusing. Here are a few guidelines to get you started. Wood mulches are sold in bags or in bulk. A 2-cubic-foot bag will cover 8 square feet about 3 inches deep. The amount of gravel needed to cover an area will vary with the size of the pebbles. Generally, a ton of rock covers 100 square feet.  When buying in bulk, estimate that 1 cubic yard of material will cover 100 square feet about 3 inches deep.

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