Last Modified: April 4, 2024

Bark and Wood Chip Calculator

Estimate Your Garden Needs Confidently

An old forest with pine trees

By Ben Parrot – Landscape Gardener & Amateur Geologist


Welcome to our online decorative bark calculator page. Are you planning to build a DIY play area or wood chip path, and now you’re asking yourself, “How much wood chippings do I need?” If so, we have the answer! In this article we will provide you with access to our online calculator and show you how to easy it is to get an accurate estimate of how much bark or wood chip you will need for your project.

Also, don’t miss out on our ‘Pebble Picker’ tool in the sidebar or menu. With it you can choose and browse every decorative aggregate by colour and type with ease.

Key Takeaways

  • Online Calculator: Click to go straight to our bark and wood chipping calculator.
  • Depth Units: Calculating the depth is key for how to calculate how much bark you need.
  • Fall Height: Determine the correct depth for play area fall height safety and pop into our calculator.

Fresh chipped wood close up

“A carpenter always measures twice and cuts once.”

The key to getting the right amount of materials starts with the right measurements and knowing what the minimum depth required is to achieve your goals. That’s why it is important to measure correctly and use tools like an online garden bark coverage calculator.

Measurement Units You Need to Know

When calculating volume, our calculator returns answers in cubic metres, all in readiness for placing your order. Suppliers in the UK generally sell by the ㎥, with one standard bulk bag usually equivalent to 1 cubic metre.

Depth Units: The Basics

Metres, feet, centimetres, inches, cubic metres: they are all ways to measure up your project area. With our calculator, you will be able to input feet or metres to calculate the total area. However, for the depth you will need to use centimetres. The reason for this is that we also provide some exact depth units which are the recommended measurements for play area safety applications.

In case you have already measured the depth of your proposed installation in inches, then you just need to divide that number by 2.54 in order to get the number of centimetres for our bark chip calculator.

Children playing on a wood swing image by maria from

What is the Right Amount of Wood Chips?

The optimal quantity of wood chips for any garden project hinges on the specific goals and dimensions of the area in question. Generally, a layer of 5 to 10 centimetres (2 to 4 inches) is best for mulching, providing sufficient coverage to suppress weeds, regulate soil moisture and temperatures. When using wood chips for play area projects or pathways, the depth might need to be increased to 15 centimetres (about 6 inches) or more for safety, durability and effectiveness. For a comprehensive exploration of the various options available, check out our article: Wood Chip 101.

For play areas fall height safety, please check the table below.

Calculating the Amount of Bark Mulch Needed

As with wood chips, it always comes down to the type of application and the practical outcomes you are seeking to achieve. Whether it is for or for use as a play area safety service, there are a few ways to calculate the optimal amount of bark mulch accordingly.


When using bark chippings for mulch, weed control and soil improvement, apply a depth between 5 cm and 7.5 cm. A deeper layer of 7.5 cm is more appropriate for areas which haven’t been previously mulched. Now that you have the depth, just put the area measurements into our bark mulch calculator.

For Play Areas

If you are using play bark or hardwood chips as a safety play surface, the ‘critical fall height’ is a significant factor to establish before you can work out exactly how much you need. This is crucial to getting the right depth.

Critical Fall Height Safety

If you are building a play area, or some kind of feature where fall safety is an issue, then you will need to lay the materials at a minimum depth. Below is a table of tested critical fall heights for materials in an uncompressed state. Compare the highest point of your playground equipment and reference the type of materials for that height in order to find out the minimum that you will require to provide for the safety. Once you have your measurements and know the depth that you require, you can proceed to our bark chippings calculator, below.








Play chip




Play bark




Engineered wood fibre




Fine sand




Coarse sand




Pea gravel




Medium gravel




Taken from page 5 of ‘The Handbook For Playground Safety’.

*For the uncompressed depth of each material.

Bark and Wood Chipping Calculator

Outdoor Aggregates Wood Chip Calculator

Switch to:ImperialLength (metres):Width (metres):Depth (cm):Density (kg/㎥):Price/bulk bag:Click/EnterCalculate


Total Area:㎡Volume Required:㎥Weight in Total:kgBulk Bags:Total Cost:

(excluding delivery)

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Buying in Bulk: What to Expect

Most suppliers will deliver bark mulch or wood chippings bulk bags to your curbside. For even bigger projects, you can have the loose fill wood chips delivered by a tipper truck, but you will need to contact the retailer directly to ensure delivery will be possible to your area.

Pile of wood chippings on a driveway. Jpg

Commercial photography by StudioRoost


Bark mulch is an essential and environmentally friendly decorative aggregates which can be used for many different purposes. When you employ the use of an online bark and wood chip calculator, you will be best position to order the right amount for your project without excessive wastage or inconvenient shortfalls.

Wood chip play area with climbing frame


How Much Bark Chippings do I Need?

How much bark or wood chips you will require depends on the type you are using and what you are using it for. For example, the depth you will need for a wood chip play area will generally be a few times greater than you would for weed control or mulching.

How do you calculate how much wood chip you need?

The easiest way to calculate how much wood chip you need is to measure the area, calculate the depth you require and then put the results into our calculator.

What area will 100L of bark cover?

Depending on the depth, 100 L of bark will cover between 1 and 2 m².

How much chip bark do I need?

The amount and depth depends on what the purpose of your project is. For safety surfaces you will need to consult the table above. For mulching generally between 5 cm and 7.5 cm depth will be sufficient.

How deep should bark chippings be?

For mulching gardens, 5-7cm is ideal. Play areas will require 15 – 30cm for safety. Please consult the table above and then use our bark chippings coverage calculator.

How do I calculate how much bark I need?

The most straight-forward method for determining the amount of wood chips you require is to measure up and then enter the length, width, and preferred depth into our bark mulch coverage calculator.

How much does 1 tonne of bark cover?

This is also a cubic metre of bark which will cover approximately 20 square metres with a depth of 5cm.

How much will a cubic metre of bark cover?

Depending on depth, a full cubic meter of metre can cover 15-20 square metres.

There are many varieties of wood chippings available for your play area or project. Check out them out!

About the author 

Ben Parrot is a landscape gardener and amateur geologist. He is the founder of Outdoor Aggregates, with the mission to create the first encyclopaedia for decorative aggregates. From natural stone through to decorative bark, these aggregates are critical to garden and landscape design, universally.

The problem: There isn't any place where all the different types of decorative landscaping materials and construction aggregates can be found, nor are the specifications of each type readily available. So, enriched by his extensive experience, and inspired by the timeless elegance and raw beauty of stone and rock, etched by nature's artistry over millennia, Outdoor Aggregates was born.