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Waiting for a good sale at the local home improvement store is a decent way to save money on gravel or mulch, but if you’re willing to buy in bulk through landscape supply, you can save even more!
Now that we’re heading into fall and cooler temps in the Atlanta area, it’s the perfect time of year to turn my DIY attention to the yard once more (the summer just makes things too miserable to work all day in the heat!). I have a long to-do list, but you guys have already seen a few things already:
The Outdoor Project To-Do List
- Installing the new fire pit
- Overseeding the lawn (the grass is already doing great! Can’t wait to show you the results in a few weeks)
- Filling in new areas with gravel (that’s this post!)
- Mulching everything (the back hedge, the raised gardenia beds, the new hydrangea corner garden)
- Taking out that ugly chain link fence (did that this weekend, so I’ll have that post up soon!)
- The new pub shed (sooooo excited!)
- The new step-up deck
- Re-staining the Adirondack chairs
- Building in new seating around the fire pit
- & more
So since all of this is obviously a lot of work, I’m breaking it down for you guys post by post (it’s probably both easier for you guys to get all of the details this way as well as easier for me to write updates about). Note that these pictures span the last few weeks of making improvements in a lot of different areas, so you might see peeks of a few of these other projects too. Let’s start with gravel and mulch — a topic that seems boring, but actually makes for an incredible difference in the yard!
How I saved a LOT of money on mulch and gravel
When I last updated you about the fire pit, we ended here — with the new pit installed (save for a few tweaks, like leveling out that one uneven stone), plus a new ring of landscaping fabric and edging that needs to be filled in with gravel.
Considering the size of the ring I wanted to fill in, I figured doing things the same way like I did with the space around the A/C unit (with bags of egg rock) would be a really time-consuming process. Things like gravel and mulch go on sale at the local home store at least once a season, but I found an even better source in a local landscape supply.
Finding Cheaper Gravel Than at the Big Box Stores
There are a few suppliers in my area, but one of the closest was Green Brothers Earth Works* and had all of their prices listed online, which made it a lot easier to plan out. The general idea was to get half a ton of gravel and see how far that would take me, then go back for more (I now borrow my bf’s truck for these kinds of hauls, so time constraints aren’t nearly as stressful as when I had to get my dad to travel to my house and borrow his). My total cost: $15!!!
It was fun to watch everything scooped up and deposited into the truck. It was also super straightforward (specify the amount you want to buy at the front desk, pay, drive the truck around, fill) and they have quite a lot of options to choose from. I did some research online before going so I knew already the type I wanted, but you can also walk around and look through all of your options before making a final decision (gravel, mulch, paver stones, sod, sand, topsoil). I chose a crushed granite that was a medium-ish size — the idea being that it would likely stay within the confines of the edging in the yard (small stones like pea gravel have a tendency to spread and travel all over the place, which isn’t the greatest thing for when you want to mow the rest of the lawn).
Once I got home, we unloaded everything via wheelbarrow and spread with a rigid tine rake.
When we got toward the end, a push broom helped scoop out the rest from the truck (not particularly interesting, but I thought it was a smart solution).
I swear, I wish I’d started going to a place like this sooner. The savings alone! Though I should be clear that even though their prices are listed by the ton, it wasn’t an actual ton of how they measure things out… it’s based on the scoop of the bobcat (one scoop = one half ton, regardless of actual weight). Still, it’s considerably cheaper than the equivalent amount at the local home store when you buy by the bag (which even when on sale is around $4 per bag), so I’m very pleased with finding an inexpensive supplier.
Saving money on mulch — there’s a better deal than bags at the store!
The truckload filled in about half of the gravel area, but I’m going back this week to get another. I also took time over the weekend to get a truckload of dyed brown mulch and spread it around to the rear hedge line along the back fence, in the gardenia beds, and in the corner garden with all of the new hydrangeas (that area also needs gravel, but that will be taken care of with the next pickup!). It makes a HUGE difference in how cleaned up the yard looks! Here’s one example with the back hedge line: before…
And after! Granted, the chain link fence was also removed over the weekend (I’ll have a separate post about that… along with what happened to my neighbor’s broken fence, sigh), but all the new mulch looks spectacular.
Not bad for pre-fall progress (and don’t forget to pin so you can save this tip for later!)
*Just in case you guys were wondering, this isn’t sponsored, but I know you local readers might want to also check this place out!
I will have to check locally here. My driveway is in desperate need of gravel (interlocking & another) after I take back what the grass took and put in edging lol.
I love what you have done!
Wow it is really coming along back there! Can’t wait to see more pics!
All that rock was only $15.00???
YEP! Only $15!!! And the mulch for my hydrangea beds, hedge line, AND planter boxes was only $27!!!
Love all the work you have done. I was surprised at your selection of stone around the fire pit. Weren’t they a bit sharp to walk on. Keep up the great work so enjoy your commentary and your projects
No, it’s crushed granite and relatively easy to walk on… I chose against chipped slate for that same reason though (I thought the chips would be too harsh underfoot!)
What size ring pit do you have? I’m looking to build one similar in size as the one you have pictured.
Hi, I’ve got more details about our fire pit in this post!
AH! Thanks for sharing! I am always trying to find somewhere that can handle our mulch need and not rely on the bag sales. I am going to check this place out. I think we are going to get rid of all the pine straw in the back and fill in with grass/mulch.
How do you handle the dead leaves during the winter or following spring. I would love to do this, but even with a blower, would never get all of the leaves out.
In my neighborhood there aren’t a lot of leafy trees but rather pine straw, which by observing my neighbors it already looks like I’ll be able to take care of most of it with a blower. Otherwise I’ll have to toss debris into the fire pit to clean up. The area is brand new though, so maybe after a few seasons I’ll figure something out!
Looks great! We have a place up by us (Charlotte nc area) that does this, though they are true to weight. They actually had us drive our (parent’s) truck into a scale, then loaded, then reweighed the truck with the load. Sadly my in-laws hate traveling in their truck and the cost of delivery negates our mulch savings vs buying the bags at our local Lowes. :(
It’s indeed helpful to determine the area needed to be filled with gravel before actually attempting to order them. I’m considering to buy bulk gravel in the future because I’m setting up a rock garden across my actual garden in order to create an aesthetic contrast on my property. Having gravel all around would surely complement the grass on the other side.
I like the idea of using crushed granite or rock to stay in the confines of the edging in the yard. That way big pieces won’t be getting on to the walkway. It will stay on the side and look perfect like the rest of the landscape.
What do you do when you don’t have a truck to use?! :(
Depending on the amount you need, you can also get it delivered from some of the landscaping companies by the truckload. I’ve done that with fill dirt. The best way to take advantage of bulk discounts is to buy in bulk, so you can either haul it yourself with a truck or trailer or have it delivered (might be a fee with that, so do the math to make sure the discount is still there… it probably still is with that amount of volume). We have often needed several truckfuls of material to do front and backyard projects, so actually needing a delivery-level quantity wouldn’t be all that crazy to me.
Thank you for your amazing information on getting gravel and mulch at a better price!
Hi Sarah – I have a tip to share for loading dirt and rock in the back of a truck. We line the back first with a doubled over tarp, then line the bed with empty planter buckets. Larger ones to the outside(otherwise they are too heavy for us to unload) and smaller ones inside. Speeds up the unloading process and clean up and saves our 60 yr. plus backs. When a small amount is left, with two people, pull out the tarp and any rock or dirt and it saves clean up also. For our driveway gravel we put a commercial ground cloth down first and used large nails with washers on the edges. Ground cloth pins did not work on our rock filled ground.
This is a fantastic tip! Thanks for sharing!