How to Measure Fill Dirt

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Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape

  • Calculator

Make sure the dump truck brings you enough fill dirt using a simple calculation.

Ordering the right amount of fill dirt for your project can be confusing if you're not used to calculating cubic yards, the standard unit of measurement used by landscaping, excavation and hauling companies. While it may seem difficult at first, the actual calculation is simple. Once you familiarize yourself with the formula, it should take only a few minutes to figure out the amount you need to order.


Step 1

Measure the length and width of the area to be covered. This job is easier with two people if you are using a short tape measure for a large area.

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Step 2

Determine the depth of coverage needed.


Step 3

Calculate the amount of fill needed with this formula: Width x Length x Depth divided by 27. All these dimensions should be calculated in feet. For example, to find the volume of an area 25-feet wide by 36-feet long with a depth of 3-inches, enter 25 x 36 x .25 (3-inches is .25 feet) = 225. Divide 225 by 27 (the number of cubic feet in a cubic yard) and the answer is 8.33 cubic yards.


Actual coverage will vary with the type of fill dirt delivered. Since delivery charges are usually the largest portion of the cost for small jobs, you may want to order slightly more than the calculated amount. Calculate irregular areas by breaking them into square or rectangular sections and adding the total areas together. This total can then be multiplied by the depth and divided by 27 to give you the total cubic yards required.


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