How to estimate decorative stones and chips

Updated July 19, 2017

The majority of gardens around the world would ordinarily seem plain if it wasn't for the addition of decorative stones and chips. These basic elements can contribute to and amplify the general aesthetic of greenery and foliage of any garden. With a seemingly limitless variety of stone and wood chip, estimating amounts and costs would seem difficult as the types of materials have different sizes and coverage specifications. With the right instructions, just about anyone can easily estimate decorative stone and chip amounts and costs.

Measure the length and width of the area to be covered with decorative stones or chips. If this area has an irregular shape, you can break it up into smaller sections with shapes that are easier to calculate.

Multiply the length dimension by the width to find the total area in square feet. If you have to break up the space into smaller sections to calculate their area, add the square footage calculations to find the total area of that space.

Divide the total area by 6 to calculate the amount of decorative material (at a 2 inch depth) in cubic feet.

Repeat Steps 1 through 4 on any other areas to be covered with stones or chips.

Call your local home improvement store to quote the size (in cubic feet) and current price per package of decorative material. Divide the total amount of material needed (calculated in Steps 3 and 4) by the amount of material per package to find the total number of packages you will need; if the number you find has a decimal, round up to the next higher whole number. Multiply the number of packages by the current price per package to find the total cost of material. Some types of material may be available in a loose form in which case you can simply order the amount of material (in cubic feet) that you will need.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Calculator
  • Pencil and paper
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

J. Cavan Barry is an architecture student with over a decade of experience in the general construction field, and four years in architecture. Barry also has nearly a decade of automotive repair experience and is an avid auto enthusiast. After finding an interest in creative writing, he began writing a novel and recently finished the first draft.