How Big is a Cubic Yard? (9 Common Examples)

Have you ever found yourself staring at a pile of debris or construction materials and wondering just how much space they occupy? Maybe you’re considering a home renovation project or need to find the right-size dumpster for your next big cleanup job. Either way, understanding the size of a cubic yard can make all the difference.

A yard is typically considered a small unit of measurement and equals 3 feet. A cubic yard is equivalent to 27 cubic feet or a staggering 46,656 cubic inches.

From household items to landscaping supplies, we’ll explore common examples of what fits into a cubic yard and unravel the mystery of this crucial measurement in the world of construction, landscaping, and beyond.

Four Water Tanks

Water Tank

Water tanks come in a variety of sizes and shapes, so the exact volume of a water tank would depend on the specific tanks in question. There are many sizes of water tanks, ranging from 50 gallons to 5,000 gallons and beyond.

Home Depot recommends a water tank size of 56 gallons for a family of 4, which is a decent capacity. However, to grasp the enormity of a cubic yard of water, one could picture filling the 56-gallon tank 4 times, which is quite a significant amount of water.

One and A Half Tons of Sand


One ton of sand is equal to 2000 pounds (907 kg) of sand. Therefore, 1.5 tons of sand would be equal to 3000 pounds (1361 kg) of sand. In terms of volume, the amount of sand that 1.5 tons represent can vary depending on the density of the sand, as different types of sand have different densities.

For example, if we assume a density of 100 pounds per cubic foot (1602 kg per cubic meter) for the sand, then 1.5 tons of sand would have a volume of approximately 30 cubic feet (0.85 cubic meters). Which is very close to a cubic yard.

However, if the sand has a different density, the volume could be higher or lower than this estimate.

Five Large Wheelbarrows


A wheelbarrow is a hand-propelled vehicle with a single wheel designed for carrying small to medium-sized loads. It typically consists of a tray or platform for holding the load, two handles for steering and controlling the wheel, and a single wheel at the front or center of the tray. The volume of a standard wheelbarrow is usually around 6 cubic feet or 170 liters. So, How Many Wheelbarrows in a Cubic Yard?

The answer is 5 large wheelbarrows would have a total volume of around a cubic yard or something very close to that. However, the exact volume may vary depending on the specific size and capacity of the wheelbarrows in question.

13 and Half Mulch Bags

How Many Bags Of Mulch In A Yard

Mulch bags typically come in different sizes and volumes. On average each mulch bag contains 2 cubic feet (56.6 liters) of mulch.

With this amount of mulch, 13.5 mulch bags would have a total volume of approximately 27 cubic feet (764 liters) of mulch, Which is equal to a cubic yard. 

The exact volume may vary depending on the size and density of the bags in question.

Related: How Many Bags Of Mulch In A Yard?

34 50-Pound Rice Sacks


Rice is an important food in many countries and cultures because it has lots of nutrition. Some people eat rice all the time, but others only eat it sometimes, especially in Western countries. In Asian stores, you can buy big bags of rice that weigh about 50 pounds and are 27 x 14 x 4 inches big. If you put 34 of these bags together, they will fill up a cubic yard of space.

19 Bags of 40-Pound Wood Pellets

 Wood Pellets

If you’re planning a summer trip to a log cabin, remember to bring some bags of pellets. These pellets can be used to heat the cabin when it’s cool outside and can also help you cook your fresh meat on a pellet stove.

Wood pellets are commonly packaged in 40- or 50-pound bags, with dimensions of roughly 27 × 18 × 5 inches or 2,430 cubic inches. To store a cubic yard of wood pellets, approximately 19 bags would be required.

Half of a 4-Person Jacuzzi Tub


Jacuzzi tubs come in different sizes and shapes, so the exact volume of half of a Jacuzzi tub would depend on the specific tub in question. 

The most popular size can hold four people comfortably and needs around 450 gallons of water to fill up. 

Surprisingly, if you only fill the tub halfway, it will hold just a bit more than a cubic yard of water. 

Four Drums of 55-Gallons

5 gallon point bucket

55-gallon drums are very useful and can be used for many things, like making compost or vertical gardens. Most people use them to hold liquids, like rainwater, which they use to water their plants. These drums are strong and can hold a lot of liquid, so they’re great for outdoor activities. 

A 55-gallon drum is a useful container that can hold a lot of liquid – up to 55 gallons! It’s important to know how to convert this measurement into other units, like cubic feet and cubic yards. If we use the conversion factor of 7.48 gallons per cubic foot, we can figure out that one cubic yard (which is equal to 27 cubic feet) can hold about 202 gallons of liquid, which is the same as four 55-gallon drums.

Six Large Moving Boxes

Moving Boxes

Selecting the right size moving boxes is key when it comes to packing up your belongings for a move. The large moving boxes offered by U-Pack are a popular choice, measuring 18 inches in length, 18 inches in width, and 24 inches in height, which equals a total volume of 7,776 cubic inches. 

If you’re planning to pack up your belongings for a move, you might be wondering how many large moving boxes you’ll need. Well, here’s a pro tip – a cubic yard of your stuff can be comfortably accommodated in 6 big boxes! Interestingly, this same number of boxes is suggested by U-Pack to be sufficient for packing 2-3 rooms in your home.


What are the dimensions of a cubic yard?

The dimensions of a cubic yard are:
Length: 3 feet
Width: 3 feet
Height: 3 feet

How much area can 1 cubic yard cover?

The area that 1 cubic yard can cover depends on the material’s thickness. For example:
If the material is 1 inch thick, 1 cubic yard can cover an area of 324 square feet.
If the material is 2 inches thick, 1 cubic yard can cover an area of 162 square feet.
If the material is 3 inches thick, 1 cubic yard can cover an area of 108 square feet.

What does 1 cubic yard look like?

1 cubic yard looks like a large cube with dimensions of 3 feet x 3 feet x 3 feet. It is roughly equivalent to the size of a standard washing machine or refrigerator.

What is 1 cubic yard of soil?

1 cubic yard of soil is a volume measurement of dirt, sand, or other types of earthy materials. It typically weighs around 2,200-2,500 pounds, depending on the moisture content of the soil.

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