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HOW TO CALCULATE A YARD?
If you have a square or rectangular surface, measure the length and width in feet, and the thickness in inches. Multiply the length by the width, and then by the thickness. Divide by 12, and then by 27. The result is the number of yards required. If you are using gravel, add 1/3 to take compacting into account.
To cover a square surface measuring 12 feet long by 12 feet wide with 4 inches of earth, you would need 1.78 yards of earth.
12 ft. x 12 ft. x 4 in. / 12 / 27 = 1. 78 yards
If you are covering a surface that has multiple sections, or if the surface is not square or rectangular, try to divide it into square or rectangular sections to facilitate your calculations. Calculate each section, and then add the sums to get your total required materials.