How to Calculate Area in Square Yards

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Sometime around sixth grade was the time that you may have learned how to figure the area of a space by counting tiles on the floor. Well, that may have been a long time ago, and now you want to figure out how much carpet you need or how much mulch to buy to cover your garden. Maybe you need to know how much concrete is needed to pour a circular slab for a new hot tub. Memory may serve you in figuring the square footage, but many times, you'll need to figure out the square yards of an area. While you're at it, throw in the cubic yards needed for that concrete DIY project. Don't worry — it's really not as scary as you might think.

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Square Feet of an Area

To start, you'll need to know the length and width of an area. The size of the area will determine the size of the measuring tool you use. A simple tape measure is all you really need, but if you're figuring an area that's larger than a 25-foot tape measure can handle, then you may want to consider a larger tape measure.

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Start by measuring the length of the space and then the width. Multiply the length by the width to get the area. For instance, a room that is 12 feet long and 10 feet wide will give you an area of 120 feet (12 x 10 = 120). See? It's not that scary.

Converting Square Feet to Square Yards

This is where the rubber meets the road in getting the results you need to order that carpet. Once you figure out the square footage of an area, simply divide that figure by the 9 square feet in 1 square yard. So, to get back to the example, those 120 square feet equate to 13.33 square yards (120/9 = 13.33). Still not scary, right?

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The area for which you want to get garden mulch may be a little bigger. Say the garden is 10 feet wide and 100 feet long. That gives you 1,000 square feet and roughly 112 square yards. That's not so hard to figure out.

Calculating Square Yards in a Circle

Round or circular areas may be a little more confusing, but accuracy may help you save a little money on the delivery of mulch or concrete that you want to order. To figure a round or circular area, you may remember learning about pi (roughly 3.14) — not the blueberry kind, but the kind you use to figure the area of a circle.

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There was also a little something about numbers squared. Remember that course you took called algebra that you thought you would never use? Figuring a square is taking a number and multiplying that number by itself. So to put it all together and figure out the area of a circle, you need to multiply pi by the radius squared. The radius is half of the circle's overall dimension at its widest point.

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So a 100-foot circle has a radius of 50 feet. Let's look at that 100-foot circle and put this to rest: 3.14 x (50 x 50) = the area, or 3.14 x 2,500 = 7,850 square feet in that 100-foot circle. Now, divide that 7,850 square feet by 9 and find that it is 872.2 square yards.

Figuring Cubic Yards

Figuring cubic yards is nothing more than figuring the area and adding some depth to it and then dividing by 27 (1 cubic yard is 27 cubic feet). So that 1,000-square-foot area in which you want to pour 3 inches of concrete will need to be figured. For starters, 3 inches is one quarter of a foot, so you will need to multiply 1,000 x 1/4, or 0.25, and find out that it's 250 cubic feet. Now divide those cubic feet by 27 to get 9.25 cubic yards. Now's the time to get the tape measure out, along with a pencil and some paper, and order some concrete.

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