Ben Deblock – Castle Gardens Groundscapse


“The whole project was just an epic fail,” explained Ben Deblock of Castle Gardens Groundscapse, based out of Vestal, NY, when he was asked about a recent project he worked on using the Alliance Gator Base.

“A company had come in two years ago and installed pavers and their installation was about as wrong as it could possibly be. […] So, it wasn’t entirely a straightforward Gator Base application, we did have to use a bit of crusher to get us going in the right direction. Ultimately, I think we cut out two thirds of the total volume/weight of crusher that the square footage—which was around 700-750 sq. ft. of pavers that we laid.”

Castle Gardens Groundscapes has been in business for the past nine years, with the hardscaping segment of their business playing an increasingly important role. “We started out doing just little walkway projects and we’ve expanded now, to doing whole outdoor living spaces.”

After seeing the Gator Base at a nearby product showcase he decided he wanted to give it a try. The project in question involved a large pathway and poolside patio that would have to be removed and reinstalled. With restricted access to the worksite, limiting the type of equipment that could be used, this was the perfect time to test-drive the Gator Base system. “This project we just used it on: a very tight location to get into. It was just going to be a really time consuming excavation with, you know, pick and shovels, and moving crusher run back and forth. It’s an ideal product I thought for that particular job.”

“The installation of the Gator Base was extremely easy, a little unconventional in the sense of screeding out sand and running a tamp over it. So we were a little bit skeptical about that. […] But once we screeded out our sand and put the Gator Base down, it was pretty easy,” DeBlock pointed out.

After having experimented with the Gator Base on a bit of an unusual job site, he figured that he would try a more traditional application to better test out the time-saving potential of the product, “my house for instance, I was just putting in a 15’x12’ patio and in four hours, I had it excavated, sand screeded and the Gator Base put down; ready to lay pavers. I did it by myself, so I didn’t have any labor expenses involved other than myself, so I can speak to the Gator Base from my own personal project and the success of that. Yeah, it worked great there. […] I can testify to the product itself, based on the work that I did at my own house.”

As the saying goes “time is money,” and that certainly proved to be the case on this particular job. By replacing the usual crushed stone subgrade with the Gator Base panels, the amount of time and effort that goes into a project drops dramatically, with that comes savings. “I know for the 12 x 15 patio I did at my house, I cut out two laborers working with me, so in a day’s time, that’s a few hundred dollars right there. […] I mean you cut out crusher run and you put in Gator Base you’re paying more for the product than you are for the crusher run, but your labor savings is pretty significant. So, I mean I would say that a few hundred dollars was the net savings on just the 12 x 15 patio,” estimated DeBlock.

In addition to being a happy user of the Gator Base product, Castle Gardens Groundscapes is no newcomer to the Gator line of products. “We used Gator edging, we do use the Gator Maxx polysand. For the most part I really like the Gator Maxx sand because it’s really fine, when you’re working with tighter bond lines on your pavers, it really gets down into the joints really well.”


For more, you can visit Castle Gardens Groundscapes at cggroundscapes.com
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