How 3 People and a Few Machines are Laying 35 Pallets a Day w/ Zak Key

How can a 3-man team pull off subbing for a company with 135 employees? 

By working smarter, not harder. And you do that by investing in the right equipment. 

Our latest guest is Zak Key, a hardscape installer for his dad’s company, Key Landscape & Irrigation in Keene, NH.

What makes Key Landscape so special is their focus and dedication to mechanically-installed permeable pavements. In 2020, their 3-person crew installed over 65,000 square feet of residential and commercial permeable pavements. Some projects saw them lay over 35 pallets per day! In this episode, we break down what equipment Zak’s crew uses and how to get the most out of it. 

The labor challenge is VERY REAL and smart contractors continuously evaluate ways to improve efficiency and productivity. This can be achieved by changing installation methods, using different materials and favoring the use of specialized equipment. Key Landscape does all of the above. 

We discuss: 

  • How Zak’s 3-man operation manages to perform the work of a much larger organization (without being tired all the time!)   
  • How to determine when and what equipment to invest in 
  • How courses and certifications have helped Zak along the way 

Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

  • Zak’s Instagram which has lots of great videos of this equipment in action 
  • Pave Tool Innovator’s Vacu-Mobile Allrounder (the main machine we talk about in the episode) 
  • How geogrid works in pavement to reduce base thickness
  • Learn about the 3 different base types for paver installation 

Find this interview and many more by subscribing to Hardscape Growth on Spotify, on Apple Podcasts, or on our website.  

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Hardscape Growth in your favorite podcast player.  

Have an idea for an episode, or a problem you’d like to see us explore? Hit us up at or send us a DM on Instagram @hardscaper_ 

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