If you are a parent of fur kids you know that they, just like human kids, need a place where they can burn off that excess energy they collected while patiently waiting for us to come home each day. So it’s no surprise that dog parks are the fastest growing segment of urban parks in the country (and Indianapolis is no exception)! A 2015 City Park Facts report generated by The Trust for Public Land shows that the number of dog parks has grown by 20 percent in the last five years with no signs of slowing down!
As places like apartments and retirement homes become more fido-friendly, dog parks are being added as a way to attract new tenants as they provide a great place for our rovers to run and socialize with the surrounding canine community in a way most other settings do not allow. Dog parks are also great places for dog lovers to connect and trade tips and strategies for keeping up with their four-legged companions.
Considerations for Your Dog Park
If you are new to the idea of dog parks and are thinking of adding one to your neighborhood or apartment complex, you’ll want to consider the following as you begin the planning process for your perfect puppy play area!
Dog parks range in size and all depend on the equipment you chose. It is best to find a level area that naturally drains well to avoid injuries to dogs while playing and muddy play. If you do not have a space like this, by working with a contractor you can create one through some excavation and adding proper drainage.
There are lots of options when it comes to surface. Unlike human playgrounds fall height is not as big of a concern so there is no guideline as to what surface or how thick it should be. Below are few options and their pros and cons.
This is becoming very popular and is very aesthetically pleasing, however, it is very costly and also does not drain particularly well. This surface can also trap odors making for an unpleasant experience.
An IPEMA certified playground mulch is great option as it is fall friendly and ADA Accessible. It also drains well and is not as rough on the paws. We recommend it in small areas around play activities with grass in between.
This is very aesthetically pleasing as well. If the right preparations are made drainage, is not an issue and it is good on the paws as well. This option does cost a bit more, but is very durable and looks great.
Lastly, good old fashioned grass is always a great option. If your area drains well and is maintained, a natural grass area for your pet is a good and affordable choice. As mentioned, mulch can also be added for variety.
Gravel is also an option, but due to it’s rough texture and poor drainage ability, we do not typically recommend going this route. If you have questions about any of the dog park surfacing options, give us a call at (317) 776-7830 and we’d be happy to further discuss the features and benefits of each to help you decide on the perfect surface (or combination of surfaces) to meet your needs and budget.
It is highly recommended to add a containment fence (minimum six feet high) around your area to keep the dogs from running off into harm’s way. An entry and exit point that involves double gates to create a “transition” area allows guests to enter and exit without letting another pet to leave the park on their own. Commercial grade fences are preferred as they generally designed to be more durable than residential fences. The choice between an open fence or a privacy fence is usually based on preference and location. If there is a lot of activity near the park, then a privacy fence is a good idea to keep dogs from being distracted.
4. Shade & Lighting
Either natural or artificial, it is essential to have at least a portion of the area shaded to give both pets and their humans a spot to stay cool on a hot day or protect from unexpected rain. This is not only is a good measure for health and safety, but also invites more guests to your area. If the park is to be open during non-daylight hours, you will want to consider adding lights to keep everyone safe as well.
In order to get the best enjoyment out of your park, there are few key items that you should definitely consider adding to your space.
A water fountain is important to keep everyone happy and hydrated during play time. These are available as combos and work for dogs and their human companions as well!
Including a couple areas for the human to rest is essential. Picnic tables are nice, but probably not for their intended use as lunch in the dog park will probably invite lots of dinner guests!
Everyone does it. No one wants to talk about it, so a nice covered waste receptacle (with optional tools for scooping and bagging) is essential to a clean and healthy space for your best friend.
No dog park is complete without a few activities for your dog. Below are a just a few of the many that are available:
Agility equipment is great fun and exercise for your dog. Through the combination of a couple pieces, you can create quite the workout for your pet. From hurdles to tunnels, weaving poles and teeter totters, agility dog playground equipment creates an outdoor gym for your pal.
One of the neatest trends in dog park equipment is the nature products! These items are handcrafted and painted to look just like those you’d find in nature, including boulders to stand on and log tunnels to run through. A nature theme is visually pleasing and familiar to guests.
At Recreation Unlimited, we love our dogs and we would like to help you with your next pet-centered project. Our commercial team can provide you with wide selection of activities, amenities, and surfaces for your dog friendly addition. Whether you’re looking to build an indoor dog park, an outdoor off leash dog park, or are simply looking to add a few pieces to an existing puppy play area, we’ve got you covered! When you’re ready to get started, (or would just like to learn more), give us a call at (317) 776-7830. We would love to help you bring your ideas to reality!