Step-by-Step Guide to Dog Park Design

Dog parks have become an essential component to providing local residents with a high quality of life. An increasing number of pet parents are looking for safe places where their pets can socialize and exercise. Beyond improving life for the people who live in a community, dog parks provide pets with an open space where they can run, play, socialize, and simply enjoy themselves.

This step-by-step guide to dog park design will make it easy for you to bring a new play area for pets to your community.

Step 1: Choose the Right Location

Location is everything when it comes to designing and building a new dog park. Before you begin choosing the extra features that you want to include in your dog park design, you will want to have found a location that will support your vision.

These are a few factors to consider when finalizing the location of your dog park:

  • Proximity of the park to local neighborhoods. Generally speaking, dog parks should be within walking distance or a short driving distance from nearby neighborhoods. Consider focusing on an area where residents need access to green spaces, such as nearby apartment complexes or neighborhoods with smaller yards.

  • Proximity of the park to existing parks. In some cases, you will be able to carve your dog park out of existing park space. You will need to work with your local municipality in order to see what is possible.

  • Amount of space. There is really no size requirement for a dog park, we’ve seen them as small as relief areas up to huge doggy havens.

Once you know the size and scope of the space you have available for your dog park, you can begin developing a budget and envisioning a dog park design plan.

Step 2: Budget and Funding

The budget for your dog park will depend on a variety of factors, such as:

  • The size of the dog park.

  • The amount of dog park equipment that you will need to purchase.

  • Fencing.

  • The amount of landscaping and installation work required.

  • What surfacing you decide to utilize.

  • The amount of maintenance required.

Remember, you don't necessarily have to fund your dog park on your own. There are many funding partnership opportunities as well as grants and sponsorship programs available, which can make it more feasible for you to design and develop a new dog park in your community.

Step 3: Designing the Layout

Once you have a budget established and a space outlined, you can begin designing the layout of your dog park. Most dog parks have two distinct areas: One for small breed dogs, and another separate area for large breed dogs. Keeping the dogs separated by size allows for a safer play environment, and helps prevent aggressive behavior between dogs.

Other areas may also be appropriate, one specifically we are beginning to see more often is a singles only space, that accommodates one dog at a time, this is great for older pups, or dogs who are post surgery.

In addition to outlining the separate dog park areas based on size, you also will want to accommodate traffic flow. Dogs as well as their human counterparts will be going in and out of the dog park areas, so you will want to create a cohesive design that keeps all dogs in the enclosure while still offering uninterrupted access, this is called a double gate.

Step 4: Fencing and Entry Points

After the design has been finalized, you can begin to select fencing as well as an entry system for your dog park. When choosing a fence for your dog park, you will want to:

  • Select a durable material that will be weather resistant. Most dog parks operate year-round, regardless of the weather conditions, so it's important to have a fence that will withstand the elements. Consider your local climate when choosing a fencing material.

  • Keep height requirements in mind. Fencing should be at least five feet high, as this will keep larger dogs from jumping over the fence.

As you are selecting an entry system, you will want to:

  • Prioritize double gated entry systems. These innovative entry points allow for a buffer zone between the public area and the dog park, giving dogs and their parents an opportunity to get acclimated before they enter the dog park, and keep other pups the opportunity to escape.

Step 5: Dog Park Equipment & Amenities

Dog parks are so much more than just an enclosed area where dogs can roam freely and play with their four-legged pals. They are designed to be interactive spaces where they can stimulate their minds, engage in socialization, exercise their bodies, and strengthen the human pup bond.

In order to create a successful dog park that is loved by humans as well as pets, you will want to strategically select dog park equipment and amenities that will appeal to both.

Essential Equipment for a Small Dog Park

If you are designing a small dog park, we would recommend add the the following:

Don’t want to miss out on any must-have agility items? Consider an all-inclusive course to help to simplify the process. At BarkPark, we offer a Small Dog Course and an Advanced Dog Course, featuring agility activities selected with small pups in mind.

Essential Equipment for a Large Dog Park

Similar to a small dog park, a large park needs the agility equipment essentials — and sometimes more of them, depending on the size. Depending on your budget and the overall size of your park, you may be able to purchase agility equipment that makes the park more inviting and exciting for the dogs who visit it.

Dog agility equipment that may be incorporated into a larger dog park includes:

Investing in dog agility equipment will not only make your dog park more appealing, but it will provide the dogs who visit with additional benefits. This equipment is designed to improve their mental fortitude, as it forces them to think about their movements and analyze the best way to navigate it. It also helps bolster their natural instincts while simultaneously boosting their confidence.

With that in mind, there are other routes you can take when it comes to buying dog park equipment for larger breeds. At BarkPark, we offer expertly crafted dog park courses ranging in equipment and difficulty levels to meet any budget. Choose from our best selling Novice Course, Intermediate and Expert-level courses, each one includes additional items of varying difficulty from moderate to advanced.

Essential Amenities for All Dog Parks

Big or small, no dog park is complete without its amenities. Once you’ve picked out your dog park equipment, it’s time to choose where you will place necessary items such as benches, trash cans, and more.

Here are a few items we recommend:

Fortunately, there are all-inclusive packages available that allow you to get all of the amenities you need for an affordable price. The amenities kit from BarkPark comes with the four essentials that every dog park needs in order to be a safe and welcoming space.

Step 6: Safety and Maintenance

Once your park has been designed and constructed, you will need to make safety and maintenance a top priority.

When it comes to maintaining your dog park, you will need to:

  • Provide regular inspections, empty waste stations/receptacles, refill pick-up bags, and remove any dog waste or debris that has been left behind in the park.

  • Maintain the green spaces/surfaces of the dog park, including cutting the lawn and removing any weeds that grow in the park.

  • Offer preventative care and maintenance designed to protect the integrity of the dog park for the long-term.

  • Check the fencing and agility products for damage.

In addition to coming up with a maintenance plan, it's important to establish clear and consistent rules that can be easily enforced within the dog park. Some of the most common rules in any dog park include:

  • Dogs should be fully-vaccinated and free of any symptoms of illness if they are visiting the dog park.

  • Dogs should be licensed and should be wearing a collar for identification purposes.

  • Dogs should be supervised at all times.

  • Dogs shouldn’t have a history of aggressive behavior.

  • No food or treats should be allowed in the dog park.

In order to promote the rules and encourage visitors to follow them, you should display them on a dog park sign at the entry points.

How BarkPark Can Assist in Dog Park Design

BarkPark can help you create a dog park that sets itself apart from the standard options available in other communities. Our dog park design experts will help you select the features and amenities that will make your park truly spectacular.

Contact us today to learn more about our interactive and fun dog park equipment.