10 Ways to Turn Your Local Dog Park Into a Dream Retreat
by Arden Moore
Published on July 10, 2012
Is your dog park in need of a serious face-lift?
As a consultant for the annual $500,000 Beneful Dream Dog Park contest, I’ve spent the past two years collaborating with Jason Cameron, host of the DIY network’s Desperate Landscapes show, to identify ways to upgrade these doggie hangouts with clever elements that appeal to dogs — and people.
The newest member of our team is actor Eric Stonestreet of ABC’s Modern Family.
Today, Stonestreet — who has a senior dog named Coleman Hawkins — will help us unveil the newly transformed 2011 contest winner: Veterans Park in Alabaster, Ala.
Here’s a look at 10 ways you can elevate your own dog park to dream status:
Make a Safe Splash
Install splash pads with spray nozzles and colorful hoops to keep dogs cool in the dog days of summer. Both of our dream parks use energy-saving, recirculating spray systems.
Pave a Cushy Path
Add visual excitement to a mundane dog park by creating a winding path for dogs made of soft, rubberized mulch, and spice up the scenery with faux boulders to sit on or climb.
Tap Into Your Pup’s Inner Athlete
Install intersecting tunnels, weave poles and hoops for a playful workout.
Create a Fetch Zone
This area will allow people to safely hurl balls for retrieval-minded dogs without disturbing other pups (or people!) in the park. You can also outfit the zone with a tennis ball dispenser that’s loaded with dog-safe balls.
Provide Plenty of Shade
Design a clubhouse or another shade structure where people and their pets can retreat from the heat. This is also a great place to hang a community bulletin board for posting meet-ups, dog walking services and other local events.
Opt for Faux Turf
Replace grass with synthetic turf that’s durable and safe for dogs, making maintenance easier — and reducing the presence of fleas.
Consider a Dog Wash
Add a wash station with a spray hose, so people can rinse their pups following a day of play.
Offer Hydration Stations
Install water fountains for both people and dogs — and equip the park with extra water bowls.
Keep Poop in Check
Make it convenient for people to pick up their pets’ deposits by installing dispensers with degradable poop bags, and have plenty of trash receptacles.
Think of Senior Pets
Design a sanctuary for older dogs who prefer to hang out in a quiet, shady section — and out of the path of rowdy youngsters.
Eager to win a $500,000 makeover for your local dog park? Stop dreaming and enter the 3rd annual Beneful Dream Dog Park Contest, and review the official rules.