How to Build a Backyard Dog Park at Home | Hill's Pet (2024)

Do you have more property than you have time for? No time to take your dog to the park? Consider bringing the park to your pup by building a dog park or playground in your own backyard. It doesn't take a lot of time, and you can probably use items you already have. Keep reading to learn how to create awesome backyards for dogs.

Why Build a Dog Park in Your Backyard?

How to Build a Backyard Dog Park at Home | Hill's Pet (1)Typically, dog parks are more than just places for your pup to run and play off-leash. Many dog parks not only provide a variety of ways for dogs to exercise, but they also encourage mental stimulation and socialization opportunities.

Taking your dog to such a park isn't always an option, though. Your community might not have such a space. If it does, its hours of operation might not fit into your schedule. There could be dozens of things going on in your life that make it inconvenient or even impossible to load your pup in the car and chauffeur him to the dog park regularly.

Generally, public dog park rules include health, socialization and behavioral standards, and even breed restrictions that might exclude your dog from entering. Some parks set aside special areas for small breeds or elderly or disabled dogs to safely play away from larger, more rambunctious pups, but not all do, which might make the dog park unsafe for your dog.

While your dog might be perfectly happy hanging out in your backyard just as it is, transforming a section of your yard into a miniature dog park just for your pup and his friends, be they other dogs or his favorite people, will provide both him and you with the best of both worlds. Park-like backyards for dogs provide the convenience and safety of home and the entertainment, exercise and mental stimulation provided by a dog park.

Building Your Own Dog Park

There are a number of things you should consider beforehand when it comes to building a dog park in your backyard. advises planning your DIY dog park according to the following criteria:

  • Location. Consider your space and the layout of your yard. You probably don't want the recreation area to include your flowerbeds or the patio where you do all your grilling. At the same time, it should be in a location where you can keep an eye on him if you let him go out alone, preferably in easy view of a door or window. The play space should also offer plenty of room for a game of fetch. After evaluating your space, you might find that a side yard, accessible but set apart from the outdoor family living area, is the best location.

    It's a good idea to think about the space from your dog's point of view, advises Dogtipper. There should be plenty of space for him to run, jump and play. Obstacles and equipment shouldn't be placed too closely together. Consider whether there is anything in the space that might be dangerous to your dog, such as poisonous plants he might be tempted to nibble, or something that might tempt him to get into mischief, like an off-limits spot where he might be tempted to dig. If your dog has a high-prey instinct, it's probably not a good idea to install his park near your bird feeder.

  • Amenities. Your backyard dog park should be fun, safe and comfortable for your pup. With that in mind, here are a few amenities you might want to include:
    • A dog house or a shaded area where he can escape the elements.
    • An outdoor dog bed for lounging.
    • A water feature in which to splash around and cool off.
    • Food and water dishes, and a mat, platform or small patio on which to place them.
    • Comfortable paths for walking and patrolling. Using materials that will be comfortable for your dog's paws, such as smooth stones, bricks or concrete is ideal.
    • A designated restroom and a cleanup station. Consider using artificial turf here for easy cleanup and to protect your lawn from browning or retaining bacteria.
    • An obstacle or agility course.
    • A designated spot for digging, such as a sandbox.
  • What to avoid. When building a dog park, knowing what to leave out is as important as what to put in. Here's a list of things that could spoil the fun if allowed into the play area.
    • Toxic pesticides or herbicides. If you spray these in your garden, then your dog park should be placed well away from the garden.
    • Toxic plants or flowers. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offers a list of plants that are potentially toxic to pets. Ensure that none of these plants grow within the confines of your pup's play space.
    • Spiny cacti or any plants that have thorns, burrs or needles.
    • Sharp edges, hot surfaces, or objects that might be a choking hazard.

    Additionally, make sure the fence surrounding your park is in good condition, without splinters, broken pieces or gaps through which he might escape. Avoid cluttering the area with too many obstacles or toys. In small spaces especially, less is more.

Using What You Already Have

Creating fun backyards for dogs doesn't have to cost a lot. Chances are, you already have most, if not all, of what you need to build your own dog park, especially if you have kids. An unused kiddie pool can become a splash pool for your dog, or set up your backyard sprinkler for his enjoyment. Have your kids outgrown their sandbox? Fill it with dirt and invite your furry pal to dig to his heart's content. Assemble a dog obstacle course out of a plastic backyard slide, empty boxes, old tires, rain barrels and cast-off hula hoops. Get creative! Just be sure that any items you use don't have sharp parts, splinters or small pieces that could detach and pose a choking hazard.

With some careful planning, a little sweat and a lot of ingenuity, you can transform your backyard into a dog-friendly playground where your pup will be happy to spend his days — no travel required. It will also give you more time to spend playing with your lovable pooch, and you can customize your DIY dog park to suit your personal needs and his favorite activities.

Contributor Bio

How to Build a Backyard Dog Park at Home | Hill's Pet (2)

Jean Marie Bauhaus

Jean Marie Bauhaus is fiction author and freelance writer and editor living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She writes frequently about pets and pet health in her home office, where she is assisted by a lapful of furbabies.

How to Build a Backyard Dog Park at Home | Hill's Pet (2024)


How to Build a Backyard Dog Park at Home | Hill's Pet? ›

The best layout is one that is fenced in with a gate and an accessible path back and forth from the parking lot to the park itself. The best separation concept is to create separate areas for small dogs and large dogs and placing size appropriate equipment in those areas.

How do I make my own dog park? ›

Here are the steps on the road to making a community dog park a reality.
  1. Start with a core group of committed dog park activists. ...
  2. Hold a public meeting. ...
  3. Write a clear mission statement. ...
  4. Choose a site. ...
  5. Create a budget. ...
  6. Create a proposal. ...
  7. Get to know local officials, and be patient and flexible.

What is the best design for a dog park? ›

The best layout is one that is fenced in with a gate and an accessible path back and forth from the parking lot to the park itself. The best separation concept is to create separate areas for small dogs and large dogs and placing size appropriate equipment in those areas.

What is the best surface for a dog park? ›

Crusher fines or washed stone dust are an appropriate surface choice for dog parks, as it has a moderate replacement cost, drains well, and holds up to heavy use.

How do dog parks make money? ›

There are different ways to turn a dog park into a business idea. You can charge a fee for using your own park (either indoor or outdoor). Going with a dog-walking service would be the better decision on the off chance that you are lacking in the capital yet have heaps of time.

Is sniffspot profitable? ›

How much can I earn with Sniffspot? We have hosts that are earning $3,000 or more per month with their unused yards or land. We provide a lot of guidance and feedback to our hosts to help you increase your earnings.

What is the best fence for a dog park? ›

In general, you should consider a fence that has the following elements. Galvanized and vinyl-coated chain link fences are a great choice because the posts and panels can be buried to discourage dogs from digging underneath the fence.

Why do dog parks have two gates? ›

The dog park entrance usually has a double gate. People and their dogs enter the first gate and are in an enclosed area. This is where owners can remove the dog's leash. Then they enter the second gate that goes into the dog park.

What are the cons of dog parks? ›

It can be a dangerous place at times: you may witness fights between dogs, or your dog may be preyed upon by more aggressive dogs. Your dog can pick up bad habits like fear, aggression, rough play, and he may begin to ignore his commands. Illnesses can be passed from dog to dog.

How much space does a dog need in a yard? ›

To calculate the minimum space required for a dog, follow the steps below. Step 1: Measure the length of the dog (in inches) from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail. Add 6 inches to this number. Step 2: Take the total number you got in step 1 and square it (multiply it by itself).

Are pavers good for a dog run? ›

Easy on the paws – Pavers are smooth surfaces so your pets won't have any problems spending hours running around the garden. Reduce exposure to ticks – By paving your yard you can reduce your pet's exposure to ticks. Ticks typically reside in tall lawns, shrubs, and compost material.

What is the best alternative to grass for dogs? ›

A grassless yard utilizes alternative materials such as mulch, concrete paving stones, or synthetic turf. “Since many dogs are allergic to grass, going grassless in the back or front yard is beneficial to dogs with sensitive skin or a history of allergies,” says Dr. Georgina Ushi, DVM, a veterinarian at Fuzzy.

Why are dog parks gravel? ›

Minimal Impact. The dog park was designed to have a minimal impact on the environment. The gravel parking lot allows water to penetrate back into the ground rather than run off into the gutter and storm drain.

Is mulch or rocks better for dogs? ›

Eating this good-tasting mulch can cause over-stimulation of the heart and even seizures, so it should never be used in a yard where dogs live. A better choice is rock mulch. We recommend river rock, which is rounded and smooth. Avoid granite, because it has jagged edges that can cut paws and little feet.

What is the best landscape material for a dog run? ›

Pea Gravel is a great selection for its smooth surface and drainage properties. It's comfortable enough for pets to walk on, and works well in high-traffic “potty” areas.

Is an indoor dog park a good business idea? ›

I totally suspect there's demand for indoor dog parks, depending on your location. In hotter regions, it's often impossible to let dogs exercise and socialize because of the heat. In colder regions, the rain and snow are prohibitive.

Why build a dog park? ›

Dog parks promote physical activity.

Building a dog park offers a safe and engaging space for dog owners to bond with their pets while ensuring their dogs get the necessary exercise. No more backyard bathroom breaks - it's time to play and walk together!

What is dog park etiquette? ›

Limit toys and treats, but not water.

It's OK to give your dog a treat but brandishing lots of toys and treats may create conflict with other park patrons. Bring bottled water and a collapsible water bowl if your dog park does not have a dog-friendly water fountain.

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