There are two surface-related decisions to make when designing a dog park: surface material and subsurface material.There are several options available for each level of surfacing.
Surface material is often one of the most controversial choices in constructing a dog park. Among other things, communities must consider the comfort of the various sizes of dogs that will be using the dog park. Different sized stones feel differently on different sized paws (i.e. small stones can be painful for large dogs because pebbles get caught in their paws, and large stones can make maintaining balance difficult for small dogs).
Stone dust is produced from granite or other hard stone that has been processed through a rock crusher. The resultant rock particles are angular in nature, allowing it to be spread and compacted to form a dense, stable surface. It does not drain well. It is best used on gently sloping pavement surfaces, as it can be disturbed by constant traffic or water erosion, and may require periodic raking to maintain a uniform surface.
Pea stone is a stone processed through a “tumbling” operation to create smooth rounded edges. This small “pea” shaped stone usually consists of stones no larger than one-half inch gradation, and it is suitable for informal, lower intensity pavement surfaces. It is subject to movement, when disturbed, due to the roundness of the stone particles.
Grass is favored by communities with large dog parks, as it is expensive to bring in manufactured surfacing. In heavily used dog parks grass is often worn out quickly since dog parks are utilized all year round.
Pine bark mulch is produced from a tree chipping operation and consists of the softer interior portions of the tree. Mulch can serve as a uniform and soft surface. However, this material needs to be replaced and refreshed periodically to prevent urine saturation of the mulch from creating environmental issues.
Pine bark wood chips are produced from a tree chipping operation, can serve as a uniform and stable surface. However, this material needs to be replaced and refreshed periodically to prevent urine saturation of the mulch or wood chips from creating environmental issues.
Rice stone is a processed stone material which ranges from approximately one-eighth to one-half inch. It has an elongated particle configuration that prompts the comparison to grains of rice. The range in gradation size helps to reduce the movement of the stone particles when disturbed through dog activity.
Artificial grass is weather resistant and manufactured to replicate the look and feel of natural grass. Historically this surfacing has proven slippery for dogs, though brands such as K9Grass have been used in some urban environments.
To ensure that surfacing is properly installed, after clearing and grading, a subsurface material must be added to provide proper drainage and stability.
Crushed stone is obtained from a stone quarry and rendered through a rock crusher to produce angular material of varying gradation ranges. Either gravel or crushed stone can serve as a stable, free-draining foundation layer for the dog park's surfacing materials.
Compressed earth consists of sand, dirt, and stone that has been excavated from a natural gravel pit. It may be processed or crushed to create specific gradation preferences.
Filter fabric resembles cloth and is made from PVC, or another non-degradable material. It is perforated to allow the passage of water. The fabric is typically layered between the dog park surfacing material and a gravel or crushed stone drainage base.