A fenced off-leash area or dog park should include a wide variety of sensory and landscape features that are primarily included to help manage dog behaviour and disperse dog activity across the site (Refer to Design tab).

Just as fencing is a lesser priority the larger the off-leash area, so is the need to introduce constructed landscape elements. This is because naturally occurring sensory environments are likely to be more prevalent and dog activity will be dispersed over a large area. As a result, off-leash areas in semi-rural or bushland settings will not require the same intensity of design features as those in urban areas.

When fencing is introduced the off-leash area becomes more confined and the necessity for a significant number of introduced landscape elements to disperse dog activity.

Service levels generally align to the catchment or population, the range of age groups or activities that a community asset caters for. This is not always the case in relation to fenced off leash areas or dog parks.  For example, a small off-leash area may be fenced because there is no other opportunity to cater for dog owners and their dogs. Because it is fenced and it is smaller than ideally desired there will be a need for elements such as:

  • a durable surface that can withstand concentrated use, and possible drainage or fill to the site
  • sensory elements that will attract dogs and disperse dog activity
  • elements that will provide visual barriers between dogs

As a result, a dog park that is intended to cater for a local catchment, as opposed to a wider district catchment may incur development and maintenance costs that would generally not be associated with a local level facility.

This aside the following elements are typical of those that can be considered to a greater or lesser degree depending on the catchment that the dog park caters for, the space available, and the role the site plays in the network of off-leash areas and dog parks:

  • pathways – may not be required if entire surface is accessible/durable
  • hillocks and mounds – to provide breaks in sight-lines and variety of levels
  • rockscramble, rockscape, rockbed elements
  • sight ‘space breakers’
  • robust vegetation that is not poisonous to dogs and is less likely to harbour snakes
  • tree groves
  • shade – natural and built
  • seating – seats with backs and armrests and multiple ‘perch points’ for dog owners, such as on flat top rocks, to disperse groups of dog owners
  • dog education/training equipment – only if space and budget allows and is accompanied by instructional signage

In addition, the following are required at all fenced/partially fenced dog parks:

  • double-gated entries – a minimum of 2, or chicanes if partial fencing is council policy and direct entry into any separate quiet dog areas
  • maintenance gate access
  • rules/regulations signage.