If your HOA has gone to the dogs, that’s a good thing.

Dog ownership has always been big, but during the pandemic even more homeowners have brought home furry friends to love.

How to accommodate dogs at your HOA?

Here’s how:

1. Add a Dog Park or Dog Run

“A nice dog park goes a long way,” says James Kole, a branch manager at Level Green Landscaping and owner of two lovable dogs.

Dogs enjoy an open space to run, romp, and sniff the butts of new pals, as well as water stations and toys.

dog sitting in grass with child

HOAs in the suburbs might have more space for an expansive dog park than city developments, Kole says, but even smaller areas can usually fit in a dog run with enough space to let Champ stretch his legs off leash.

These areas are fenced in and need double gates, to keep dogs from escaping. If possible, have separate enclosures for small and large dogs.

A couple nice additions: benches where dog owners can relax while their dogs play, and a high/low water fountain so both people and dogs can get a drink.

Artificial turf for dog area

“Dog parks are actually getting way more involved and creative now,” says Marion Delano, an account manager at Level Green who works with area HOAs. “Most contain jungle-gym type set-ups for the dogs to play on and around in.”

What’s on the ground? A few choices:

Artificial Turf

Most manufacturers of artificial turf manufacture a specific type designed for dog runs and dog parks.

They drain well, have antibacterial properties and they’re non-toxic, so if Duke nibbles a bit (don't get mad — he’s sorry) he won’t get sick.

Artificial turf rolls out like carpet. Crews tape the seams and nail it to surrounding 2-by-4 boards.

dog area with artificial turf

There’s drainage underneath, so maintenance crews can hose it off daily with no worry of soggy turf or standing water.

A dry granular chemical with enzymes can be sprinkled on once a month to eat the bacteria.

(If you think real grass is an option, you’re barking up the wrong tree. The hounds will tear it up. It’ll get bare and muddy and turn into a sloppy mess.)

You pay more up front for artificial turf, but it’s a permanent investment. Most manufacturers offer a 10-year warranty on it, but most will last longer than that.

Wood Chips

Wood chips are a common surfacing for dog parks. But be sure to get the right kind.

Mulch can include sharp edges that can hurt dogs’ paws. Go for engineered wood chips without splinters and sharp edges.

Wood chips will displace over time and require raking back into place and adding more material as time goes on.

Compacted Stone Dust

Crushed compacted limestone is another popular surface for dog parks and runs.

It's sturdy, easy to hose down, drains well, and the natural properties of limestone helps reduce the smell of dog waste.

Limit Dog Park Landscaping

“Don’t try to landscape a dog park,” Kole says.

Remember, this is a dog park, where rambunctious canines will romp, tussle, and do their business. It doesn’t need to look like a botanic garden.

child with cute dog on grass

Limit any landscaping to outside the fence, Kole says, where sturdy shrubs, trees, and ornamental grasses can look nice and stand up to the rigors of a bunch of Rovers.

2. Dog Waste Stations

Installing waste stations along routes and open spaces where residents typically walk their dogs makes it easier for them to dispose of waste.

This is convenient for dog owners, but it keeps the HOA community cleaner, too.

level green employee dogs

Waste stations should have both plastic bag dispensers and covered receptacles to minimize odor, and they shouldn’t be located directly in front of anyone’s home.

“We can handle the portering of the stations,” Kole says, “or the HOA can take care of it themselves.”

3. Welcome Dogs, But Don’t Sacrifice Your Turf

Any dog owner knows Fido can be pretty ruff on the lawn, leaving yellow and brown spots from urine.

“It's important to be proactive if you want to maintain the quality and health of the turf,” Delano says. “Things like aerating and overseeding every year will be very beneficial in hopefully keeping the lawn full and thick.”

core aeration machine aerating grass

Plenty of irrigation helps with those urine spots, too, he says.

Opt for sturdy landscaping plants at HOAs with lots of dogs, Delano says, or place plants and beds in areas that don’t get a lot of paw traffic.

4. How to Accommodate Dogs at Your HOA? Plan Some Fun

If you’re trying to attract dog-loving residents, go beyond the dog park and organize some fur-friendly fun.

dog in life jacket

Host a pet parade. Have a doggie costume contest on Halloween. Plan a dog-friendly hike or other social events where dog-loving residents and their furry friends can meet each other. And sniff each other.

Make Your HOA Fur-Friendly with Level Green

How to accommodate dogs at your HOA? Make them — and their owners — feel at home, with amenities designed just for them.

Trust Level Green to help your HOA add a fun dog park or run, convenient waste stations and maintain lawns with a comprehensive turf program — then stand back and watch the furry fun.

If you’re not already a Level Green Landscaping client, we’d love to add you to our growing list of happy customers.

Our focus is on commercial properties like offices, mixed-use sites, HOAs, municipalities and institutions in Maryland, Washington DC and parts of Virginia.

Contact us at 202-544-0968. You can also request a free consultation online to meet with us one-on-one.

We’d love to hear from you.

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