It's no secret that I don't love dogs. I don't hate them, either—I just don't love them. In modern American society, this means I'm a monster—someone sandwiched right between people who dislike children and hate rainbows in levels of evilness.
I understand that dogs are man's best friend (if you can't find a human best friend), provide companionship and never judge you. I also understand that they deplete your savings account due to ailments that should be strictly reserved for humans (swollen glands—seriously?!), cause permanent emotional damage à la "Marley & Me" (spoiler alert!) when they pass away and relieve themselves on public surfaces where I frequently walk. They quite literally cause a stink.
Although not much can be done about those first two issues, some apartment communities are starting to build dog parks with decomposed granite to address the third—giving dogs a designated place to run around and do their business that is not in my direct path to the community Dumpster.
According to Chris Lee, President of Dallas-based Earthworks, decomposed granite has become the surface of choice for dog parks because it can withstand wear and tear and manage pet waste—minus the residue and odor—while giving a community a well-manicured look. Lee says such dog parks have been popular on the West Coast for the past decade and have lately gained popularity in other areas of the country.
With decomposed granite, waste can effectively leach through to an appropriate sub-base. For best results, Lee says the area should consist of six to eight inches of material that includes the sub-base and decomposed granite surface. A four to six inch sub-base of drainage rock or crushed granite should first be installed underneath the two to four inches of the finer decomposed granite. This allows extra room for the urine to filter through the soil.
Even though there is no grass to maintain, irrigation remains important. Sprinkler systems should be left intact when converting a sod-based dog park so that watering will clean the top layer and push waste through the rock down to the soil, where it can leach out normally. Irrigation also controls dust—especially stone dust that is more commonly used in the Northeast—and keeps the area looking clean.
Dog parks with existing surfaces of grass and wood chips can easily be converted, whether at a city installation or apartment community. Some multifamily communities are keeping some greenery by combining decomposed granite and grass, blending the materials with walkways and seating areas for a more manicured look. One apartment community created its dog park with a large dog-bone area in the middle surrounded by other surfaces.
These are all great ideas. Still, it’s hard for me to understand why canines are getting futuristic dog parks, yet I can’t get my apartment community to put up a new basketball net. Last time I checked, dogs don’t have opposable thumbs, and therefore cannot write rent checks.
For more on decomposed granite dog parks, check out Maintenance Insider in the October issue of units, which mails Oct. 11.