How to Transform Your Backyard Into a Dog Park

Posted by Billy Francis

Playing at Fido’s local dog park isn’t always possible. Fortunately, the next best thing might be just beyond your back door. Fenced backyards provide a safe space for dogs to play freely, but they can also be upgraded with a little ingenuity. Walk, hop and skip through these innovative homemade apparatus and turn your enclosed backyard into an awesome DIY dog park!

Make a Plan

"We shall call it 'Pug Park.'" Photo by

First things first, draw up a plan for your makeshift dog park. We'd all love to build a dream park for our pups, but you also need to stay on budget and work with what you've got. In addition to choosing the right items to keep your dog entertained for hours, keep the outline suitable for your space. There’s no point planning for a huge A-frame if you only have 10 square feet to play with.

Prepare Your Space

"When are we breaking ground?" Photo by

If Fido's spending time in the backyard anyway, you should have already eliminated harsh chemicals like certain fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. With more rambunctious play on the horizon, it’s worth checking the space for plants and other flora that may be harmful or poisonous to canines. Before you start building the park, comb the space for sharp stones and twigs hiding in the grass and mow the lawn to avoid ticks.

Reuse and Repurpose

“F for effort.” Photo by @noveskeshepherd

The easiest way to build a DIY dog park is by repurposing what you've got lying around the house. Furry kids can make great use out of unwanted children’s items. Hold onto the paddling pool for a doggy dip on warm days; the sandpit is perfect for digging; and those bright pink tunnels are ideal for your pup’s agility course. With a little imagination, spare buckets, ladders and pallets can all turn into star attractions at your canine wonderland.

A Few Ideas for Your DIY Dog Park

"This is truly fascinating." Photo by @marylandpoppy

You've got the space, the supplies and the sad puppy eyes of your furry friend begging you to get started. Now what? To help make Fido's vision a reality, try your hand at these easy-to-make park essentials. Best of all, you don't need to be a master carpenter to put any of these attractions together.

1. Bamboo Slalom

Bagel and I (sort of) showing how it’s done!Photo by Billy Francis

The slalom, or weave poles, involves dogs threading between the obstacles as fast as they can. Prepare your pooch for Westminster with a “ruff and ready” version made out of bamboo poles. All you need are six tall bamboo shoots. Stick them firmly into the ground two feet apart and watch your dog’s attempts at beating the world record.

2. Tether Pull

Introduce Fido to an old favorite from your playground.Photo by @imiz.amonster

With a slight alteration, Tetherball can be transformed from one of America’s favorite playground games to an entertaining dog park feature. Locate a long sturdy pole (metal or wood) and drill a hole through the top to create a big needle. Then, thread a thick piece of rope through the hole and secure it, leaving a length of rope roughly one foot off the ground. Finally, attach one of your dog’s toys to the end of the rope. Whether he’s tugging on the toy alone or you’re spinning it around for him, there’s lots of fun to be found with this innovative addition.

3. Dog House

“Did you seriously make this yourself?”Photo by @groverthecavalier

All the best dog parks have somewhere for shy (and lazy) dogs to hang out. How about creating a house for your pooch with zero mortgage payments? Get creative with the pile of cardboard in the basement, but remember to bring it inside if it rains. If you’ve got no cardboard, make a tipi out of bamboo or other sturdy poles. Simply set three sticks in the ground, angle them to the center and drape material over the top.

4. Hurdle at Home

"Loving my custom-built dog park."Photo by Flickr/JinxMcCombs

Hurdles are a fun addition to any homespun dog park. All you need are washing baskets and PVC pipes. Thread the pipe between two of the baskets at the same level, and you have yourself an adjustable hurdle. As your dog’s leaping skills improve, raise the bar higher or make and secure it with a PVC frame.

5. A-Frame

“This is A-okay!”Photo by

The A-Frame is the most difficult construction on our list, but will fast become the park’s showstopper. Start with two large pieces of plywood. Shore them up by attaching 2x4s around the edges and add wooden rungs along the plywood for easier climbing. Then, secure the two pieces together with a hinge in the middle. This will allow you to alter the gradient to your dog’s needs.

What will your pup's DIY dog park look like? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

Banner photo by @noveskeshepherd.