Off-leash Planning & Fenced Dog Parks

Pityarilla ‘Marshmallow’ Dog Park

Adelaide, SA
City of Adelaide

Dog park in Adelaide’s parklands

In 2018, we worked with Aspect Studios to design an innovative dog park as part of a $5 million upgrade to Pityarilla ‘Marshmallow’ Park (Park 19) located in the southern Park Lands of Adelaide.

The dog park was the first section of the park to be upgraded. The dog park has a large and small dog area which includes natural play items such as logs and rocks for dogs to explore and plants to sniff. There are grassed areas, shelters, seating for dog owners and a water play feature for dogs in the large dog area.

This investment provides a space for city dwellers to exercise their dogs off-leash.


  • Aspect Studios, SA

Fenced Dog Parks: Siting, Design and Management Guidelines

Geelong, Vic
City of Greater Geelong

Fenced dog parks in City of Geelong

Geelong’s growing population meant that it was important to plan a variety of open spaces for people to exercise their dogs including the provision of fenced dog parks.

Rather than reacting to ad hoc requests for fenced dog parks, we prepared a strategy for the City of Greater Geelong for the development of new dog parks in a thoughtful and coordinated manner.

The document provided directions for the planning, provision, design, management and operations of fenced dog parks in existing and new housing areas. Cost estimates for an average sized (3000m2) fenced dog parks were provided to assist Council with future budgets.

Click here to download the ‘Fenced Dog Parks’ report.

Unleashed: A Guide to Successful Dog Parks

Adelaide, SA
Dog and Cat Management Board, SA

Best Practice Dog Park Guidelines

In 2013, we developed the first dog park guidelines for SA for the Dog and Cat Management Board of SA. The guidelines ‘Unleashed, A Guide to Successful Dog Parks’ combine planning, urban design and dog behaviour into one comprehensive document. The guidelines outline best practice techniques for the planning and design of dog parks in SA.

This publication was based on the auditing and mapping of over 30 fenced dog parks in SA. These audits provided a sound insight into existing practices, issues and the culture of dog parks.

Unleashed challenges the way we plan and design spaces for both humans and dogs. Parks are commonly designed from a human perspective and we believe that a dog park is more complex. This means we need a more inclusive approach that considers both human and dog interactions and where dog behaviour informs the design process.

In 2014, we won the Planning Institute of Australia (SA) Award for Planning Excellence for Cutting Edge Research and Teaching for the guidelines.

“This study of dog park design is unique in the South Australian context. It draws on and successfully integrates a range of design, health and animal behaviour discourses to produce a highly useful design guide for those planning dog parks in an urban setting. By unravelling the complex set of interaction usually associated with enclosed dog parks, the study provides the necessary platform for a design-led approach to the development of such parks, which is likely to avoid many of the issues that have been found to limit the effectiveness of existing parks in facilitating healthier lifestyle for people and their pets.” (PIA citation).


  • Kylie Fergusen


  • National Commendation, 2015 PIA Awards for Planning Excellence (Aust.) for Cutting Edge Research & Teaching
  • SA Winner, 2014 PIA Awards for Planning Excellence (SA) for Cutting Edge Research & Teaching

Click here to download the ‘Unleashed Dog Parks’ guidelines.

Dogs Off-Leash Study

Mitcham, SA
City of Mitcham

Off-leash amenities

This study looked at improving existing off-leash areas or creating additional fenced dog parks. During a comprehensive consultation process the community told us they wanted off-leash parks which are accessible by foot and have amenities for dogs and their owners e.g. water fountains, dog bags, bins, and seats.

Off-leash areas did not have to be fenced but needed to be safe. We also found that off-leash parks that are within walking distance of home support the development of sustainable and active communities.

Related Projects

  • Enhancing our park for people & dogs off leash

Bayview Dog Park

Bayview, Rockingham, WA
City of Rockingham

First dog park in City of Rockingham

We designed the first fenced dog park for the City of Rockingham in collaboration with Aspect Studios.  The dog park design included separate areas for large and small dogs, double entry gates, a sandpit, drinking water for people and dogs and a shelter shared by both dog areas. The project was undertaken on a small budget so cost saving techniques was an important element in the design.

We also developed a management and maintenance plan for the dog park including a maintenance checklist, and a list of potential risks and control measures. The dog park was built in 2016.


  • Aspect Studios SA