As cities become more crowded and leash laws become more restrictive, many dog owners are looking to dog parks for a place to spend quality time with their pets. The Newark Street Dog Park in Washington, D.C., is one such place. With tennis courts, a dog park, water gardens, and pedestrian paths located at 39th and Newark Streets in northwest D.C., the dog park spans more than 10,000 square feet in two enclosed areas and is a popular meeting place for many of the community’s residents.
Selected for revitalization by the city’s mayor, the park’s redevelopment had two specific requirements: It was essential that the park utilize sustainable features and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) so that all residents would be able to enjoy the park equally.
The choice of surface material is often one of the biggest challenges in constructing a dog park. Among other things, communities must consider the comfort of the various sizes of dogs that will be using the dog park, and different-sized stones feel differently on different-sized paws — small stones can be painful for large dogs because pebbles get caught in their paws, and large stones can make maintaining balance difficult for small dogs. Either gravel or crushed stone can serve as a stable, free-draining foundation layer for a dog park’s surfacing materials, and adequate drainage is particularly important around dog watering stations to prevent muddy areas from forming and vegetation from growing.
With the two key requirements of sustainability and disability access in mind, city engineers selected EZ Roll gravel pavers as the surface for the dog park, ramps, and pedestrian pathways. The NDS paver system features hexagonal cells that connect together to form a flexible grid system capable of handling significant structural loads, with a look similar to a simple gravel parking lot. The grid system helps keep gravel pieces in place over time, preventing ruts and worn spots. Each 24-inch by 24-inch panel contains 72, 2.25-inch nested hexagonal cells. A continuous piece of geotextile fabric provides the pavers’ strength to hold the gravel fill in place yet allows it to be porous to allow for filtration of stormwater runoff and reduce erosion.
NDS’s EZ Roll gravel pavers were selected for their aesthetically pleasing and natural appearance as well as their 100 percent recycled content. The high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic pavers are rugged, flexible, and suitable for outside exposure and longevity. They are a sustainable alternative to traditional concrete or asphalt and can be used in a number of categories that contribute points toward LEED certification. Less expensive to maintain over time than traditional hardscaping, EZ Roll pavers meet ADA requirements for accessibility of surface systems under and around park equipment.
The system also greatly reduces installation time. It is manufactured in pre-assembled rolls for easily placing and clipping together with a lateral snap-lock system that allows rolls to be connected without any special tools. Connections between rows of EZ Roll are secure due to unique side-to-side and end-to-end clips that minimize the paver mat movement and separation due to lateral and horizontal pressure. These sturdy locking clips prevent paver displacement or mat failure that could result from traffic load movement or changing ground conditions. NDS recommends using clean gravel that is uniform in size, with 3/16-inch and 3/8-inch angular stones working best.
In addition to dog parks, NDS also recommends EZ Roll gravel pavers for golf cart paths, service roads, jogging tracks, bike paths, truck and cart wash-down areas, RV and boat access and parking, residential driveways, parking lots, overflow parking lots, roadway shoulders, fire lanes, emergency vehicle access roads, truck maintenance and equipment yards, and construction entrance soil stabilization.
Once the decision was made to move forward with an EZ Roll system, the existing impervious asphalt was ripped up and replaced with the permeable pavers, which allows the ground to drain quickly and provides traction for pets and pedestrians in the event of rain. Additional green enhancements made to the park included solar flood lights and a rain garden with native plants and bioretentive drain pipe.
Download a technical specifications guide for EZ Roll gravel pavers at https://www.ndspro.com/PDFs/Tech-Spec-Guides/EZ-Roll-Gravel-Pavers.pdf.
Information provided by NDS (https://www.ndspro.com).