Barking Up the Right Tree

This story was printed in the 2013 May/Issue of Defense Communities Magazine. Click here to learn more about Defensive Communities Magazine.

Published: May 1, 2013
 

The 100-by-100-feet spaces were just native grass areas, but a Davey Tree employee saw possibilities. When faced with a request to build a dog park, Davey project manager Kevin Sharkey began to imagine the spaces taking on a whole different shape—literally.

Sharkey envisioned the dog parks of Peterson Air Force Base and Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado to take the shape of a dog bone, which made the parks functional yet aesthetically pleasing, he said.

The project began as a result of a satisfaction survey conducted by Tierra Vista Communities, where residents expressed a desire for a park for their four-legged friends. As part of a commitment to the client and the military families it serves, Davey’s Commercial Grounds team created the landscape enhancement that all inhabitants can now enjoy.

Both parks feature Kentucky bluegrass sod, a fabricated fire hydrant, and three transplanted blue spruces, adding to two existing Marshall’s Seedless green ash trees that help provide a noise barrier for nearby homes.

“The park is a huge success for not only our client but the community’s residents as well,” said Sharkey, who was instrumental in the park’s design. “It gives the residents a place to take their pets and let them off the leash to get exercise, all within five minutes of their homes.

“Our client knows they can come to us with any idea, that we will get creative and give them the best.”


Park design exceeds expectations

The dog-park design was a big hit with not just the residents, but the communities’ management, too.

“My team always goes above and beyond, but Sharkey really took this project to the next level,” said Davey project manager Cinde York. “He took on making a fabulous design. In fact, Schriever’s management liked his design so much that it used the same design as the park in Peterson.”

The Peterson’s park name – Garden of the Dogs – and Schriever’s park name – Pup’s Peak – also were a result of resident input. TVC sponsored a contest that allowed residents to voice their opinions.
 
Crews completed installation in time for the National Night Out celebration, an August event attended by about 1,000 to promote neighborhood spirit and safer communities. Residents have since enjoyed time there and expressed their satisfaction, saying the dog park helps make the government housing area feel more like home, Sharkey said.

“It is Tierra Vista’s mission to ease the lives of military families and to provide them a better quality of life,” said project director Pete Sims. “The installation of the dog park was a minor project that we anticipate will make a major difference.”

Garden of the Dogs and Pup’s Peak have been such big hits and went beyond expectations, Davey branch manager Blane Pshigoda said.

“We are committed to helping Tierra Vista create a friendly and comfortable community for the military families who are stationed there, and we’re pleased to be able to offer landscape enhancements that add to their quality of life,” Pshigoda said.

 “I think residents expected a plain, square-shaped piece of sod,” York said. “Because of our hard work and Sharkey’s design, this project was really special.”

Because of the dog parks’ popularity and communities’ positive feedback, Sharkey said he’d be suggesting dog parks at all of the bases he works at.

Sharkey said the dog park is one of several enhancements his crew is honored to complete for TVC.

“These designs range from new rock and mulch beds to building berms and adding additional plant material to enhance the beauty of the community,” he said. “With the success that we have had in providing these services, I’m proud of the relationship we have developed with our customer.”


How is a dog park built?
Building a both useful and attractive dog park takes planning—it’s not as easy as simply erecting a fence. Dog parks are constructed in five main steps:

1. Consult the professionals
Leave it to the professionals. Davey Tree understands the importance of maximizing your property investment and maintaining an attractive and professional appearance.

2. Choose the perfect location
Choose the best location to help ensure use and effectiveness. Is the park easily accessible to residents? Does it fit residents’ and their four-legged friends’ needs?

3. Pick trees and shrubbery
Pick out situation-appropriate trees and shrubbery for decoration and noise reduction. Be sure to take into consideration the trees’ growing speed when planning.

4. Shape the lot
Grate out the space in a shape (in this case, a dog-bone!).

5. Place the grass
Choose and place climate-specific turf. In this case, the team chose Kentucky blue grass because it comes back well after dormancy, York said.

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