Gordon Barnard Reserve fenced dog play area

Fenced dog play areas have been growing in popularity. With increased pressure on the urban environment, these areas provide a space for dogs, and their owners, to socialise and exercise in a safe and controlled environment. They offer new activities, opportunities and experiences for people to enjoy the urban parklands with their dogs.

In response to local community requests and changing community needs, we are providing a fenced dog play area in a portion of Gordon Barnard Reserve between the existing pool and eastern oval. The remainder of the reserve will continue to be a dog on-leash area.

The Gordon Barnard Reserve fenced dog play area is supported by the Victorian Government through the Suburban Parks Program.


Construction started in March 2021 and works are expected to be completed by late August 2021, weather permitting. 

After some time to make sure the new grass and plants are well established, we anticipate to open the facility to everyone in October 2021.

About the project

There are over 15,000 dogs registered in the City of Boroondara. While there is approximately 219 hectares of open space designated as off-leash in Boroondara, there are no dedicated fenced dog play areas that are specifically designed to cater for dogs and their owners.

Gordon Barnard Reserve was identified as the preferred location for a fenced dog play area, following an extensive site assessment process and community consultation held in March 2020.

At the Services Special Committee meeting on Monday 10 August 2020, Council resolved to proceed with a reduced scope fenced dog play area in a portion of Gordon Barnard Reserve, and start the process to amend the Council Order to designate this portion of the reserve as a dog off-leash area.

At the Services Delegated Committee meeting on Monday 7 December 2020, Council resolved to amend the Order to establish the area set aside within Gordon Barnard Reserve (between the existing pool and eastern oval) as a designated fenced dog off-leash area.

What is a fenced dog play area?  

A fenced dog play area is a designated public area for dog owners to legally exercise, play, train and socialise with their dogs in a secured off-leash environment. These spaces are fully enclosed, with dog friendly amenities and provide a space for dogs and their owners, to socialise and exercise in a safe and controlled environment.

Community consultation 

This project has been guided by 3 phases of community consultation:

  1. Consultation on the proposed location: March 2020.
  2. Consultation to amend Council’s Order to establish the area as a designated, fenced dog off-leash area: August to September 2020.
  3. Consultation on the draft concept design: January to February 2021.

We received feedback from a wide representation of the community during each phase.

During the most recent phase the majority of respondents indicated they either liked or really liked the design.

The themes we heard from the community included:

  • provide a drink fountain at both entrances
  • consider granitic gravel for the path around the facility
  • consider a small dog space in the design
  • provide direct access from one gate to the next across the fenced dog play area
  • protect the trees.

Design concept

The final design of the fenced dog play area was developed based on community feedback, dog park specialist advice and industry design guidelines.

Key features include:

  • dog nature play activity areas, including tree logs and rocks
  • open grassed areas for active play
  • new shade trees and landscaping
  • new fencing and gates around the perimeter of the area
  • a 2-metre-wide stabilised gravel circuit path around the area 
  • a mix of ground surfaces, including lawn, mulch, concrete, railway sleepers and granitic gravel for dogs to interact with
  • direct path outside of the facility connecting to the shared path link and improved access across the fenced dog play area 
  • mural on the wall of the small building adjacent to the car park
  • a safety ball net between the eastern oval and fenced dog play area 
  • widening some of the access road and expansion of the car park
  • new furniture, including a variety of seating options, bins with dog waste bag dispensers, signage and accessible drinking fountains with dog bowls at both entrances.

Through careful design, we have created different spaces within the fenced dog play area to cater to various types of dogs. Following community feedback on the draft design, we investigated the inclusion of a space specifically for small dogs. Due to the space requirements of the area, this feature is not feasible at this location. However, we will explore including this option in future dog friendly improvements in off-leash reserves across Boroondara.


    More information

    For more information, contact our Capital Projects team on 9278 4444 or at [email protected].

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