Berkus joins team for fantasy dog parks - WFLA News Channel 8

Berkus joins team for fantasy dog parks

Posted: Updated:
LOS ANGELES, CA (WFLA) -

Interior designer Nate Berkus has been adding fantasy to homes for 16 years, inspiring people with just the right creative touch. But he's been a dog-lover even longer, and he's turning his design expertise to a half-million-dollar fantasy dog park.

Berkus, 41, has joined the creative team for the 2014 Beneful Dream Dog Park Contest. Contestants have to answer one question: "If you had $500,000 to create a Dream Dog Park where you and your best buddy can play together, what would you do?"

In Lancaster, Pa., the answer included a doggy amusement park with a tennis ball tree and a 40-foot roller coaster bridge. The park there — the third contest winner — opens Aug. 6.

The first park was built in Johns Creek, Ga., with a family destination theme and includes a bone-shaped bridge, two splash pads, tunnels, rubberized mulch paths and shade trees. The second park in Alabaster, Ala., has synthetic turf, agility rings, a walking trail, a fetch football field, fire hydrant goalposts and a mulch adventure path with tunnels, said Brent Gleckler, brand director for Beneful dog food.

"There is nothing I love more than being with my dog," Berkus said of sidekick Tucker, a black mutt. Together, they visit a dog park nearly every night.

The parks in Alabaster and Johns Creek have been tourist magnets. In Georgia, the city had to make 72 new parking spaces next to the park to accommodate visitors.

In Alabama, people take good care of the park, but the city does a walkthrough once a day, sprays it down twice a week and uses a biodegradable chemical once a month, city parks director Tim Hamm said.

The dog park is part the city's flagship Veteran's Park, with a ball field complex, 2.5-mile walking trail, eight pavilions with picnic tables, two playgrounds, a skateboard park and veteran's memorial, Hamm said.

Every day, they get calls from tourists asking about hours and directions.

"The more people that come to our city, the more people will stop, eat and buy gas. We are all for that. Out-of-town users are great," Hamm said. "Anybody who wants to come, we more than welcome them in town."

Beneful has some requirements — large dogs must be separated from small dogs; the park has to be fenced for off-leash play; and it has to be a public or nonprofit park, open to the public at no charge.

"A park is a place for a community to come together. These parks are specifically designed for pet owners and their dogs, but everyone is welcome," Berkus said. "We're really looking at it from the dog's perspective. We will use smart materials that will last a long time, and make sure we factor in pet behaviors and create not only beautiful fun places but intelligently laid out places as well."

At Alabaster, the dog rules are typical of most dog parks: The off-leash area is for dogs, their handlers and those accompanying them, dogs have to be vaccinated, puppies and adult females in heat are banned and everyone has to clean up after their own dog.

Hamm said except for a few minor fights, there has been no trouble at the park. If there is a fight on your watch, the park has that covered too: A sign tells visitors "How to Break Up a Dog Fight."

Berkus, who has an upcoming NBC show called "American Dream Builders," is teaming up with contractor Jason Cameron, host of the DIY Network's "Man Caves," and Arden Moore, founder of fourleggedlife.com, for the latest contest.

So if Berkus were asked to design a $500,000 park for Tucker, what would he do?

"I would probably spend $495,000 bringing in squirrels because that's what Tucker likes. He's pretty simple. The sky is really the limit. It's an enormous budget and an enormous contribution to the communities where these parks are built and it really is meant to be a fantasyland."

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Peanut, almond butter recalled for salmonella risk

    Peanut, almond butter recalled for salmonella risk

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 4:16 AM EDT2014-08-20 08:16:32 GMT
    A unit of Hain Celestial Group Inc. is recalling some peanut and almond butter because of possible salmonella contamination.
    A unit of Hain Celestial Group Inc. is recalling some peanut and almond butter because of possible salmonella contamination.
  • Lakeland Electric warns customers about phone payment scam

    Lakeland Electric warns customers about phone payment scam

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 12:59 PM EDT2014-08-19 16:59:20 GMT
    Lakeland Electric customers beware of a current scam that involves an individual who calls and acts as if he is a representative of Lakeland Electric.
    Lakeland Electric customers beware of a current scam that involves an individual who calls and acts as if he is a representative of Lakeland Electric.
  • Brita recalling children's water bottles

    Brita recalling children's water bottles

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 9:36 AM EDT2014-08-19 13:36:14 GMT
    Brita is recalling approximately 242,500 children's water filter bottles due to a possible laceration hazard.
    Brita is recalling approximately 242,500 children's water filter bottles due to a possible laceration hazard.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Pillsbury Bake-Off: Marie Valdes' Spinach Dip-Stuffed Garlic Rolls

    Pillsbury Bake-Off: Marie Valdes' Spinach Dip-Stuffed Garlic Rolls

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 2:04 PM EDT2014-08-20 18:04:50 GMT
    Marie Valdes, of Brandon, is one of 100 finalists selected to compete for a $1 million in the 2014 Pillsbury Bake-Off. Her recipe is Spinach Dip Stuffed Garlic Rolls.Pillsbury Bake-Off photoMarie Valdes, of Brandon, is one of 100 finalists selected to compete for a $1 million in the 2014 Pillsbury Bake-Off. Her recipe is Spinach Dip Stuffed Garlic Rolls.Pillsbury Bake-Off photo
    Marie Valdes, of Brandon, is one of 100 finalists selected to compete for a $1 million in the 2014 Pillsbury Bake-Off. Her recipe is Spinach Dip Stuffed Garlic Rolls. You'll be able to vote for your favorite recipe in the 2014 Pillsbury Bake-Off finals in November in Nashville (get complete details here).
    Marie Valdes, of Brandon, is one of 100 finalists selected to compete for a $1 million in the 2014 Pillsbury Bake-Off. Her recipe is Spinach Dip Stuffed Garlic Rolls. You'll be able to vote for your favorite recipe in the 2014 Pillsbury Bake-Off finals in November in Nashville (get complete details here).
  • Pillsbury Bake-Off: Anna Zovko's Cinnamon-Pumpkin Muffins

    Pillsbury Bake-Off: Anna Zovko's Cinnamon-Pumpkin Muffins

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 2:04 PM EDT2014-08-20 18:04:18 GMT
    Anna Zovko, of Tampa, is one of 100 finalists selected to compete for a $1 million in the 2014 Pillsbury Bake-Off. Her recipe is Cinnamon-Pumpkin Muffins. Pillsbury Bake-Off photoAnna Zovko, of Tampa, is one of 100 finalists selected to compete for a $1 million in the 2014 Pillsbury Bake-Off. Her recipe is Cinnamon-Pumpkin Muffins. Pillsbury Bake-Off photo
    Anna Zovko, of Tampa, is one of 100 finalists selected to compete for a $1 million in the 2014 Pillsbury Bake-Off. Her recipe is Cinnamon-Pumpkin Muffins. You'll be able to vote for your favorite recipe in the 2014 Pillsbury Bake-Off finals in November in Nashville (get complete details here).
    Anna Zovko, of Tampa, is one of 100 finalists selected to compete for a $1 million in the 2014 Pillsbury Bake-Off. Her recipe is Cinnamon-Pumpkin Muffins. You'll be able to vote for your favorite recipe in the 2014 Pillsbury Bake-Off finals in November in Nashville (get complete details here).
  • Pillsbury Bake-Off: JoAnn Belack's Pepper Jack-Salsa Flatbread with an Italian Twist

    Pillsbury Bake-Off: JoAnn Belack's Pepper Jack-Salsa Flatbread with an Italian Twist

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 2:03 PM EDT2014-08-20 18:03:39 GMT
    JoAnn Belack, of Bradenton, is one of 100 finalists selected to compete for a $1 million in the 2014 Pillsbury Bake-Off. Her recipe is Pepper Jack-Salsa Flatbread with an Italian Twist. Photo credit Pillsbury JoAnn Belack, of Bradenton, is one of 100 finalists selected to compete for a $1 million in the 2014 Pillsbury Bake-Off. Her recipe is Pepper Jack-Salsa Flatbread with an Italian Twist. Photo credit Pillsbury
    JoAnn Belack, of Bradenton, is one of 100 finalists selected to compete for a $1 million in the 2014 Pillsbury Bake-Off. Her recipe is Pepper Jack-Salsa Flatbread with an Italian Twist. You'll be able to vote for your favorite recipe in the 2014 Pillsbury Bake-Off finals in November in Nashville (get complete details here).
    JoAnn Belack, of Bradenton, is one of 100 finalists selected to compete for a $1 million in the 2014 Pillsbury Bake-Off. Her recipe is Pepper Jack-Salsa Flatbread with an Italian Twist. You'll be able to vote for your favorite recipe in the 2014 Pillsbury Bake-Off finals in November in Nashville (get complete details here).
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.