Top Ten Tips for the Perfect Backyard Ice Rink

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Winter is coming and your ice skating itch is flaring up agai.n. Or maybe you're just a hockey fanatic! Instead of hauling yourself and the kids to the ice hockey rink every day, why not utilize the space in your yard for a backyard ice rink…? They’re simple to make and fun for the whole family. Have your own family hockey games and invite the whole neighborhood to join in.

Here's how to build your very own superior ice rink:

  1. Figure out where you can build your rink. Try to find the most level section of your yard and then figure out how large the rink will be. Do not build your rink over a septic system as the large amount of water will cause some tremendous problems!

  2. Level out any sections of your lawn that need to be raised. A level surface is VERY important for your ice rink. If you have some sections that are lower than they should be, use topsoil or even packed snow to even them out. (Remember: snow will melt!)

  3. Purchase your backyard ice rink materials. You need to make a decision now: do you want a fancy rink or a basic rink?

    Here is a list of basic materials you will need (and some fun add-ons too):

    • 2” x 10” boards – enough for your border (if you’d like to be really fancy you can look into community rink dasher board systems)

    • 2” x 2” stakes – enough to use about every 3’ around your border

    • Door hinges and deck screws to fasten corners

    • Plastic sheet – this will act as your ice rink liner. Get enough to cover the bottom of your rink AND flow over the tops of your boards.

    • Large staples to fasten your liner

    • Duct tape to join the liner in the middle (if you have more than one piece)

    • Pond hockey net (x2)

    • Plywood – this is not necessary but can act as a puck board. You will need some 4” x 4” s  or fence posts to brace these on the outside if you decide to go this route. If you're really serious, check into a community ice rink dasher board system.*

    • Marsh Pegs (they are frozen into your ice surface and keep the net in place)*

    • Line Kit ( to make those fancy lines on your ice hockey rink)*

    • Flood lights for night games*

    *fun add-ons

  4. After your rink area has been leveled out, construct your ice rink frame using the 2” x 10” s, stakes, deck screws, and door hinges. Make sure you do this BEFORE the ground is frozen solid.

  5. Place your ice rink liner inside your frame so that the sides are draping over. Duct tape the liner together in the middle if need be. Leave about a 1’ overlap.

  6. Staple your liner to the frame above the water level or on the outside of the rink.

  7. If putting up a puck board you can do so now, along with the supports. You may be able to use your fence posts for support instead if you are building right to a fence.

  8. Now you can flood your rink. This will have to be done in several steps and done when you are fairly certain that the weather will stay cold. The first night, flood your rink with the hose, then for a few consecutive nights, spray the surface until it evens out.

  9. If you are using a lines kit, do so now before you put the last layer or two of ice on.

  10. Don’t forget to use your marsh pegs if you have purchased them and install your hockey nets into the ice rink surface.

Now you are ready for ice skating, hockey games and some old fashioned fun! Now all you have to figure out is who’s going to shovel the rink…? Have fun!

Lilly Gordon is a freelance writer and web publisher. She is an avid hockey and ice skating fan and is a supporter of family activities.

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