It’s almost that time of the season. The snow begins to fall, the ice starts to accumulate on your windshield, and the extreme cold makes you want to stay in bed all day long. Well, it’s time to combat those gloomy feelings of Jack Frost and take advantage of the cold weather. The best way to do this: Build your very own ice rink! It’s a perfect winter activity for those who are just learning to skate or those old-school hockey players.
Step One – Find a Flat Space and Measure Size
It’s very important to utilize the most level area of your yard. If the ground is too uneven, the ice will vary in thickness from one end of the rink to the other. Once you’ve found a flat space, measure out the desired size of the rink in a rectangular shape. Place a stake at each corner and connect each one with string.
Step Two – Determine the Boards
After you’ve decided on the measurements, use wooden boards that best fit the necessary width and length of the rink. For example, let’s say you’ve decided on the dimensions of 20′ x 40′. In this situation, the best fit board is a 2”x10”x10’. You would need eight of these boards for the long side of the rink and two for each end. For taller boards, which are more desirable for playing hockey, the best option is to use ¾ inch plywood.
Step Three – Attach Stakes to Boards
Boards need to be staked or for taller boards, braced with triangular supports. You can build these triangular supports yourself with two by fours. A quick search online and you’ll get dozens of ways to provide support for boards. With stakes, start at any corner, drive a stake into the ground and lean the board up against the stake and attach the two with long screws.
Step Four – Lay Plastic Over Boards
You’ll want to use a minimum six mil (thickness) plastic for durability. Be sure to buy clear or white plastic, rather than colored plastic because the colored plastic will absorb the sunlight – causing your ice to melt. Spread the plastic over the entire surface area, tuck it in into the corners so it lays flat on the ground and stretches over the boards. To keep in place, you may want to staple the edges of the plastic towards the top of the board.
Step Five – Fill with water and Let It Freeze
Now is the easy part. Fill the rink with a minimum of two inches of water to ensure proper thickness to freeze. If you can’t avoid uneven slopes, be sure to compensate the lower slope with the correct amount of water. For example, the difference between the highest and lowest part of your yard is two inches. You must fill two inches of water at the highest point, but four inches of water at the lowest point for to make sure the surface is even. At the end of each day, clean the ice surface with a shovel and lay another 1/8″-1/4″ inch layer of water to resurface.
Do you have any more tips or tricks for backyard ice rinks? Share in the comments below!