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Creating A Backyard Ice Rink – A Step-by-Step Guide

Ice NGo Backyard Ice Hockey Rink Kit

Winter is coming. And you may be dreaming about creating your very own backyard ice rink for fun family activities. 

Did you know that the process of building such a rink can be completed in roughly six hours?

Yep. You read that right.

This blog will guide you through an easy-to-follow step-by-step procedure to bring the rink dream to life, from planning right through to maintenance.

Step 1: Planning and Preparation

Choose a suitable location

Pick a flat area in your yard for the ice rink. It must be level to have good ice. Check for any dips or bumps, and fix them if you see any. Also make sure there aren’t any trees close by that can drop leaves on your rink.

Pick an area that gets plenty of sun during the day to help freeze the water.

Measure the area

Taking a good look at your yard is the first step. Find the right spot for your backyard ice rink. The land should be flat with nothing in the way.

Next, mark off the area for your rink. Use bright tape or string to see it well. The size of the space will tell you how big your rink can be. 

Keep in mind that bigger isn’t always better. 

A smaller area might freeze faster and need fewer materials.

Clear the ground and remove any obstacles

Making the ground clean and free of things blocking the way is a prime step in creating a backyard ice rink. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Find any rocks, branches or trash on the ground.
  2. Pick them up and set them aside.
  3. Rake leaves out of the way if it’s fall.
  4. Use a shovel to level out bumpy spots in your yard.
  5. Make sure your plot is as flat as possible for your ice rink.

Purchase necessary materials

To build a backyard ice rink, you will need the following materials:

  1. A flat and level site in your yard that is near a water source and has adequate lighting.
  2. A liner to cover the ground and prevent water from seeping into the soil. You can use a large tarp, plastic sheeting, or a specialized ice rink liner that you can buy online or from some hardware stores. Liner is used to form the base of the rink. It should be pulled tight and secured to the frame.
  3. Boards: A border to contain the water and ice. You can use wooden boards, plywood, PVC pipes, or snow banks to create a raised edge around the rink area. The border should be at least 3 inches high, or higher if your yard has a slope. Boards are used to create the frame of the rink and provide support.
  4. A water supply to fill the rink with water. You will need a garden hose that can reach the rink site and a water spigot that can be turned on and off easily.
  5. snow shovelgarden rake, and broom to prepare the base, remove snow, and smooth the ice surface. You may also want to use a snow blower if you have a lot of snow to clear.
  6. Hardware: You will need screws and brackets to assemble the frame and secure everything in place.

Optional: nets, sideboards, lights, or other accessories to enhance your skating experience.

What is the best wood for a backyard ice rink?

One of the most popular choices for backyard ice rink boards is 2x lumber, such as 2×10 or 2×12. This type of wood is thick and sturdy, and can hold a lot of water without bending or breaking. It is also relatively inexpensive and easy to find at most hardware stores. 

However, 2x lumber is also heavy and bulky, and may be difficult to store or move in the offseason. It may also require painting or staining to protect it from rotting or warping.

Plywood as a Board for Ice Rinks:

Another option for backyard ice rink boards is plywood, which is a thin sheet of wood made from layers of wood veneer glued together. Plywood is lightweight and easy to cut into strips or shapes. It is also cheaper than 2x lumber and can be stored more compactly. 

However, plywood tends to flex more and may not last as long as 2x lumber. It may also need extra support or bracing to prevent sagging or cracking. Plywood may also absorb water and swell, which can affect the smoothness of the ice surface.

The thickness of the plywood used for a backyard ice rink depends on the size and shape of the rink, and the amount of water and ice it needs to hold. 

Generally, thicker plywood is stronger and more durable than thinner plywood, but it is also more expensive and heavier. A common thickness for plywood rink boards is 5/8 inch, which can provide enough stability and support for most backyard rinks.

Step 2: Installation

Lay down the liner

To start creating your backyard ice rink, it’s time to lay down the liner. 

Although the estimated time and skill level required are not specified, following their instructions should make it manageable for most people. While they don’t mention the specific type of liner used, you will need one to create a barrier between the ground and the water that will become your skating surface.

The liner ensures that the water stays in place while freezing into ice, forming a smooth and even rink for you to enjoy.

You can also use a tarp for this. Read the key differences between tarp and liner, especially for ice rinks.

Set up the boards to create the rink perimeter

To create the rink perimeter for your backyard ice rink, you’ll need to set up the boards. These boards are made of lumber and serve as a boundary for your ice surface. 

Once in place, they help contain the water and prevent it from spilling out while also giving your rink a nice finished look. Making sure that the boards are secure is important to maintain the structure of your rink throughout its use.

Secure the boards in place

To secure the boards in place for your backyard ice rink, follow these steps:

  • Use sturdy stakes or screws to anchor the boards into the ground.
  • Place the stakes or screws evenly along the perimeter of the rink, about 3 feet apart.
  • Make sure they are driven deep enough into the ground to provide stability.
  • Ensure that the boards are tightly pressed against the stakes or screws to prevent any gaps.
  • Check for any loose areas and adjust as necessary.
  • Consider using additional supports or braces in corners or where there may be extra pressure.

Step 3: Filling and Freezing

Fill the rink with water

To fill your backyard ice rink with water, you will need a garden hose. Simply connect the hose to an outdoor water source and start filling up the rink. 

It’s important to make sure the liner is securely in place before adding water.

Depending on the size of your rink, it may take several hours for it to fill completely. Once filled, you’ll need to wait patiently for the water to freeze and solidify into ice. 

Allow the water to freeze completely

Once you have filled the rink with water, it’s important to let it freeze completely. This step is crucial in creating a solid and safe surface for skating. The time it takes for the water to freeze will depend on how big and deep your rink is.

It’s best to wait until several very cold days are forecasted before filling the rink, as this will help speed up the freezing process. Once the water is frozen, give it a few more days to make sure it’s solid all the way through.

Bonus: we curated a list of the best backyard ice rinks you can buy from; based on number of factors. Check it out.

Regularly check and maintain the ice surface

To keep your backyard ice rink in good condition for skating, it’s important to regularly check and maintain the ice surface. 

Read more about how to maintain the backyard ice rink

So That's It...

Now that you have a step-by-step guide to creating your own backyard ice rink, it’s time to get started! 

With just a few hours of work and some simple materials, you’ll be enjoying the thrill of skating in your own backyard.

Remember to plan and prepare, install the rink properly, fill it with water, and maintain the ice surface for endless winter fun. 

So gather your equipment and start building – the ice is waiting for you!

Meticulously building the rinks? You might have some questions. Check out the FAQs about backyard ice rinks that’ll help you in this process.