How to Build Your Own Backyard Ice Rink

When winter hits its most bone-chilling low… it’s time to find a bright side.  And here’s one you can easily slide into: you can build your own backyard ice rink!  This is a surprisingly popular DIY project, especially in the coldest climates.  In fact, do-it-yourself ice skating rink kits are actually sold online – who knew?  But for the true DIY’r, you don’t even really need to buy a kit.  It’s pretty straight forward project that you can accomplish with basic supplies and a few thoughtful steps.

First, you’ll need to find a level spot in your yard that’s large enough to accommodate skaters and their hijinks, so make sure you’ve allowed plenty of room for slap shots and camel spins.  Next, you’ll need to decide how you’d like to build the skating area.  There are really two ways to go.  First, you could pack down the existing snow, build up a ridge along the perimeter, flood it with water and sharpen your skates.   While this is simple and quick, it’s more likely to result in some very rough ice that’s apt to send you flying on to your backside right in the middle of your three-turn flip-jump.

A better option is to clear the existing snow right down to the grass, built a border out of wood, plastic PVC pipe or even plastic landscaping edging.  Once that is set, you can use a tarp or heavy plastic sheeting as a liner for your soon-to-be ice pond.   Be sure to overlap over and outside of the wood or PVC you’ve used to mark off the area, so there are no leaks.   If you really want to step it up, you can even buy ice rink supplies online. 

The last step is to flood the area.  Wait until you see below freezing temps for at least three days in a row, then add water in stages, about ¼ to ½ inch worth at a time, and let it freeze over in between.  This method will produce the smoothest finished rink and be durable enough to last all season long.  To get even more fancy, you can also add outdoor lighting so your ice rink can be used for night skating.

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