4 Simple Steps to Creating an Ice Rink in Your Backyard
At-home ice rinks can mean the difference between a day spent on the iPad and a day spent outside for you or your kids. And while you may have marveled at the handiwork of someone else’s backyard rink in the past, there’s only a few real tricks to creating a fun and usable rink that even the kids can maintain for the rest of the winter.
You will need:
2” x 4” boards (enough for your desired dimensions)
Rebar stakes for each board
A light-coloured tarp (wide enough to cover your desired area plus 5 feet on all sides)
A staple gun
A hose and spray nozzle
Step 1 – Plan Carefully
Ideally, your rink should be built on the flattest part of your property. Be sure to place it within a good allowance of your property lines. If your rink boards are too close to the road, a hydro-pole or city amenity, or your neighbour’s property, the city may ask you to take down the boards. Aim to keep it in a centered location in the backyard. While a flat area is ideal, slightly unleveled or bumpy terrain can be fixed in step 2.
Before beginning construction on your board, be sure to check the weather. You will need the next 2-3 days to be below freezing.
Step 2 – Build It
Place your rink boards so that they are all on an even level—this may require some to be dug into the ground further, or the use of larger boards—which will help to correct any leveling issues. The recommended size for your boards is 2” x 4”. Each should be enforced with rebar stakes—and not because the boards can’t take a hit—the support will help keep your boards in place as the freezing ice expands.
Step 3 – Line It
The next step is to line the rink with a tarp to keep the water in. Make sure that your tarp is light-coloured—dark colours attract heat and will slow freezing and speed-up melting. Spread the tarp evenly and smoothly across the whole rink, bringing right to the corners and up the sides. Fold over the top of your boards, and staple in the back to secure. Be sure that the bottom corners of the tarp are not raised.
Step 4 – Ice It
Grab your hose and fill the rink with 1 inch of water. Let sit for 6 hours or until frozen. Then, with the nozzle attached, spray a one-inch layer of hot water on the ice repeatedly until you get about 4 inches of solid ice. Once frozen, you’re free to skate! To maintain the rink, simply clean the ice shavings off after each use, and spray a thin layer of hot water to fill in any cracks or skate marks.