Most of North America is still waiting for the bone-chilling cold of winter to set in, but dreams of hockey and ice skating are already dancing in our heads. If you have day temperatures hitting in the mid-30’s and nighttime temps that dip even lower, you could use a little elbow grease and turn your home and garden into a winter sports wonderland with a DIY ice rink, right in your own backyard.
Here are the basic steps to get you started on a rink of your own.
#1 Make a Plan
Whether you’re going to use your rink for a little home-style hockey or practicing your figure 8’s, you’ll definitely want to ensure that you’ve got the room you need.
#2 Gather Materials
Some instructions call for a wooden ice frame, some use the snow already in your yard, and this instructable calls for pvc pipe, which can be a money saver. Be sure you have what you need before you get started.
#3 Clear Your Rink Space
If you haven’t gotten any snow yet, then you’re in luck, the process will just take some quick pick-up of any twigs, branches, or yard toys. If you’ve already got snow in the backyard you’ll want to shovel, tamp, or scrape the snow down to a level surface.
#4 Set Up the Edge and Liner
Your rink must have a lip. You can use a variety of materials to accomplish this: wood, pvc, pipe, snow, etc. Once your edge is up, cover the area with a plastic liner or a plastic tarp. Why the liner? Because, unless you’re in the Arctic, your ice won’t freeze fast enough and you’ll end up freezing your lawn instead of making a nice rink.
#5 Add the Water
There are varying opinions on whether you should add layers of water or do it all at once, and as many varying results as opinions. If you’ve got time to layer, go ahead. If you’re impatient, like most of us, fill that rink up and let it freeze. Just be sure you’ve got a good strong edge and that your water stays contained.
Your rink will need maintenance throughout the winter. You can build your own scraper to remove bumps and cracks that can lead to a fall. You’ll also want to reapply water from time to time to keep your surface flat and free of cracks.
Turn on the backyard lights, bring a thermos of hot chocolate with you, and skate under the stars in your own backyard.