Skating is a favorite hobby of kids and even adults living in colder climates because it’s easy to learn without formal lessons. Making backyard ice rinks on their premises will give them more convenience.
Building a backyard rink could be challenging. However, there are easy steps that you can follow before the perfect season arrives, as your DIY ice rink needs natural snowfall to cover the ground before creation.
Ideally, put up your backyard rink in a flat spot when the temperature is between -7 degrees and -20 degrees Celsius. Keep your ice rink surface even, avoid flushing the rink in layers, and never leave your grass covered for a long time.
Backyard ice rinks are easy to set up when you have constant freezing temperatures, especially when it’s the winter season. When the rink is correctly made, your grass will not die. There are some tricks to keep your grass safe and achieve the smoothest ice rink surface.
You must undertake great responsibility when creating your ice rink, as it’s on your premises. The safety of all skaters in your yard is your top priority. You should require them to wear protective gear. Immediately repair cracks and holes in your rink, and make sure someone supervises the skaters.
In this article, we will tackle 10 tips for making your backyard ice rink and a list of do’s and don’ts. We will also answer all of your FAQs.
When should I set up my backyard ice rink?
The most ideal time to set up your backyard ice rink is when the temperature is -7 to -20 degrees Celsius. Ice rinks will be stable if the air temperature is 55 degrees Fahrenheit, while the ice temperature should be about 24 degrees Fahrenheit.
10 Tips on How to Build Your Backyard Ice Rink
If you live in a rural area that experiences freezing temperatures, and if you have a vast lawn, it’s suitable for you to make a backyard ice rink. Likely, skating will be a favorite pastime of your family.
Making a backyard ice rink must be done on flat ground. Consider the weather, protect the rink with proper bracing, speck any hole in your liner, keep a smooth surface, take care of the grass, and do some research to learn your local bylaws and home insurance rules.
Here are 10 tips for a safe and smooth skating:
- Look for a flat area
Flat areas are the ideal spots for building a backyard ice rink, preferably with enough lighting and close to water sources. If there is only a very slight slope, you can do the filling to attain a flat surface.
While little uneven areas might seem to have no impact on your ice rink, tiny bumps can create big trouble. You can simply tackle them when the area is soft. It’s also advised to first clear the spot and remove all sharp items from the area, such as rocks and sticks.
- Build an apt size
Build an ice rink in your backyard that’s appropriate to your needs. You don’t have to create an enormous skating rink if you’ll cater only to your family and neighbors. You can build a rink as small as 20×40 feet.
Remember, the more skaters join your ice rink, the bigger your responsibility is. Everyone should wear proper protective gear like helmets and elbow and knee pads. Skaters should always be properly supervised by an adult.
If you need a larger backyard ice rink and want to accommodate more skaters, ensure that it suits your yard and your budget.
- Observe the temperature
Once the temperature is below 36 degrees Fahrenheit in the morning and 32 degrees Fahrenheit at night, the ground is probably hard enough for your DIY ice rink.
There are two procedures involved in building an ice rink in the backyard concerning the weather: Create the frame before the base freezes, then wait until the conditions remain below zero before bordering the frame and flushing the rink.
- Proper bracing
Failure to brace the ice rink will result in flooding in your yard. You can utilize a board that’s made for ice rinks, or you can use plywood or two-by lumber.
Arrange the boards on the bracket with a minimum of 4-foot gaps. Various bracing designs are available online, such as wooden stakes.
- Putting down the liner
Put down the liner of your backyard ice rink only when you’re about to flush the rink with water. This will prevent leaves, small sticks, and even animals from getting into the rink.
Making the liner higher than the boards will prevent water from flowing the moment you begin flooding. It’s advisable to use clamps, and not staples, to contain the liner.
- Fill the rink
Professional ice rink creators recommend flushing the rink only once because filling in layers could harm the liner and cause unequal freezing.
For a firm freeze, the temperature must be 20 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler for at least three succeeding days. The perfect outcome can be achieved if you take the time to sprinkle small layers into the whole rink.
- Speck the holes in your liner
Blotch the holes with the use of roofing tar or patch tape, which you can buy from several companies that offer products for building backyard ice rinks.
- Maintain the smooth surface of your rink
Continued skating could cause cracks. To flush water with cracks and holes, you can apply a water-snow slush blend as a filler and let it freeze, then re-fill the rink.
If you observe that the snow falls, you can easily shovel it with a plastic push-style snow shovel. Or you can make use of a snowblower or broom. You can use a resurfacer and a thin layer of hot water to reach the smooth surface.
- Cautiously pull out your DIY ice rink
Pull out your liner before the spring comes, or else the grass will be damaged. If you notice that the ice starts melting, immediately drain the spot with a siphon or a submersible pump. You can throw away the liner, as you can’t use it for the next year.
- Do some research
Don’t limit your research on how to correctly build an ice rink. Rather, learn about your local bylaws and home insurance guidelines.
Various towns have rules on where to set up an ice rink and how to build and maintain it. You can also visit the zoning office of your town to see if you need a permit before you begin creating your ice rink.
Your home insurance policy can cover accidents or damage on the property that are caused by your ice rink. Consider the coverage of your insurance and look for what is covered for you, your family, and any skater guests.
Do’s & Don’ts of Building Your Own Backyard Rink
Building a backyard ice rink can be challenging, from choosing the right materials, to looking for a suitable place, to waiting for the perfect time to set it up. But through studying these do’s and don’ts, you’ll be able to create one successfully.
Take note: In building your ice rink, you should first protect your liner to prevent damage to the grass. Use strong brackets to prevent flooding in your yard, keep your ice rink flat, promptly repair/fill cracks and holes, and maintain a clean surface. An adult must supervise and require the skaters to wear protective gear.
Never fill your rink when the temperature is below -20 degrees. Also, don’t fill your rink when there is debris. Avoid flushing your rink in layers and, most importantly, never put your ice rink on a pond. You can build near a pond or any water source but never create a rink over the pond, as when the ice breaks it could destroy the entire rink and cause accidents.
Do’s of Building Your Own Backyard Ice Rink
- Protect the liner, as it’s where your ice will rest. Thus, it will prevent harm to the grass and control the surroundings of the rink.
- Prepare a double-sided white liner to keep your ice cool and mirror the sun.
- Use strong brackets that can maintain your rink and avoid flooding in your yard when the ice melts.
- Keep your ice rink smooth and even for safe skating at all times. Resurface when needed.
- Resurface the ice rink with just a little water. This will fix the cracks and keep your ice rink flat.
- Clean your backyard ice rink constantly, as snow will likely fall and make the ice rink surface bumpy. You can use a broom or shovel to clean and mend holes.
- Repair large cracks and holes in your ice by mixing snow and water (slush), then flatten the surface before filling the rink.
- Ask an expert for instructions on building a backyard ice rink and for recommendations of materials to be used.
- An adult must supervise the skaters. Skaters should never be alone on the rink.
- Skaters must wear proper gear at all times, such as helmets and pads.
Don’ts of Building Your Own Backyard Ice Rink
- Never flood your rink when the temperature is below -20 degrees, as the ice will easily crack. The ideal time to flush your rink is when the temperature is between -7 and -20 degrees Celsius.
- Don’t flood your rink if there is any debris or dirt, as this will create an uneven surface and cause injury.
- Do not build your rink on a pond. You can create an ice rink near a pond or close to any water source, but never build an ice rink on the pond itself. That’s because when the ice cracks, any skater may fall into it.
- Avoid flushing your rink in layers, as this weakens the ice. The ice may freeze at unlikely temperatures and ruin the form of your rink.
Our Answers to All Your Questions
Living in a cooler climate has various perks, one of which is the ability to make an ice rink in your backyard. Yet can this damage your lawn? Here are the answers to all your queries.
In making a backyard ice rink, you should know whether your grass is dormant and, therefore, whether it is safe to build a rink. Learn the things that could kill your grass and the factors that will keep your grass healthier. It’s not recommended to put up an ice rink without a liner.
Will a Backyard Ice Rink Kill my Grass?
Your backyard ice rink will not harm the grass if you build it between mid-December and mid-March, as the weather can freeze the water. Creating an ice rink outside of this time frame will not kill the covered grass, but the covered grass will fall behind the exposed grass in terms of growth.
How to Know When Your Grass Is Dormant So That You Can Start Building Your Rink
There are two points to consider with regard to whether your grass is dormant. The first point is the time of the year, while the second point is the variety of the grass. Most sorts of grass become dormant in cooler temperatures.
If you don’t know the type of grass in your lawn and want to build a backyard ice rink, your best solution is to observe the weather in your area. If the temperature becomes freezing and you live in a place that snows, then your grass will achieve the dormant state and it is safe to build an ice rink.
What Will Kill My Grass?
Here are a few issues that will harm your grass:
- Too much fertilizer on the ground before it is covered
Never cover a fertilized backyard because when the grass is out of the water, it oozes into the ground. Being beyond the cover tends to burn your living grass.
- Leaving the grass covered for a long time
Covering the grass for a long time will cause it to lose the ability to breathe carbon dioxide. Suddenly, the dormant grass will be damaged. Even on the spring side, the grass will be harmed if left covered for too long. However, most species of grass can sprout back perhaps after a week or more.
- Applying chemicals to the water
When using any chemicals, make sure you know their toxicity and impact on the environment and human health. Some chemicals threaten the landscape, native plants, and grass.
Will the Weight of the Water and Ice Kill the Grass?
Excessive weight can damage the roots of your grass. But commonly, the water level required to make an ice rink is only around 3 to 4 inches. At 4 inches, you’ll have 20.77 lbs. per square foot of weight on your grass. The entire body of ice is weighty yet scattered over the rink, so it’s likely just less than 1 lb. per square inch.
Also, the average weight of a skater in your yard, including the mass of their shoes, is 2.36 lbs. per square inch.
Avoid building an ice rink on uneven ground, considering the thermal and weight distributions that will freeze the ice into the grass for a longer time in just one area.
Would an Ice Rink without a Liner Be Better for My Grass?
Building an ice rink without a cover or base will let the water runoff when warm days arrive. You can make use of a good white-sided tarp or thick and strong plastic as a liner to sustain uniformity in your rink. It could be simpler to cut a new one every time you want to build as compared to reusing and cleaning the old one.
However, if you want to try creating an ice rink without a liner, it’s possible to do so. Just put it up when there are already freezing temperatures. For Northerners, the right time is at the end of December or the first week of January. This method requires extra patience.
Making backyard ice rinks requires a lot of research. You cannot put one up anytime and anywhere. There are various details that you should learn, as you’ll be catering to kids and adults, and they’ll be your responsibility.
Also, avoid damaging your grass and plants. To achieve safe and fun skating, start making your backyard rink only when you’ve already learned about the entire impact of your rink.