You have probably seen skating on television. You get to see professionals swing on the ice and getting tossed in the air while performing stunts that drive you to learn it. However, ice rinks are not only for skating, you can play ice hockey on them too. With that in mind, many children and young adults dream of getting and building an ice rink right in their yards.
When buying ice rinks in stores, you have to consider a few things, from the access to a water source to the space you have to cater to the size of the rink. If you have a large backyard and budget, you can go big.
If you live with toddlers or children aged 2 to 6 years old, it is ideal to start with a small and portable ice rink and expand it in the future. In an 800 sq. ft. space, a 20’x40’ or smaller ice rink is ideal. If you have 7,200 sq. ft. or more, a 48’x80’ to 60’x120’ rink is a great choice.
In this article, we will discuss backyard ice rinks buying tips and what is a suitable rink size for your backyard. We will also give you some helpful tips to keep you skating on a smooth rink.
Buying Guide for Backyard Ice Rinks
When choosing the size of a backyard ice rink, it is important to consider what the purpose of your ice rink is. Will it be for recreational use or training purposes? Determining this will help you pick the right ice rink for your family. Below are all the things you need to consider before buying a backyard ice rink.
- Space and Rink Size
When buying an ice rink, you must choose one that fits your backyard space. Also, make sure that there’s enough space to accommodate your needs while using the ice rink. If you plan to have a permanent ice rink, consider its purpose and size since it will be different if it is used for recreational purposes and to accommodate your kid-size as they grow up.
If you live with children aged 2 to 6 years old, it is ideal to start with a small and portable ice rink and expand it in the future. See the information below regarding the best ice rink sizes for your family.
- 20’x40’ or smaller – This size is perfect for training and families with toddlers or kids learning to skate. If you have a space smaller than 800 sq. ft., this is the ideal size.
- 28’x50 to 40’x80’ – If you have 1,400 to 3,200sq. ft available, this could be a great size as it is suitable for training and recreation purposes as well as families with children 6 to 18 years old.
- 48’x80’ to 60’x120’ – This size of ice rink is suitable for an area of 7.200 sq. ft. or more. It is also perfect for big families with both toddlers and young adults, and ideal for training.
If you have a large backyard and budget, you can go big. Having a big rink will cater more fun and enjoyment, especially if you have friends coming over. However, if you are unsure about using your rink, start small and go bigger later on.
- Access to Water
Access to a water source is determining when deciding on the location of your rink. It is a crucial factor to consider, especially if it’s time to flood and resurface your rink. If your water source is far from your rink, you’ll have to use a hose. Besides, you might also need a hose reel and a large bucket to simplify the resurfacing. When the outdoors temperatures reach 10℉, it will be especially practical for you not to haul out your hose every time you want to resurface your rink.
When looking for a suitable location for ice rink installation in your backyard, it is important to consider the following:
- If possible, look for a leveled area in your backyard to put your ice rink. Uneven and bumpy areas will require ground leveling and excavation work, which will cost you more.
- As much as possible, consider positioning the ice rink just a few steps away from the warning area or skate change.
- Avoid placing your ice rink near big trees and large roots to prevent additional excavation work and damages.
- It is ideal to put your ice rink in an area off to the side rather than in the middle of your backyard.
- When choosing the location for your ice rink, keep enough space on all sides for snow removal and ground maintenance.
Backyard Ice Rinks’ Maintenance Tips
Once you have bought or built your backyard ice rink, the happiness and fun end when you have to maintain it to ensure smoothness to keep using it. Ice rink maintenance isn’t a tough chore to do, although it can vary based on your rink’s size. Here are some helpful ice rink maintenance tips.
- Limit your ice
As much as possible, limit your ice-making duties. It is best to do it in the evening when the surroundings are calm, windless, and the air temperature is 0–20°F. A difference of a few degrees will not make a huge contrast. However, it is the standard temperature range for ice formation. The ice will neither form faster or slower at these temperatures.
- Ensure the ice is thick
Ensure that the ice in your rink is thick. At least 4 inches of clear and black ice is the standard for safe foot traffic as ice can melt quickly and lose its structural strength, especially in the spring. If your ice is thick, you are guaranteed to be safe to make any movement.
- Avoid spiked boots
While flooding, avoid using spiked boots or slip-on traction savers for they can quickly scar the forming ice and put your effort to waste. This may seem counterintuitive from a safety point of view, but wearing sharp-edged footwear doesn’t do any good on ice, especially while flooding.
- Make sure it is free of snow
Before skating, make sure that the rink is free of snow. You can use a shovel, snowblower, or snowplow attached to a vehicle to remove the snow on your rink. However, the use of the aforementioned materials depends on the size of your ice rink. You can also clear the rink with ice chips after your skating session. Take your time when removing the snow in the rink for even a small amount of snow can turn into slush when it is flooding, and thus, injure your hip or butt.
- Inspect the rink
Before using your ice rink, inspect it for any possible gouges or divots. If you notice one, immediately fill it with snow and water mixture, or what’s commonly referred to as slush. To smoothen the slush, use a shove and do it like mudding a drywall seal.
- Add water
For small ice rinks near garden hoses, you can cut a hole that is large enough to dip in a five-gallon bucket of water. For large ice rinks with thicker ice that need hard chiseling, you can use a DC battery or AC powered-generator pump to conduct less labor-intensive work.
Drop the pump and attach the garden to the output of the pump and apply a layer of water over the ice. For larger ice rinks, using a water-transfer pump with 2 to 3 horsepower is necessary for it releases a hundred gallons per minute.
At times, you’ll have to be strategic with the evening layer of water in your ice rink. A hose or bucket will create a fairly even layer. You might also need to use a squeegee to push the water in some areas. Backyard ice rinks are less likely to become uneven than lake ice, which can become uneven while forming as the pressure builds throughout the winter. Also, after you use your ice rink or snow, make sure to prep and re-flood it.
Now that you have a guide to follow when buying an ice rink for you or your kids, remember that you must consider the space you have in your backyard before making any purchase. Also, keep in mind the simple and easy maintenance tips we shared above to keep you and your children away from any injury or hazard, and to make winter activities fun and smooth.