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How to Build a DIY Backyard Ice Skating Rink

Making the most out of the cold and snow can seem difficult. Winter activities like skiing and snowboarding can be pricey. Ice skating rinks can be expensive and far from your home. This year, you can bring the joy of ice skating to your own home by constructing your own, DIY backyard ice skating rink.

The process of building your own backyard ice skating rink isn’t as complex as you might think. With the right tools, a few months of freezing temperatures, and a good attitude, you can bring all the fun of ice skating to you. Here’s how to build a functional, DIY ice skating rink in your backyard this winter.

You Will Need

Before you get started, make sure you have the right tools for the job. Extremely basic backyard ice skating rinks can be constructed simply by driving lumber into a rectangular shape and then slowly flooding and freezing. However, for a little bit of an elevated experience, putting the time and effort into measuring and protecting your yard is worth it.

  1. Twine or Landscaping String

  2. Lumber

  3. Plastic Sheeting

  4. Galvanized Brackets

  5. Galvanized Screws and lag screws

  6. Stake Forms

  7. Shovel

  8. Hammer

  9. Drill

  10. Tape Measure

How To Build a Backyard Ice Skating Rink

1. Pick a spot.

Before doing anything else, you need to pick the right spot for your new backyard ice skating rink. A perfect spot will be as level as possible, away from any significant slopes. If you can find a spot within easy reach of your garden hose, this is recommended.

2. Measure out the area.

After you have selected a spot, it’s time to measure out your desired area. Use your tape measure to create a rectangle of your desired size. Mark the corners of your future ice skating rink using the concrete form stakes. Drive the stakes into the ground at each corner.

3. Build the frame.

Once your corners are marked, it’s time to build the frame. Use your brackets and lag screws to attach the framing lumber at its ends. This frame constitutes the sides of your rink. Secure the corners with galvanized screws and corner brackets. You should be left with a secure lumber framework.

4. Reinforce the frame of the ice skating rink.

Once your frame has been screwed together, you can take an extra step to reinforce the corners. Using the concrete stakes, drive the stakes into the ground along the outside perimeter of the frame.If your stakes have holes, drill long screws through the forms into the boards behind them. This will give your lumber something to lean against while water pressure from freezing builds.

5. Lay down plastic sheeting. 

Once the frame of your backyard ice skating rink is good and secure, it’s time to move to the next step. Before you can flood your rink, you need to lay down a barrier. This can be done in more than one way. Some may choose to pack a layer of snow firmly along the bottom of the rink, creating a barrier between the grass and the new ice.

This method can work, but it may take longer as you will need to freeze the rink in a thinner layer to prevent melting and flooding. A quicker way is simply to create a physical barrier using plastic sheeting.

To do this, unfold the plastic and lay it out inside of the frame. Push it flush to the ground and up along the sides of the lumber. Secure by stapling the plastic sheeting to the outside of the frame.

6. Fill the rink.

Once you have secured the plastic sheeting, you can move on to the final step–filling the rink. Filling a rink lined with plastic is simple. Grab your garden hose (making sure the water is turned on!), and begin to fill. You want your rink to be a minimum of 3 inches thick throughout so that it does not crack over time. The time it takes your rink to fill and to freeze depends on its size and outdoor conditions. 

Do not disturb your rink as it freezes. You want the surface of your backyard ice skating rink to be as smooth as possible. After all, it seems doubtful that any of us have a miniature zamboni laying around to buff out imperfections.

7. Get skating!

After your backyard ice skating rink is filled and frozen, it’s time to get skating. Dust off your ice skates, grab your hockey, and take some practice shots.

Whether you’re just learning to skate, or are excited to teach your kids, a backyard ice skating rink is an easy and inexpensive way to bring the best of the winter season straight to your home.

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