Three Busted Showstoppers About Backyard Rinks

How to make a homemade ice rink

You love hockey. You love figure skating. You love ice skating. You would do it like a million and fifty times more if it were more convenient, but getting into the car and driving to the ice rink takes enough extra time that you don’t do it nearly as much as you wish you could. Hang on, we’re about to blow your brain grapes…

How cool would it be to have a backyard ice rink?! If you only had to go out the back door to get your ice skating on, you could do it on the daily. In fact, all your friends are going to want a piece of that action. Your house will be the place to be.


But we know what you’re thinking. Your inner naysayer is telling you a hundred and fifty reasons why it will never work. We think that backyard rinks are really more attainable than you think and we want you to have the backyard of your dreams, so we’re here to bust those myths that are holding you back from a tricked-out backyard:


Three Busted Showstoppers About Backyard Rinks

  1. WRONG: The temperatures have to stay below freezing in order for backyard rinks to stay frozen.

    Water freezes as 32 degrees. It unfreezes when the temperature rises above 32 degrees. You might think that if the temperature in your area don’t stay below 32 degrees for long enough, all the work of building your backyard rinks won’t be worth the trouble.


    You might be surprised to find out that as long as it gets nice and cold overnight (which it tends to do, no matter where you live), the temperatures can rise above 32 degrees without making the temperature of your rink rise above 32 degrees and turning your rink into a swimming pool.


    Additionally, if you use the right equipment and the right technique, you’ll really extend your backyard skating season. Using white ice rink liners helps reflect the light and prevent heat absorption, which helps the ice in your backyard ice rink stay frozen. You can also paint the frame of your ice rink with a light reflective paint, to serve the same purpose. With a little know-how, you’ll be able to use your backyard ice rink for longer than the temps stay below freezing.
  2. WRONG: Having a back yard ice rink will ruin my lawn.
    It seems obvious that having a large sheet of plastic and ice on your backyard will destroy your grass, and leave you with a giant yellow spot in the shape of your backyard rink when you take it down for the spring. Maybe you even know someone this happened to. There are several mistakes people make when building their backyard rink that contributes to this:

    • If you use one of those dark-colored backyard ice rink tarps that you might find at a big box store (or maybe you’re just using a tarp that was never meant to be an ice rink liner), the grass below gets zero sunlight. As you know from your high school science glass, plants need sunlight to survive. Not having sunlight equals no dead grass.
    • On the reverse, if you build your ice rink in such a way that the sunlight is magnified (often caused by a clear tarp), it might get too much sunlight, which burns the roots. And bye-bye grass!
    • When you are flooding your ice rink, if you let the grass get flooded as well, the water freezes the roots and kills it over the winter. It’s important that you flood the rink, but not the grass.

    If you avoid these common mistakes while building your ice rink, you have a nearly certain chance of having a beautiful lush lawn when spring has sprung.


  3. WRONG: I don’t have the space for a back yard ice rink.

    If you live in an apartment with absolutely zero lawn, well you might be right on this point. Otherwise, you might be surprised how little space you really need to have an ice rink you can enjoy. As a rule of thumb, you want about ten square feet for each skater, in order to have enough space to enjoy. If you have an average-size family, you can get away with a rink as small as 20′ by 30′ and have more space than you even need.

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