Nothing is more Canadian than passing the time of a long, cold winter on a backyard ice rink. Sadly, there is a perception homemade rinks are difficult to make and even harder to maintain. Now with an array of products and how to videos available online, now it can be a simple project well worth a little effort for a ton of fun.
Before you begin, you’ll need to consider a few things:
How big of a rink do you want and where will you put it?
The bigger the rink, the more the materials and costs. Take measurements of your backyard and outline the shape and size you want. Check your slope and know for sure where your water line will be when you fill. This is the single most important step to building a rink. Even the slightest slope can lead to complications down the road.
Will you use a plastic liner?
You can flood your rink without a liner and you will get good ice with just a little more work. However, placing a plastic liner saves you a lot of time initially and later in maintenance. The liner holds the water so you can flood your rink as soon as the temperature permits with or without snow. A white liner is important as a dark colored one will absorb more sunlight/heat and melt the ice quicker.
Will you put up rink boards?
You can make a great outdoor ice rink surface without rink boards, but having boards makes it much more fun and it saves lots of time hunting for pucks that get lost in a snow perimeter. Rink boards also make flooding your rink easier with a wall to contain the water. Brackets and boards can be purchased from a backyard rink company or improvised from your local hardware store.
Sources of electricity and water?
Without lighting, the amount of rink use on short winter days is drastically reduced. Hang a string of Christmas lights or a couple of flood lights and extension cords. Make sure a water source is close by to fill the rink with water and maintain it through the season. Remember to drain the outdoor tap and bring the hose indoors after each use to prevent them from freezing.
Here’s a list of some better websites we’ve found that offer DIY step by step instructions or one-stop shops that supply complete kits for purchase.
- www.rymarrinks.ca - An Alberta based rink supplier
- www.howtohockey.com/how-to-build-a-backyard-hockey-rink - A DIY guide
- www.nicerink.com/top10/ - Top 10 questions about building a rink
- www.canada.ironsleek.com/rink-ideas - Install vs. build from scratch