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Backyard ice rink?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My kids have taken an interest in skating and hockey, to compliment their skiing. We have a good sized backyard, and it would be fun to have an ice rink out there.

This brings up three questions:

1. Does anyone have any good plans for a DIY ice rink, and an estimate of the cost of materials?

2. Alternatively, are there any good, not-too-expensive kits out there?

3. How safe is it for the grass? Will I have a dead lawn in the spring?

(Apologies for the off-topic post. I wasn't sure where to put a non-off season sport post. Mods, feel free to move if necessary.)
post #2 of 11
A google search of "Backyard Ice Rinks" came up with plenty of info here.

I'm sure it wouldn't do your lawn any good, if that's a major concern.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
thanks, Coach. I did do a google search, and it turned up lots of hits. but I was hoping to get folks' personal experience about what works, what doesn't, what's cost-effective, etc.
post #4 of 11
When I was growing up I had a neighbor that made a backyard rink for his kids. I think he just put a plastic liner down , boards and filled with water on a night is was 2 degrees. I met some people a couple of years ago ; Burley Rink Supply in Johnstown , Pa. that do big commercial ice rinks but have also done some home ice rink kits. I'm sure its not cheap. The Olympic figure skater from Long Island was one of their home ice rink installations.
post #5 of 11
If you can find a copy of USA Hockey magazine, there's always a lot of ads for DIY backyard rink kits:


If your kids are in league play you might already be getting this.
post #6 of 11
I don't know what a DYI rink is, nor do I know how old your kids are, but.......

I have lived in Minnesota for the last 40 years and make a nice rink every year. It has never taken more that plowing the snow, making a small snowbank around the edges, turning the snowbank into ice, and putting new ice on every time it is cold enough and it seems to need it.

You need short grass and to make sure you get all of the leaves up, but the thought of getting a kit never crossed my mind. We do have a hose bib in a heated garage so we can get water outside all year, but that is all it takes. My kids don't play Hockey, so that may be your difference, but for good ice and fun skating, you don't need anything.
post #7 of 11
Use hot water; it has less air in it.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
sorry, skion, I wasn't clear. DIY=do it yourself. what I meant by that was a trip to the hardware store and cobbling something together myself, as opposed to ordering a kit with everything in it.

I've thought about doing it right on the bare ground, but here in Boston we have a couple of problems. one, it's likely to melt at some point and soak into the ground. two, water is very expensive here, so multiple fills could get costly. a plastic sheet with DIY ;-) sides or a kit might allow it to thaw a bit and then refreeze, no?

how big of a plastic sheet can you buy at the hardware store?

this kit looks promising, but it's not cheap:

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
p.s. I just called home despot, and they have large plastic sheets for $16, so that's probably the cheapest way to go.
post #10 of 11
i understand your dilema being in Bosten.

I think plastic sheets taped together with duct tape would work fine.

Around here we don't worry about losing our ice too early.

Good Luck!
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
thanks, skion. fortunately, I think the $16 home despot liner is big enough to use without duct tape. the person I spoke to was just guessing, but he thought it was ~40x100 ft. anything close to that would be more than enough for a 20x40 rink.

based on our current weather, though, this project may have to wait until next winter!
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