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    Best Location for your Backyard Ice Rink

    December 11, 2011

    We carry the NiceRink brand (shown) and also Ice & Skate ice rinks

    Pool Experts, yes we are – but we also enjoy a brisk game of backyard ice hockey with the neighborhood. Backyard Ice Rinks are an important gathering place for otherwise snowbound Northerners during winter. They can really bring a community together, and more than one NHL hockey player got their start on a backyard home ice skating rink.

    The first question to consider, when thinking about installing your own personal ice skating rink, is Location. It is not recommended to use your swimming pool as a location for the ice rink, as the ice sheet will not be thick enough to support skaters during many times of winter.

    You should also consider the following when deciding on the location of your back yard ice rink.

    Shady spots in the yard help resist thawing from a bright daytime sun.

    Heavy Trees that drop small sticks and twigs or lose leaves very late, make a messy ice rink.

    Is it really level? It doesn’t have to be perfectly flat, but can’t slope more than an inch or two from end to end. The most important thing to check when planning a backyard ice rink is the slope of the area where you plan to skate. It may look flat, but is it really? You can determine the slope of your backyard with a measuring tape and a level,  or use a laser pointer that you place at 6? off the ground on one end of the rink, and see if it also measures 6 inches off the ground at the other end of the ice rink.

    Don’t worry about dips or small divots in the lawn – water will fill these low areas. High areas will need to be covered by at least 4? of water, so any bumps in the lawn shouldn’t be more than an inch or two in height.

    Water is going to seek its own level on your ice rink. You will want to have 4 or more inches of frozen water level, above any earth - to have a smooth, skate-able surface. Mulch or sand can be troweled with a 2×4 board to raise very low areas, but be sure to keep small rocks or sharp objects away from the ice rink liner.

    Mark the Perimeter. As a way to fully envision the ice rink, mark the perimeter with stakes and twine. This will help you spot the need for slight adjustments to your ice rink location, and is also important for ordering – so that you know how many panels to order for your ice rink.

    Ice Rinks need constant Water. When installing your backyard rink you want to make sure that you have easy access to water, to make it easier when you need to “resurface” the ice rink. There is nothing worse than having to drag a hose through the snow in the middle of the winter in freezing cold weather so the closer the rink is to your water source the easier the maintenance will be for your ice rink.

    Lighting your Ice Rink. Most people like to skate not only during the day but also in the evening so make sure that you have adequate lighting for the area. Lighting really makes your backyard ice rink come alive at night. A few extension cords running to shop lamps may be all you need – be sure to light up both ends of your ice rink if you plan on playing hockey. CFL bulbs are durable in cold weather, lasting longer than incandescent or halogen bulbs.

    Which surface is best for a backyard ice rink? Grass is fine. So is asphalt or concrete. Basketball courts are commonly re-purposed to winter sports. Raw dirt can even be used as your base - as long as the dirt is smooth and without small, sharp rocks (or too many of them). Water makes a poor surface for your home ice rink, so don’t try to install an ice rink on top of your swimming pool.

    Your backyard ice rink  can be installed on your lawn after the 1st snowfall; don’t worry about the rink ruining your grass because at that time of the season the grass is dormant.  My recommendation would be to install your rink before the snow comes it is much more enjoyable to build during the warmer weather.  A great time to start your personal ice rink project would be after all of the leaves fall from the trees.

    Once site selection for your ice rink is done,  before you know it you will be enjoying many hours of outdoor recreation on your own backyard ice skating rink! Like we do! :-)

    Note: We no longer carry backyard ice rinks :-(

    Chris Low
    SPP Pool Expert

    Blog Author
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