Build Your Own Ice Rink

Firstly, there are many ways to build your own ice rink but I will detail for you the way I build my rink every season. It has worked really well for me!

Others have told me that their methods have resulted in a rink that is hard to maintain and that they always experienced many periods during the winter where their rink is unusable.

Some people have actually given up on making their own ice rinks.

Us? Our family has been able to skate continuously on an extremely smooth ice surface from the end of November straight through to mid-March, every year.

Now that you've found, you don't have to give up on your ice rink plans!

I will show you what works so you can successfully make your own backyard ice rink and enjoy years of skating.

The most difficult and important decisions you need to make are:

  • What type of rink do you want to build or buy?
  • How big a rink do you want?
  • Will you build your own ice rink?
  • Will you use a plastic tarp or plastic liner?
  • Will you purchase a customized backyard rink?
  • Will you purchase a refrigerated rink?
  • Will you put up rink boards?
  • Will you use mother nature to freeze the ice?

STEP 1: Decide Which Backyard Ice Rink Concept Is For You

There are 3 conceptual methods to consider when making backyard ice rinks:

Decide Which Backyard Ice Rink Concept Is For You.

Once you have decided on your concept, continue with the following steps to build your own ice rink:

STEP 2: Design Your Rink

Take some time to design (sketch) your backyard rink. Visit this page for a few ideas on Ice Rink Design.

  • Take measurements of your backyard.
  • Figure out the shape and size of your backyard rink by observing your backyard.
  • Try to avoid choosing an area with too much slope. Pick an area with a surface that is as flat as possible.

    If your backyard is just too sloped, you might want to level your backyard beforehand.
  • Look around for any obstacles.

    When I first installed my own backyard rink, I had to remove my apple, cherry, plum and pear trees.

I build my backyard ice rink almost as large as my backyard permits.

The first time I built a rink, it measured 16'x 32'.

Since then I have been able to use my backyard space more efficiently and my backyard ice rink is now 32' x 40', just perfect for backyard hockey.

STEP 3: Will You Use a Plastic Liner or Plastic Tarp?

You do not necessarily need a plastic liner or a plastic tarp.

You can flood your rink without a liner or tarp and you will get good ice with just a little more work and as long as you get enough snow fall early enough, in your area.

However, placing a plastic liner or plastic tarp does save you a tremendous amount of time initially and it will further save you a lot of time in rink maintenance.

The liner holds the water and you can flood your rink as soon as the temperature permits with or without snow.

STEP 4: Will You Need Rink Boards?

You do not actually need rink boards in order to make your backyard skating rink. You can make a great outdoor ice rink surface to skate on without rink boards, but having rink boards makes it much much more fun for everyone, especially if you are planning to play hockey on your outdoor rink.

Rink Boards:

  • Contain the pucks! If you have only a snow perimeter, pucks get lost in the snow. Rink boards contain the pucks within the rink surface.
  • Playing backyard hockey is more fun!
  • Make the flooding of your rink much easier. The perimeter wall will contain the water.
  • Provide a place to store all your excess snow. You can easily move all your snow to behind the rink boards, keeping all the snow off the rink surface.

I do suggest you build your own ice rink with boards!

STEP 5: Buy Your Materials

We'll come back to this part a little later ...

STEP 6: Put Up Your Rink

I try to put up my rink structure before the cold winter weather kicks in. I usually put up my rink boards on the first weekend in November, right after Halloween.

Please take time to figure the type of rink you need before you attempt to build your own ice rink. It will make the project much easier and fun.

Whatever method you choose, having a backyard ice rink is very rewarding for the entire family!

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