Building a Backyard Rink -- and Saving your Lawn!

Building a Backyard Rink -- and Saving your Lawn!

Ever thought about making an outdoor rink in your backyard during the wintertime?

Ever, quickly after thinking about making an outdoor rink in your backyard, reconsidered because you thought you'd wreck your lawn that you so painstakingly care for in our three other seasons?

Good news: it doesn't have to be a choice between the two; having a rink doesn't guarantee dead grass. In fact, a correctly-built rink means that your grass lives to see another summer!  

Keep reading for basic tips on how to build a rink in your very own backyard, making you the envy of parents of bug-eyed, video-game-playing, stir-crazy kids everywhere!

1.  Start with a 1" base of lightly-packed snow. This will act as a barrier between the grass and the ice.  

2. Use packed snow, wood boards, or pvc pipe to create a border and provide a minimum 3" lip which will contain the water. The ice should be at least 3" thick to hold an average adult.

3. Apply several light sprinklings of water to freeze before flooding the rink. This ice layer prevents water from soaking through the snow and reaching the grass. A sheet of plastic or tarp can also be used as a liner to prevent water from soaking through to the grass. A white tarp is suggested as this helps eliminate sun damage to your lawn.  

4. Once the base and sides are ready, the rink can be flooded. To freeze the ice solid, the temperature should be about 20 degrees Fahrenheit, or -7 degrees Celsius, for at least three consecutive days. To fill in holes and cracks, use a water-snow slush as filler and allow it to freeze.

5. Winterkill on one's lawn is most likely to occur in the spring when freezing and thawing occur. When the rink starts melting, take measures to speed up the melting and draining of the water. Snow banks and boards around the edges of the rink should be removed so the water can run off. Breaking up the ice and spreading out dark materials to attract the sun may speed up the melting.

Happy skating!

1 comment

  • Amanda Drew

    I like how you say that you aren’t guaranteed dead grass if you get an ice rink. Speeding up the melting by removing snow banks and spreading out dark materials really would help your grass survive. My husband and I love skating, but we don’t really like going all the way to an ice rink, especially now that we have a toddler. I should find someone who makes backyard ice rinks now that I know I can keep my grass alive.

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