Jeff Gray, our president and dad extraordinaire, shares his thoughts on how to build the perfect backyard ice rink.
“Ever since I was little, my family has always had (or wanted) a backyard ice rink. Anyone who has met my dad will understand why. He’s Canadian, for starters. He believes strongly in the power of fresh air and exercise for kids. And, perhaps most importantly, he spent most of his life on the ice. Whether it was as a kid, in college, or in the pros.
Now that I have a son, a house and a backyard, I have, you guessed it…a backyard ice rink.
Many of you have asked questions about our backyard ice rink – how we built it, the things we learned along the way.
I put together this post to answer as many questions as I can. I love having our backyard rink and, if you are thinking about building your own backyard rink, I would encourage you to go for it. It’s great fun and good exercise but, like a lot of things in life, there’s a lot that you just don’t know until you’ve experienced yourself.
Here are my top 7 tips for building a backyard ice rink:
#1 Planning makes perfect. Thinking about building a backyard ice rink? Cool. Leave yourself plenty of time to think through the design, placement and construction. The winter months are too late to start building BUT it’s a great time to walk your property and think about things like rink size and where the most level spot is to put it.
#2 Prepare before you build. Once you have a good idea of the size and placement of your backyard ice rink, you’ll need building materials… Lumber, nails, brackets and a liner. We picked up our boards at Home Depot. The brackets and liner we purchased through NiceRink. www.nicerink.com
#3 Timing matters. Try to wait until all the leaves have fallen and have been removed from your lawn. This way you won’t destroy your grass when you put the liner down. Also, remember to locate the flattest part of your lawn for the rink to be built on. Once you start flooding your rink you’ll know why this is an important consideration.
#4 Take your time. Lay out the sides of the boards so you can get a good idea of where the backyard rink is going to be on you lawn. Do you have enough room on either side to access the ice? Is the rink in a spot where lighting can be used for those late night skates? When the rink melts in the spring where will the water drain? It is important for you to see the skaters from the house in case something where to happen. Our backyard rink is viewable from our living room.
#5 Get help. Find a trusty sidekick, I would recommend a Canadian with a hockey background, to help you, but I am biased because it just so happens I have one available to lend me a hand.”