How to Make a Backyard Ice Rink?


Cold winter days can be sad and lonely. But do not be sad. Cause, this article is all about how to make an ice rick in your backyard to have a lot of fun in the winter.

To make a backyard ice rink, gather all the tools and resources then fix a specific place to build.

Choose a higher place before getting into it. Then prepare the ground and the liner. Make layouts and boxes. Build the ice rink structure. Then make a supporting frame to hold the structure and install the liner. Now fill up it with water. This is a basic idea of making a backyard ice rink. To learn more about easy ways step-by-step then keep reading.

Key Takeaways

  • To make a backyard ice rink, need tools and materials and follow the instructions step-by-step.
  • Consider the place where you want to build the rink. Make it suitable and higher than any other place.
  • Prepare the ground with layout and frame. Install a liner to fill the structure with water.
  • Maintain the rink and take care at the end of the season.

How to Build a Backyard Ice Rink?

To make an ice rink in the winter backyard of your house has the perfect place. Building an ice rink is not a big deal nor a one-on-one work either. To build it, you need to gather essential tools and materials.

Tools and Resources

Tools and resources

The recommended too and materials you need to build an ice rick. Luckily, this development is a beginner-friendly and covers some household tools you might already have.

The tools you need are:

  • A drill
  • Line level
  • Carpenter’s square
  • A garden hose that can reach your rink
  • Circular saw

And the resources you need are:

  • 6x 2-by-10s which is 12 feet long
  • 4x galvanized L brackets
  • 2x tie plates
  • 1x box #9 SD connector screws
  • 1x roll of 20-by-100 6mm plastic sheeting
  • 24x 2-inch spring clamps
  • 1x pack of wooden garden stakes
  • Twine

Step-by-step guide:

1. Consider rink size and space

Consider rink size and space

Before starting anything, make a plan. To start building an ice rink, consider its space and size of it. With this planning, 50 percent of the work will be done. You may be limited by the size or you have a lot of space that makes you confused to decide where you should build the rink. Try choosing the flattest area of your yard.

It should not have more than a few inches of slope and should be big enough to meet your skating flexibility for the season. If you just want to teach your young kids how to skate then a small area 10-foot by 10-foot is probably fine. You will need a much larger space if you want to get small hockey games going.

2. Prepare the Ground and the Liner

Once you know where and how big your rink is going to be, drive wooden garden stakes into the ground at each of your corners.

Starting with the corner that you think is tallest, tie a piece of twine to the stake about four inches from the ground. Then tie up the other end of the twine to the next stake. Use a line leveler to ensure that the string is at the same level.

Check if the string is at least four inches off the ground the entire length of the side. If it is not four inches of clearance everywhere then raise the string until it reaches. This string represents the top of the ice and for safety, the ice should be at least four inches thick.

Repeat this process with all four sides and the diagonals to ensure that you have at least four inches of clearance everywhere. Some areas will have a minimum clearance of four inches, while other areas will have much more.

3. Lay out and frame the box

Lay out and frame the box

Lay out all of your two-by-10s boards to make sure everything fits as needed.

Once everything is in place then start building from the corners. But two 2-by-10s together and secure them with L brackets and number 9 SD connector screws. Check that the corners are square with your carpenter’s square.

When all four corners are built and laid out then make position so that they follow the twine layout that you have set up. Check the box is square enough by measuring corner to corner as well as the diagonals. Each diagonal should be at the same length. If they are not, then push the longer diagonal corners closer together until both diagonal lengths match.

Once the box is square or close enough then secure the remaining boards along the long edges together with the tie-plates and number 9 screws.

The top of your lumber should be several inches above the twine all the way around. If you have any angles or edges that are close to or below the ice line then you’ll need to build a second layer to surround the water. To keep costs down, only build the second layer where the water depth is actually needed.

4. Construct the Ice rink

Construct the Ice rink

This one is probably the easiest part. All you need to do is put together the wooden stakes and have confidence it goes together right. You also got to remember the size of your rink. The size of our ice rink is 36′ by 46′. It is more than enough room for a family of 7 to ice skate.

Now, check your corners to make sure they all are the same. If not then just move the wooden stakes around till they do. I suggest you try a couple of cinder blocks nearby to keep the wooden stakes still once the measurements are done. An easier way to remember this is equal diagonals mean a perfect rectangle. Finally, it’s starting to take shape.

5. Build bracing and support

Drive wooden garden stakes into the ground at periodic breaks. Press tight against the box. Experts recommend three per board. These stakes will support holding the lumber in place as it takes the weight of the water. Try to drive the stakes at least a foot down to the ground and more if you can.

Use a circular saw or responding saw to remove the tops of the stakes above the box.

6. Install the liner

Install the liner

Once the box is built, squared, and braced then install the plastic liner. Always use lighter or clear plastic for the liner. Darker colors absorb heat and will make the ice melt faster on warmer winter days.

First, drain the area inside the box. Remove whatever might rip the liner. Maybe sticks, rocks, metal, or gears you forgot to pick up.

Measure enough plastic so that the liner totally covers and wraps around the wooden frame on all edges. Pull the plastic tight. You do not want large folds and creases. Especially not ones that stick up. These interfere with solid ice formation and if they are large enough could stick out the top of the ice and trip a skater.

Once the plastic is drawn tight then secure it to the wooden frame with spring clamps. Use clamps instead of staples or nails to both avoid tearing the liner and to let you adjust the plastic as desired while you are filling.

7. Fill the rink with water

Fill the rink when you are projected to get several very cold days one after the other. Bring your tube down and put the end inside the rink then turn it on. You may want to lock the pipe in place just so it does not push itself out of the rink.

Expect it to take hours. Check on it periodically and adjust any plastic that is moving around by loosening the locks. Once the water has reached the height of the twine then stop filling. Keep the water there to freeze for several days until it is solid enough to play hockey on it.

8. Maintain the rink

Maintain the rink

The work is not finished yet even when the ice is frozen. Skating will chip and scratch the ice, snowfall will leave a crusty, slushy surface behind that is hard to skate on. If you want to skate for the whole winter, then you need to maintain the ice.

You can refinish the ice yourself by shoveling out all of the loose snow and ice and then flooding the rink again with a thin layer of water. When this refreezes you will have a smooth and clean surface.

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Take care of your backyard at the end of the season

Making an ice rink is only for cold seasons. After winter you need to take care of the place where you build the rink. It is more important and crucial than building the ice rick.

An ice rink is a slippery place. Anyone without ice skating shoes and proper safety will fall. It makes a dangerous pick for kids and adults too. That is why you need to take care of this rink. First, make a sign for it and put it open so it may seem alert. Then cover the area so that kids and pets are prevented to enter. Let it be like this for a few days to melt the solid ice. Use a heating device if necessary. Make sure that the place is iceless and has glass on there.


1. Will regular tarp work for the ice rink?

Select a light color tarp for use in an outdoor or backyard ice skating rink. If you think the tarp will still be in use in the springtime then a clear poly tarp makes a good choice. Tarps are made from a much more durable material than ice rink liners.

2. Is it better to flood a rink with hot or cold water?

If the temperature is (-10 to -20) degrees Celsius range then your water can be cold or warm. When the temperature is colder than -20 degrees Celsius it’s best to flood your rink with warmer water for best results.

3. Can you fill the rink with snow?

Clean up the ice after every skate and snowfall. Fill in any hovels with snow, not water. First, smooth out the ice and then flood it to a depth of 4 mm. Note that if you can use warm water then you will get harder ice.

Final Thoughts

Making an ice rink is fun on winter days. To make a winter playground for kids to play ice hockey is not that big a deal.

First, gather the tools and materials needed to build. Then choose the place and size. Line up the ground to prepare for layouts. Make boxes and layouts by using drive wooden garden stakes. Then construct the ice rink structure. Build the supporting brace to keep the water. Now, install a liner that helps to keep the size steady. Fill up the rink with water and maintain the rink when it is done. You also need to take care of the ice rink after the season is over and clean up that area so no one will get hurt by falling. I hope this article will help at the best to make a backyard ice rink.

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I am Donald M. Beyer and I am backyard enthusiasts. I am a homeowner who has been doing DIY projects in and out of my house for many years. From simple backyard lunches to making an old-school pizza oven in my own backyard, I have a lot of experience in turning my backyard into my and my family’s personal playground.

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