November 22, 2011

From NEHJ: Guide to building your backyard rink

By Jesse Connolly

Looking to build your own backyard rink? Here's what you'll need to know before you get started: Photo courtesy of Custom Ice Rinks.


Before you start: Make sure the surface is as flat as possible. Level it up with dirt, etc. if necessary.

Basic needs: Boards and brackets, a liner, a hose

Helpful tools: Skill-saw (for wood), staple-gun (attaching plastic to wood frame), a shovel, ice-resurfacing tool

When to begin: Set aside time for constructing boards in early November. Get cracking on laying down the liner and filling it with water sometime after Thanksgiving or when it begins hitting below-freezing temperatures overnight.

Board height: A minimum of eight inches, but ideally 12 to 16 inches
Watering: There should be roughly three inches of water everywhere.

Basic maintenance: Apply new water with hose and use ice-resurfacing tool, shovel off extract snow.

Disassembly: Find the lowest point, break away a bracket or two and slowly drain from there. Roll up liner carefully and store away along with boards and brackets.  


* Don’t wait too long to put your boards in place. The harder the ground is, the tougher it’ll be.

* Do your best to make the surface you’re building on as level as possible, but don’t fret if water is deeper in one corner than the other.

* Make sure you carve out leaves and other debris from the ice. If not, it’ll burn through the ice.

* Make sure your hose is long enough to reach the furthest corner of your rink.

* Add a coat of white paint to your boards. Warm weather will make the wood start to separate, so this will buy you some extra ice time.

* Store your liner away neatly in a secure area. If it tears or gets chewed up, it will need to be replaced.

* If your liner has imperfections, don’t be afraid to use it for extra support, laying it down under its new replacement next season.

This article originally appeared in the November 2011 issue of New England Hockey Journal.

Jesse Connolly can be reached at