FIND THE RIGHT PLOT. Ice skating requires a level surface, so measure off a plot where your yard is most level. Mark a plot with stakes and string, then use a string level to check for inconsistencies in the height of the string from the ground. For even more precision, use a laser level that’s rated for outdoor use.
BOUND THE RINK. You’ll need boundaries to keep the water in place until it freezes. If you’ve already had snow, the simplest way is to surround your rink with berms, mounding the snow in an unbroken ring around the area. In more temperate regions, the ground may remain unfrozen, even when the air temperature drops below freezing. If the top layer of ground in your landscape isn’t frozen, put a layer of waterproof liner between it and the rink. (Image: Shutterstock Jody Dingle)
STEP 3: PACK THE FLOOR Between the ground and the ice, you’ll want a solid 6 inches of packed snow. A lawn roller is a useful piece of equipment for ensuring a flat, compacted surface. You can also lay down sheet of plywood and pack the snow down by treading evenly across the sheet. (Image: Shutterstock Pi-Lens)
STEP 4: FILL THE RINK Now it’s time to start layering on the ice. The best method is slow and steady, adding water over multiple nights. Using a garden hose at low pressure, water the floor of the rink liberally, adding about an inch of water each night. That will ensure a thick surface of solidly frozen ice. Watering after sundown will ensure a quicker, more solid freeze. Once you’ve built up at least 3 inches of ice, your rink is ready to use.
Looking for a way to utilize your landscape during the frigid winter months? Our pal Newf in the Home Depot Garden Club Forums recently showed us the basics of forming an ice skating rink. Here’s how you can install a simple, temporary skating rink in your own backyard.
Tip: Use a wooden paint stirrer as a sounding stick. Plant the stirrer near the edge of the rink, leaving the top 3 inches protruding from the snow floor. Water added to the rink will gradually submerge the stirrer. When the sounding stick no longer stands above the surface of the rink, the ice is thick enough to skate on.
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