‘Tis the season as they say. Hockey season is back. Cold weather is here. The deep freeze is here. It’s time to skate in your backyard. It’s pretty simple and you can be skating by this Sunday.
You’ll need 1. a flat place in your yard(duh, gotta have a yard) 2.a good hose 3.a good spray nozzle 4. plenty of warm clothes 5.An understanding spouse 6.peeler or garden logs 7.a big sheet of plastic 8.straw.
Okay assuming you’re good with all this let’s go outside. May as well check that list and head to your garden or hardware store. The peeler or garden logs are important. They usually come in six or eight foot sections. So, assuming your rink size will be rectangular lets go for 12 x 24. Yours may be bigger or a lot bigger for hockey but if you have small kids this will work fine.
So think of a rectangle 12ftx24ft. So, you’ll need 12 6 foot posts. Here’s a note. I like to use the round garden posts but you can use double 2×4′s or 4×4′s. All you really need these for is to create the ends to hold the water and the plastic.
Next up the inside of the rink. water sinks to it’s lowest point so assuming you’ve found a relatively level place in the yard you can use straw to fill in any low lying depressions or rifts. What you can’t do is build this on a hillside. Once it’s “eyeball” level lay the plastic sheet down. Make sure you lay it lightly over the border logs so that it overhangs to the outside. You don’t need to secure it as the water will hold it but you might want to build the outside border up with snow.
Now the good part. Just add water. Make sure you have a good connection either from the side of the house or from inside. Connect the hose and use a good nozzle or better yet one of those plant wands. You want to spray the water gently and usually no more than a quarter inch at a time.The first layer is important and in this cold weather, anything at about 20 degrees will freeze in about three hours. Stay off the surface as you water because footprints can make pretty big depressions.
After watering you have to take the hose and attachments, drained, and back inside the house or they will freeze and your project will come to a frustrating halt. Three hours later, haul the hose back out and add another layer of water again using the spray. Just a stream of water will make a “cut” in the ice so be careful of that.
Keep adding water at about a quarter inch at a time till you get two inches of ice. If it snows in between sprays see if you can pull some of the snow off with a long handled broom but again stay off the ice or you’ll just crack it.
Best to do your “icing’ early in the morning or in the evening and through the night. Yes, your neighbors will think your crazy…until you have a rink. Then they’ll all want to skate. If hockey is going to be played and who am I kidding, encourage the soft rubber pucks or a tennis ball. The regular hard pucks will usually end up in one of your windows. Take my word for it.