Backyard Rink Doesn't Kill Grass

Backyard Rink Doesn't Kill Grass

Post by 3 Tur » Thu, 22 Oct 1998 04:00:00


Winter is coming you do it yourselfers out there.  A few years ago I
experimented with, and managed to build a backyard skating rink that did
not kill the grass.  It took a figure skating nut's type of desire and
effort, some materials, and special equipment, but it worked just fine.
The grass came up in the spring!  I found the rink was great for
learning and concentrating on figures, turns, spins, and micro (no deep
picks) jumps.  Here's the formula I used.  First of all, you have to
have real winter, because I think you need a base of snow.  Probably the
most important about the whole thing is to make sure the water and ice
never come in contact with the grass.  So, with about a foot of snow in
the back yard I leveled it out and packed it down with a pair of skis -
it must form a level (for sure), and I believe firm base.  I left a rim
(ridge or bank) of snow about a foot high, all around the perimeter.
Then I got a roll of CLEAR builders polythene (medium thickness - 12
mil. I think) 8 ft. wide by 50 ft. long.  Since I had room for the rink
to be around 16 ft. wide and 20 ft. long, I carefully glued and taped
two sheets of polythene together side by side with an overlap of about 2
inches.  I used a hot glue gun to carefully run an unbroken bead of glue
along the edge of one sheet, about an inch from the edge, and overlapped
the other sheet about two inches onto it.  I then ran a strip of CLEAR
packing tape all along the seam to make absolutely sure it was sealed
and would not separate in handling, and there were NO HOLES for water to
get through.  NO HOLES, and CLEAR tape and polythene are important.  NO
WATER MUST ESCAPE either through the polythene or over the edges! (If
you can find a single unbroken sheet of clear polythene that will do the
job, you will be way ahead in the care and nerves game.)  Next I laid
the whole sheet out flat on the packed and leveled show, with the edges
up over the rim and held in place with chunks of snow.  I filled the
whole thing up with about an inch and a half of water from the garden
hose (like a wading pool) and let it freeze.  Skating rink!  I flooded
it a bit when it got carved up (drain the hose and bring it inside when
you are done).  I shoveled the snow off the rink when it snowed (leave
room outside the rim to pile the snow).  In the spring BEFORE the whole
thing melted during the final thaw, I broke the ice up with a sledge
hammer - it was about two inches thick at that time, but surprisingly
easy to break up.  I spread the ice chunks around the rest of the yard
and rolled the polythene up.  Everything melted nicely and the grass
came up just as ever.  I believe the key to the whole thing is to make
sure the snow is leveled and packed firmly but not too hard, and not to
let the water get to the grass and freeze in the roots.  I think the ice
should be broken up as well, and the polythene removed when Spring sets
in for good.  I have made rinks like this in a couple of locations with
success.  The first time I made one, however I used grey duct tape (guy
thing) on the seam and the ice over the seam kept melting from the sun's
heat on the duct tape.  It seems as long as the polythene and the tape
are clear, there are no problems.  It takes a bit of careful and
cautious work, but it's great to step out of the back door on a nice
winter evening, and do a few simple spins and jumps, without any moving
pylons around, or prop the little 'uns up with a chair for support and
watch them go!
 
 
 

Backyard Rink Doesn't Kill Grass

Post by Marcusfa » Fri, 23 Oct 1998 04:00:00

 Thanks so much for sharing that with us ! It was so interesting ! I had read
the Gretzy and Carruthers family had down the exact same thing for their kids !

Harriet