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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So this is going to come off as sacrilege to this group, but stay with me. I have been building a back yard ice rink for the last 7 years. Yes, I pound stakes into the ground, put up boards, lights, netting, the whole nine yards. Construction of the boards and fencing happens once the grass goes dormant, but before the ground freezes (usually the Friday after thanksgiving). I put the liner (6mil poly sheeting) and fill the day before I am going to get 4 full days below freezing (anywhere from the 2nd week in December to the second week in January). Everyone freaks out and says I am killing the lawn, when in actually the lawn under the ice stays warmer than the rest of the lawn because the ice doesn't reach all the way to the ground. There are two issues that I get from doing this to myself every year. 1) compaction. Having 3-15 inches of water on the lawn is a lot of weight for 3-4 months. I solve this with a spring time aeration. The second issue I don't have a good answer on, snow mold. The area under the liner looks like a crop circle hell after I drain and cut up the liner. Does anyone have any suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
by the way, if your spouses think you are nuts for taking care of the lawn 24 x 7. Wait until you see how nuts they think you are when you getting the surface perfect at 1am with a garden hose and an ice scraper when it is -10 out because some of the neighborhood kids are coming over the next day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I would say go for it, just start small and expand from year to year as you get comfortable. The best way to test for level is with a string and a line level. Anything more than 15 inches in the deep end requires some serious bracing (remembering that every gallon of water is 8.3 pounds). My first 5 years I just used wood stakes from Lowes for bracing, then someone gave me the Nice rink brackets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The only area I have trouble with is the grass under the black stakes. I do get some dieback there, but the grass fills in by May (Thank you ***). Last year I had snow mold everywhere in my backyard, even where the rink wasn't, but it was pretty bad under the liner. Going to try some fungicide this year, but it grew out pretty quickly. This is a long way of saying that if you want to build a rink, the grass will not be impacted long term as long as you: 1) take the rink down before it gets warm out (before St. Patrick's day in my climate), 2) Do a full mechanical aeration as soon as the grass starts to grow (but before any preM goes down).
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
The long term forecast doesn't look promising in my area now. I don't think I will be dropping the liner and filling until after Christmas. I need 2-3 daytime highs below 32 degrees in order to have skate-able ice. Just need to convince the wife to buy a refrigeration system (only $42K!) so we can skate when it is 50 out.

https://www.ironsleek.com/portable-refrigerated-rinks
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Well, the Ice rink has died. We had a bunch of cold weather and the kids have been out on it. Unfortunately the liner has one to many cuts in it and most of the water has leaked out at this point (literally death by a thousand cuts). I could try and repair them, but between that and then refilling the rink (needs the hose in for about 8 hours at this point) I would then need another serious cold snap to make it usable again. Historically, this doesn't happen in my area, and frankly the kids aren't interested in skating anymore. As the ice melts I will be cutting the liner out and seeing if we have snow mold under it this year. Overall a good year for the rink, it was shorter than most years, but it got a lot of use when it was up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Most of the liner has been cut up and removed and the boards and brackets have been removed. Looks like there is some damage under the brackets (a little seed and fert will fix it). When it drys out I'll get a closer look at any snow mold and rake it out. Then aerate before the Pre-M (probably two or three weeks away)




 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
deljaso said:
That is awesome, and it is remarkable that it doesn't kill the grass.
I had an inflateable water slide on my yard for approximately 24 hours and got 100% kill underneath it one year on the 4th of July.
Putting something on the lawn during the growing season vs. when the ground is dormant or frozen results in a very different experience. If I wait until the 1st week of April to get the plastic off the lawn, I am looking a total loss.
 
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