When to Start your Backyard Rink Setup

This is one of the most common questions we get – when should I set up?

We always advise people to wait until winter has arrived to stay.  There are some drawbacks to setting up too early:

  • Leaves and debris will collect in the liner
  • Animals can run through the rink area and damage the liner
  • Unfrozen ground becomes insulated by the layer of water for the rink, causing a delay in the freezing of the rink.

It is best to set up the liner on the day you intend to begin filling with water, reducing the time the liner is exposed to wind, debris and animals.  If you set up a wooden frame, then that can be done at any time during the autumn, reducing the work to be done in the cold weather.

Some tips:

  • Wait until the ground is frozen.  Before that, the ground is still emitting heat and will delay the freezing of your rink.
  • Watch for a cold spell of at least a few days when the nighttime lows are well below the freezing mark, and the daytime high temperatures are at or below the freezing temperature (0  Centigrade or 32 Fahrenheit)
  • Don’t set up your liner on a windy day. The liner will blow around and make it difficult to put in place.
  • Have a few friends or family members help with laying out the liner so it won’t be dragged across the frame. Liners are durable, but they can sustain damage if dragged across the corners of lumber or other objects.
  • Begin filling immediately after setup. We recommend adding an initial layer of water and letting it freeze, and then repeating the process daily.
  • If setting up with a wood frame, settle the rink liner into your frame, ensuring to tuck the liner down into the edges where the boards meet the ground. This will ensure that the boards are supporting the weight of the water, not the liner.


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