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Ice rink, slopes and fences

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by dave@benders-of-edina.com, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. We built an ice rink this winter on the flatest part of our backyard and discovered what a blast it is. With a 5-year-old and 6-year old, it can't be beat! But there are a couple problems related to landscaping. I'm hoping someone here can help.

    The big issue is that our flat backyard is not perfectly flat. It looked it in the fall, but when we put down plastic and 2x12 walls and starting filling it with water, we learned just how un-flat it was. One side of the rink area has about a 2-percent grade. This means that at one end, we've got almost no ice and 36 feet away, we've got more than a foot of ice.

    My questions:

    1) What's the best way to level a lawn, "best" meaning easiest, cheapest and least disruptive of the lawn.

    2) How do we deal with fences? We've got chain link fence around the backyard. If we add a foot of soil on that side of the yard, what are the options for dealing with the fence? Do we put in an foot-high retaining wall a few feet inside the fence (leaving a small gulley sort of and making that area, which is on the north side, pretty ungrowable); raise the fence and put the retaining wall on the property line; or something else?

    3) As long as we're thinking big, are there things we could do that would make drainage better? We get a fair amount of water in the basement. Are there drainage techniques we could put into the ground as long as it's dug up?

    4) What price range are we talking about to do any of this?

    Thanks in advance for any pointers you can point me to.

  2. jreiff

    jreiff LawnSite Senior Member
    from MN
    Posts: 402

    Do you have any pictures of the rink and backyard. Just to help get a better picture of what you are dealing with.

    Where at in the Twin Cities are you?

  3. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,654

    I’m curious; I take it that this is only a temporary skating rink, and that in the spring you’ll dismantle it and store it until next winter? It’s probably rectangular in shape and about 36’ long by maybe half that in width?

    I really haven’t thought about what the effects would be on the lawn to have it covered like that all winter. I’d think that by spring the area would be getting pretty anemic.

    The easiest way to level the lawn would probably be to get someone in there with a Bobcat while the cheapest and least disruptive would be to do it by hand. You could rent a sod cutter and remove the turf, then one way or another get it leveled, and finally replace the turf.

    Your idea of the “gully” like area between the fence and the raised part of the lawn isn’t too uncommon. I saw a picture on here not long ago of where someone expanded a patio out towards a fence and basically ended up with what you’re talking about. There are some concerns when this is done. If the gully is too narrow, you tend to lose the benefits of the fence, making it more attractive for kids, and for dogs to jump over. Too wide, of course, means a smaller skating rink.

    And, you may want to research on the Internet different drainage techniques. A curtain drain is an example of one possibility of something that might help you with your basement water problem.

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