Josh Allen had always wanted to try ice skating. “It looked like something fun to do that was good exercise,” he said.

There is a public ice skating rink in East Aurora, N.Y., where he lives. “But I was too embarrassed to go out and slip and slide like Bambi,” said Mr. Allen, who is a prison guard and correction officer. “So I figured, ‘What a better place to start than my own backyard?’” He decided to build his own private rink.

Across the United States people have invested in the ultimate winter amenity: personal ice skating rinks. They range in extravagance. While some people are crossing their fingers for subfreezing temperatures and then dripping water over backyard patios, others are spending five and six figures to erect professional-level rinks with chillers that can be used in warmer weather.

Comprehensive data on how many people have built such a convenience was not available, but one Facebook group has more than 57,000 members who share tips and advice for backyard ice rinks.

The first challenge for Mr. Allen was conquering his tilted yard. He bought a laser level that he used to flatten his yard.

He then bought a 25-by-45-inch tarp from Amazon and draped it over a wood frame he assembled from pieces of lumber. When temperatures finally dipped below freezing, just after New Year’s, he filled up the frame with a garden hose and waited for the water to harden.

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