Better homes and gardens: The ten best DIY backyard ramp builds

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Better homes and gardens: The ten best DIY backyard ramp builds

Mitch Wheeler checks his tetanus shots are in date, then front blunts for Rich West’s lens.

Having some kind of backyard ramp has been a passing dream for most skateboarders, growing up staring idly out of parents’ windows and imagining at least a wooden miniramp taking the place of the patagonias and greenhouse. Being able to lazily stroll out the door, put down your morning coffee and do a few frontside grinds before work would start you off in a much better mood than, say, sitting in the kitchen wondering how many wankers are going to fart on the packed morning commute.

The backyard ramp comes in many forms; from the aforementioned humble wooden miniramp or even quarterpipe, to kinked concrete pits, to even the megaramp complexes that loom outside the properties of Danny Way and Bob Burnquist. I have avoided including these alongside some of the more ‘professional’ (for want of a better word) looking ramps as I’d rather this post fell into the inspirational rather than aspirational category, but couldn’t resist including some bigger garden features – you’ll still find Kowalski’s bowls and Red’s shed among the smaller projects.

Labours of sweaty, landlord-bridge-burning love that they are, backyard ramps are an endless source of stoke, so we have compiled a list of a few of our favourites. Hopefully they will offer a few ideas for a build – if the garden is not an option, then at the nearest quiet space where you can create away from prying council eyes!

Joe Lopes’ Ramp

The sudden drop in skateboarding’s popularity at the beginning of the 1980s alongside the problem of insurance saw the big US skateparks which had nurtured many of the era’s biggest pros close down and get bulldozed. This made life tough for many but the hard bastards soldiered through and either took to the streets, charged backyard pools or built their own ramps. The backyard ramp phenomenon was US wide but Joe Lopes’ ramp is probably the most well known and celebrated. RIP!

Photo: Grant Brittain

Buster Halterman’s Barn

Learning to skate vert in a barn in the arse-end of nowhere, Buster Halterman ventured out from his parents’ property to blow minds just before the vert skating crash of the early 90s. Vert skating went underground but Halterman stayed in the scene, reappeared briefly during the early 2000s and now owns an environmentally sustainable biodiesel company.

Photo courtesy of Chromeball

Mark ‘Red’ Scott’s bowl

Mark ‘Red’ Scott is a legendary figure when it comes to DIY skatepark builds, O.G. Burnside local and founder of Dreamlands Skatepark builders. He also owns this ridiculously gnarly looking bowl in his shed.

Photo courtesy of Juice Magazine

Romain Covolan’s Covoland

Slightly closer to him is this beast in Romain Covolan’s back garden – take a look at the heelblock below, watch him the edit of him killing it and imagine trying to work through those kinks! How DIY should be.

Photo courtesy of Witchcraft Hardware

Kevin Kowalski’s garden

“It was gunna be a 7ft bowl but we couldn’t give Kevin that, he needs something a little bigger”. It looks like he got something a bit bigger judging by the footage.

 

Photo: Bryce Kanights

Svitak’s ramp

Kristian Svitak has released a series of edits of various skateboarding luminaries hitting his ramp and from these you can tell how hard it is to skate, which is half the fun of these things. Every clip is also edited to 7 Seconds, which I am entirely backing.

Photo: Matt Mecaro

Tim Kulas

Tim Kulas’ bowl always looked like it incorporated just the right elements into its design; not too oversized but with enough transition to play with, kinked enough to stop it getting boring and with a tree to hit once you’d finished with the coping. It’s a shame that when he moved the ramp had to go!

Henry ‘Swampy’ Moore

UK backyard ramps have always been few and far between compared to the States, in no small part due to the comparative lack of space for most on our shores. Swampy has made the most of his garden and created the crusty concrete contraption you wish you had.

Photo courtesy of Confusion Magazine

Dan Cates

Another UK gem, this one in the form of Cates’ micro bowl which used to reside in his back garden and which looked insanely fun/hard to skate…peep his current backyard funpit as well!

Brodie Sellars

Brodie Sellars at the Barnacle Bowl DIY – Australia from HOAX TV on Vimeo.

The Sellars’ Barnacle Bowl DIY in Australia is a prime example of how to utilise space…listen to that pool coping and dream…

Photo courtesy of Halfarsed.com.au

Crowhurst bowl

The last word in crusty countryside fun! Crowhurst bowl first appeared in the very early 90s as a kinked wooden midiramp with a foot of vert built by a local business owner, eventually morphing into sheet metal, gaining corners and increasing in height to make two sides a vert ramp, the other two a lopsided miniramp. Rust holes, shrubbery growing through the platform, dust, debris and razor sharp corners which have lifted up from the sheets over the course of time make you wonder if the sweat is from exertion or fear, I’ve seen some truly gnarly slams take place over the years. Current reports say it is currently in a poor state of repair, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a summer revamp – it would be a massive shame to lose such a major piece of Sussex skate history!

Mitch Wheeler front blunt and Stevie Thompson switch beanplant photos: Rich West

 

 

Fritz Mead

Not so much the obvious evolution of the backyard ramp as the genetically modified monster offspring – Fritz Mead treads the fine line between genius and insanity with panache as he creates a meld of backyard ramp and miniature house. Get hyped and start stockpiling concrete, the possibilities are endless…

Lunar landscape photo courtesy of Fritz Mead

 

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