Hot Tub and Spa

lay-z-spa inflatable hot tub

Imagine slipping into the warm, massaging bubbles of a hot tub - relaxing in peace on your own, sharing a romantic evening with your partner or socialising with friends.....barbecue sizzling, glass of wine at hand…..fantastic!

The Wow! Factor

If it’s something a little different you’re looking for, one of these may be just the thing.

At one time only for the rich and famous, the popularity of the hot tub has driven prices down, making them a much more affordable garden feature. They might still be one of the more expensive items in your outdoor living space but, hey, if you like to be different and enjoy the luxuries of life, one might be well worth considering.

I must admit, when they first became readily available, I had misconceptions about their suitability for use in the UK and other relatively cooler climates, their installation and maintenance, until doing some research for a garden design.

Having duly set off to take a look, I ended up basking in the relaxing warm water after a very short time! What an amazing experience. Bubbles and jets massaging places you never thought you had! Totally invigorating. A truly therapeutic experience! Needless to say, I was hooked.

In fact hot tubs are ideally suited to cooler conditions (very popular in Canada and Sweden, for their health benefits) being intended especially for evening use where they really come into their own with the addition of garden lighting, scented candles, interesting surrounding structures and planting, music (some even have integrated CD players). With food and drink, good company or just a good book to while away the hours, it all sounds too good to be true!

Indeed hot tubs are the epitome of relaxation—a blissful retreat where warm water and bubbling jets melt away stress and tension. Picture yourself sinking into the heated embrace of a hot tub, outdoors under a starry sky. The sensation of the hot water enveloping your body is instantly soothing, easing muscles and calming the mind.

What makes hot tubs so inviting is their ability to create a tranquil atmosphere. The gentle hum of the jets creates a background rhythm as you recline, allowing your thoughts to drift away. The warmth seeps into your bones, loosening tightness from a long day’s work or a strenuous workout. It's a sanctuary where time seems to slow down, letting you unwind without a care.

Hot tubs are social spaces, perfect for gatherings with friends or intimate evenings. Sharing a soak in a hot tub fosters intimacy, encouraging easy conversation or quiet reflection in the company of others.

The lure of a hot tub lies not just in its therapeutic benefits but in its ability to evoke a sense of luxury and indulgence. Whether it's for relaxation, recovery, or simply the pleasure of it, sinking into a hot tub is an experience that invites you to let go in a perfectly tranquil space.

Types Of Hot Tub

Hot tubs and spas come in a variety of types, each offering their own unique experience and benefits. Here are a few popular types:

  • Inflatable Hot Tubs: These portable and budget-friendly options are easy to set up and move around. They typically feature built-in air jets and heating systems, providing a relaxing soak without the permanence of a fixed installation. Mostly made by Lay-Z-Spa, they are a fraction of the price of acrylic hot tubs, retailing at around £250-£800. This has made them a very popular choice over the last few years. Find a large selection here.
  • Acrylic Hot Tubs: Considered the classic hot tub design, acrylic tubs are durable and come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and seating configurations. See them here. They often feature powerful jets and ergonomic seating for a luxurious experience.
  • Wooden Hot Tubs: Also known as cedar or wooden barrel hot tubs, these models evoke a rustic charm. They are typically made from cedar or redwood and are favored for their natural aesthetics and durability. 
  • Swim Spas: Combining a hot tub with a swimming pool, swim spas allow you to enjoy both relaxation and exercise. They have a powerful current that you can swim against, making them ideal for fitness enthusiasts.
  • Saltwater Hot Tubs: Instead of using traditional chlorine-based chemicals, saltwater hot tubs use a salt chlorine generator to sanitise the water. This can be gentler on the skin and eyes compared to conventional systems.
  • In-ground Hot Tubs: For a permanent and integrated spa experience, in-ground hot tubs can be built into your patio or backyard. They can be customized to blend seamlessly with your landscape design, from a fully integrated experience fitting with beds, planting or pergolas, to specialised surrounds.

Each type of hot tub offers its own set of features and advantages, catering to different preferences and lifestyles. Whether you prioritize portability, luxury, aesthetics, or fitness, there's a hot tub type to suit your needs and enhance your relaxation experience. Find some more unusual ones here with some interestingly quirky signs!

Hot Tub Suppliers

There are many suppliers around if you wish to buy a spa, ranging from good value ones to more expensive, luxury options.

Pergolas over hot tubs create a charming and functional outdoor oasis. These structures, often made of wood or metal with lattice or slatted roofs, provide partial shade while allowing sunlight to filter through. A pergola adds a touch of elegance and defines the hot tub area within your outdoor space. 

Integrating a Spa Into Your Garden

A strong surface is required to take the weight of the tub, water and people. This could be a sound concrete base, a patio or a gravelled area of solid earth. Placed on the ground, surrounded by decking looks fabulous, too.

A deck can be built around the hot tub so that you step down into it. This looks stunning!

Rattan surrounds are an easy and affordable way to make your hot tub look more integrated into your garden design.

From a visual point of view, these outstanding features are best linked to other features and structures in the garden such as paved, decked or gravelled areas, paths, a pergola, trellis, gazebo, planting - something to link the whole scheme together, otherwise it will literally be outstanding, and not in a good way!

Personally, I like the idea of ultra-modern and sleek box pergola like this one. Pergolas can be any style in any material, as long as the surrounding area is big enough. Just imagine having your hot tub under this beauty! 

Find some great ideas here.

Chunky pergola ideal for a hot tub or spa.

Comfort, shelter, warmth and relaxation are the aim, so consider carefully how to maximise your hot tub's potential.

Reasonably near to the house is good for ease and comfort. A clean access route is highly recommended, using some sort of hard-landscaping material, as muddy, grassy feet don’t make for clean water!

Hard Landscaping Ideas

For hard landscaping around a hot tub, there are several options to enhance functionality and aesthetics.

Here are some ideas:

  • Paving stones or concrete pavers provide a durable and versatile surface, perfect for creating a patio area.
  • Decking made of wood or composite materials adds warmth and natural appeal, ideal for a softer, more organic look. 
  • Retaining walls can be built to create terraced seating or define the space.
  • Trellis panels can make for a simple, cosy and inexpensive retreat. Position them at right angles to create a corner feature.
  • Incorporating stone or brick accents, such as edging or borders, adds texture and visual interest.

Each type of hard landscaping offers its own charm and can be tailored to complement your hot tub area beautifully.

Accessories to Enhance the Area

A few well-placed plants and accessories can create a fabulous effect.

Not only can you create a tranquil oasis by situating your hot tub beneath a charming pergola, you can also enhance the ambiance with twinkling string lights draped overhead, casting a soft glow. Adorn the pergola with flowing curtains to add privacy and a touch of elegance. Arrange cozy outdoor seating nearby, featuring plush cushions and throws for comfort.

Incorporate potted plants and greenery to infuse a natural, calming atmosphere. Install a small table for refreshments, complete with candles for a romantic vibe. Elevate your hot tub experience with soothing accessories like waterproof speakers for music and essential oil diffusers for aromatherapy, transforming your space into a haven of relaxation.

Take a look at how pergola lights enhance this hot tub experience. Find this inflatable hot tub here. Inexpensive, and with a few beautifully placed lights on your pergola, you're away!

Spas have a modern feel in terms of garden design, and therefore they look great with clean lines using modern, minimalist accessories - loungers, firepits, chimineas and lighting - and simple, bold planting.

For instance, pergola, trellis and hot tub arrangements look fantastic in themselves but with the addition of carefully chosen climbing plants and colourful tubs can lift the area to new heights.

Climbing plants like vines or wisteria can be trained to grow on the pergola, enhancing the ambiance with natural beauty and fragrance. 

Copyright image: Pergola climbing plants: a heavenly purple clematis growing over a pergola trellis.

Planted pots might be filled with annual bedding, grouped on their own or used with architectural evergreens such as fatsia japonica, phormiums, photinias, rhododendrons, azaleas and pieris.

Here we have a beautiful deep pink rhododendron, which could be used to give useful architectural evergreen colour all year round, but with a fantastic flush of colour in the spring. One or two of these, placed carefully in the area, maybe all that is needed to give structure and shelter. Not too close though, as these, as with most plants, do drop their flowers. If this is going to be a problem, use plants that don't drop their leaves or flowers.

Copyright image: Evergreen deep pink rhododendron - an acid loving plant grown in a pot.

And then, of course there are all the lights, scented candles, fire pits, chimineas, barbecues, cushions and garden furniture, orbs, sculptures, pots and food and drink accessories that can make such a difference to the overall feel of this wonderful haven of relaxation.


Careful thought is needed before buying a hot tub but all good suppliers offer in-depth advise related to their products - warranties, delivery and access, drainage outlets, power supply and costs, styles, to name but a few.

Be aware of what is involved to keep the water in tip top condition, as there is some maintenance involved.

With a pergola, you can enjoy your hot tub in comfort and style, whether you're seeking a shaded retreat on a sunny day or a cozy spot under the stars.

Enjoy creating this truly stunning feature - your garden will be the most fabulous place to relax and unwind!

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