Incorporating a Hot Tub into Your Garden – Q&A with Dean Bailey, Founder of Lush Landscapes & Richard Gowland, MD at SpaFlo
With the stunning show garden now complete at Lavershot Barns in Surrey, including an exquisite stainless steel hot tub designed and created by SpaFlo, we spoke to Dean Bailey of Lush Landscapes and Richard Gowland of SpaFlo about adding a hot tub to your garden and some considerations that you might want to take into account.
What’s the first landscaping consideration when thinking about adding a hot tub to your garden?
Dean: When looking to incorporate a hot tub into a garden design or landscaping job, logistics are always high on our consideration list. Is there an existing supply of water and electricity, for example? We then take a holistic look at the benefits of a hot tub in the garden – are there amazing views that the client should be making the most of? Are there some areas of the garden that are more overlooked than others?
Richard: The lie of the land, areas of sun or shade and levels in the garden need to be considered initially. If the hot tub is to be sunken, adequate space is required to dig out a larger excavation, pour a suitable base slab then create a bund ready for the tub to be lowered inside.
What about the position of the hot tub in the garden? Where is the best place to site one?
Dean: Again, logistics will come into play here. I’ll always look at our access points to get the hot tub on site – we try to avoid the use of cranes where we can but it has been known! We work closely with the client to understand their requirements, their garden and also look at factors including where the sun and shade naturally fall.
Richard - The location of a hot tub or spa within the overall landscape plan is really important; will it be a central feature, or hidden in a quiet secluded corner? Access into a hot tub should be easy so people use them as often as possible.
Any other considerations like lighting, pergola, placing the hot tub in a summer house, steps up to it or not?
Dean: We always work with the client to understand how they want to use their hot tub. To ensure it’s enjoyable year-round, we’d suggest a cover (ideally a retractable cover, budget willing). Lighting is so important; you want to add subtle lighting that enhances your experience in the tub.
Richard – Like Dean says, hot tubs should be enjoyed all year round. They can be made cooler in the height of summer and warmer in the winter to allow for this. If the hot tub is situated under lots of potential falling debris from surrounding trees etc, we would suggest a pergola or similar to offer some protection for bathers. Our main design consideration comes from what the owner(s) want, is there one really stunning view they want to look out over? Is the hot tub for use as a couple or for larger family gatherings? And are those quiet relaxing times or parties? All these factors change the layout and specification of a hot tub or spa.
What about levels in the garden & planting considerations?
Dean: We love levels! A sunken hot tub will allow you to experience your plants and appreciate your surroundings fully. An elevated hot tub can offer more views and requires less ground work. We always use a variety of colour, texture and height when we’re planting – to deliver a feast for your eyes.
Richard – split levels often create the most inviting spa and hot tub aesthetics. With clever planning and design the technical equipment for a hot tub can be hidden and remain accessible for maintenance whilst the overall garden looks like it was built around the tub. Planting around a hot tub can soften the impact and blend it into the surroundings.
What are the options for cladding & covers?
Dean: Options range from automated roof, cover and shade to traditional hot tub covers. Usage is always a consideration. Hardwood suits stainless steel. We recommend that you use the best quality items and materials in every instance, for longevity.
Richard – We install solid deck covers, automatic slatted floating covers, security vinyl covers and traditional foam filled hot tub covers. We can even install moving floors in our hot tubs that rise through them. The choice comes down to space and budget. Automated covers create an amazing ‘wow factor’.
Our hot tubs are clad in numerous materials, mainly we suggest real or composite timbers, or concrete boards that are then finished in tile or stone.
Any do’s & don’ts for adding a hot tub?
Dean: Do consider the running costs and maintenance. Hot tubs need looking after throughout the year, to ensure they stay in the best condition. Do think about what you want from your garden. Don’t overthink it – if you think you’d enjoy one, you will!
Richard – Do the research on manufacturer, make and model. SpaFlo manufacture our hot tubs specifically for each client using market leading equipment. We want our clients to buy clever and buy once.
Remember the easier it is to uncover and get into the hot tub, the more you will use and enjoy it. Cumbersome covers and a long cold walk to get to the hot tub will stop people using them.
What are your top tips for garden design and incorporating a hot tub?
Dean: Hire us at Lush Landscapes! Always live with your garden a little first; how are you using it? Where is the sun? Think about all possible uses and get professional advice where needed.
Richard – Ask an expert, we are always happy to offer advice and love to work closely with our clients to realise their ideas.