Hot Tubs and Spas
Designing Your Space
Congratulations! You’ve decided to purchase a Hot Spring Spa from Olympic. You’re probably ready to hop right in, have fun, and relax. Before you do, there are some important things to consider beforehand that will ensure that your ultimate enjoyment for years to come.
Your first consideration should be the basics including proper drainage, service access, power requirements and spa foundation. Then you can start creating your very own backyard paradise. The information below is designed to help guide you. We’ll also be happy to visit your home for a Free PerfectFit™ Backyard Consultation. Our sales staff is ready to help you select the best site and best fit for you.
Set The Mood: Aesthetics
For your ultimate pleasure the most important consideration is aesthetics. Before you consider that, how are you going to use the spa? What mood do you want to create around your spa? Do you want it to be “Grand Central Spa”, the center of family activity and entertaining in the garden, or a place of solitude and quiet reflection hidden from view? Will it be an adults-only relaxation environment or will you use it for family gatherings and social entertainment?
The size of your yard will make a big difference. Even if you have a large suburban plot, place the spa as close to your home as possible. You want the focal point of your yard to be the view from the spa. In a small urban plot, a centrally located spa could hamper traffic flow, use up too much available space, and be out of proportion and overwhelm a small yard. In this case, it would be better to put the spa off by itself, close to the door you’ll be using to reach it.
Since most spa use is at night, consider mood lighting to help create a special atmosphere, and don’t forget the magical effects of starry nights, sunsets, and moonbeams when placing your spa. Whatever you decide, you’ll enjoy your spa more if it’s in harmony with its surroundings.
A Spa For All Seasons
The beauty of a spa is that you can enjoy it 365 days a year, make that night and day.
So, consider the sun, shade and wind patterns in each of the different seasons. Do you want a roof to shed rain or provide shade in summer? A windy area is not fun when you’re tubbing. Consider glass windbreaks. Are you a stargazer? You’ll want to experience the stars without a roof. If privacy from too close neighbors or shelter from the elements is a concern, Olympic offers enclosures specifically designed to complement any spa environment such as gazebos, teahouses and redwood-look mounts that actually attach to the spa.
Be sure to match your structure to your site. You’ll want the structure to be in proportion to your yard.
A Solid Foundation
Whether you choose to set up your spa on an existing patio or deck, or want to conquer unexplored terrain in your backyard, you’re going to need a firm, level surface that is strong enough to support it. This foundation could be a cement pad, concrete pavers, brick or a SmartDeck, a pre-made alternative to pouring a new concrete pad.
The size of your spa will determine the exact amount of space you’ll need. You’ll need an electrical source close to the spa site. Note the exact requirements in our pre-delivery booklet for the model you have selected. If you’re running power from your main electrical panel, this is a good opportunity to consider outdoor lighting and music. You’ll also need a hose bib close by for easy fill-ups.
Decks and patios are the most popular places to set up a hot tub retreat. Whether you have an existing deck/patio or are planning to design and build one from scratch, planning ahead will produce a more integrated look and contribute to your overall satisfaction.
If you plan to build a new deck, select the spa first so you can design and build it properly the first time. Even if you are a few months out on your actual spa purchase, select the model and get the proper specifications before building your deck! We can’t emphasize this enough.
Freestanding spas rest directly on top of a deck or patio. The majority of our customers install their spas on a patio. The advantage to this placement is that if you ever move the spa, it’s easy to do and there won't be a hole in your deck. And, there’s always easy access to the equipment when it comes time for service. Remember that patio and deck materials aren't limited to wood. Alternative surface options include ceramic tile, slate, brick and stone. Don't be afraid to mix and match.
Consider the natural topography of the area when deciding on the elevation of the spa. There are as many choices as there are sites.
The basic choices are: above ground, partially set into a deck or in the ground. The best choices for access and ease of use by bathers are above ground or partially set into a deck. If you want to partially site it in a deck, 18”-24” is the best height for ease of entry for bathers of all ages. Remember to leave ample room for service access if you do have some decking surrounding your spa.
Setting a portable spa “in the ground” requires a concrete-lined vault with drainage, which can be a difficult task in the rainy Northwest. Too, getting into a spa that’s set flush with the ground can prove challenging for those who have mobility issues, or specific complaints (such as back problems or arthritis) hampering their ability to use the spa safely and with ease. Too, a sunken spa is very hard to service.
Do you have garden, lake, or mountain views? How about dramatic sunsets or sunrises? If the view is in the distance, you may want to elevate the spa on a deck. If the view is in the foreground you may need to set the spa into a deck to avoid blocking the view. Consider the spa seats and jet positions you’ve selected. You’ll want the spa placed so that your favorite seats will face out to any view.
For your best garden view, place your spa close to the house, near your exit door, rather than in the back of your garden facing towards your house. Remember, the spa is your ringside seat to the changing seasons, bird life and stars over your garden. Make the most of it.
Screening may be necessary for several reasons. It can act as a barrier between you and something unsightly, provide privacy from your neighbors, and even create an interesting backdrop to your spa.
Lattice or tall plants in pots are frequently used for spa screening. Bathers can get quite warm while soaking, so choose a screen that provides good air circulation while cutting the strong wind.
Patio coverings range from simple to complex. You can create different environments by selecting particular types of wood, posts and lattice design, sealant, satin or paint. The amount of sunlight and privacy can be controlled by how close the spacing of the lattice is. Growing flowering and fragrant vines on the covering produces a very cozy atmosphere.
Safe and easy spa access is critical.
- Where will bathers change? Place the spa with easy access to a bathroom.
- Avoid placing the spa outside a room with beautiful carpets. Wet bathers can leave wet spots behind.
- Consider the route bathers will take between the house and the spa. What type of walking surface will be non-slip and easy to keep free of garden debris? A hard surface such as aggregate or concrete is best for keeping debris from being tracked into the spa.
- Where will bathers leave slippers and towels? Towel racks or covered baskets work well for these items.
- Think about lighting for safety in reaching the spa at night.
Pathways, baskets, and even towel hooks are all opportunities to creatively enhance the mood of your spa area.