If you had to choose between a swimming pool and a hot tub or spa, which would it be? Most people would probably go for the hot tub. They are less expensive to install or buy, take up less space and can be enjoyed throughout the year. Plus, their smaller size makes them easier to clean and maintain. While you will still need to enlist the services of a landscape professional, general contractor, or pool builder, the hot tub project should take less time than a pool.
A spa or hot tub can grow to include a deck surround, built-in seating, privacy walls, and other features. You might want to add mosaic glass tiles or surround it with cut stone or flagstone.
Styles and designs should reflect the architecture and materials of your home and landscape. Ready for some inspiration? Enjoy these fabulous and vastly different hot tubs and spas.
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Considerations Before Building a Spa
Spas range from purchased models that are basic or include all the bells and whistles, inflatable models for the budget-minded, custom-built in-ground designs that are like small pool projects, and spools, which are a hybrid pool and spa. Before taking the plunge, do your research, including:
- Finding out how much the type you want will cost
- Getting recommendations from neighbors and friends for pool builders to use and to avoid
- Figuring out how much space it will take and where it will be located in your yard
- Identifying the costs and availability of materials
- Building permits and zoning laws
- Factors like plumbing and electricity
Like a swimming pool, the pit or hole for an in-ground spa will need to be excavated by a machine, which means the equipment must access your yard. Reinforcing rebar will be built to create the shape of the spa along with steps and benches. Plumbing, which includes drains and inlets for those therapeutic hydro-jets, will need to be installed, as will electrical wiring. After this, gunite or shotcrete will be sprayed on the rebar to create a nice, tight shell. Then it will be smoothed with a trowel and cured for a few weeks. Once it's dry, either plaster or tile will be applied to the surface. And this is just the spa part of the project.Continue to 2 of 16 below.
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A small home on a petite lot in the San Diego area called for a clever configuration to work in a spa that was as beautiful as it was functional. Landscape designer Amelia B. Lima & Associates made this luxurious spa the focal point of the outdoor space. Resembling a beautiful square pond with a weir that is a fountain feature, the spa features a back wall made of glass tile and a face of travertine. The spa's back wall also created a raised planter in which tall-growing horsetail adds more privacy.Continue to 3 of 16 below.
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Brick-Wall Privacy Spa
Nestled in the corner of a brick-walled patio, this hidden spa designed by Rosebrook Custom Inground Pools features a fountain-like scupper that makes the hot tub look more like a pond, especially when people aren't sitting in it. Located at a home near Chicago, the spa features a handy automatic cover.Continue to 4 of 16 below.
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Hot Tub With Red StoneContinue to 5 of 16 below.
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Round Concrete Mosaic Hot Tub
Not every spa needs to be attached to a swimming pool, as evidenced by this Los Angeles hot tub made of concrete with variegated blue glass mosaic tiles. Created by M J Lanphier Interior Design, the round hot tub outdoor space features a custom-built pergola from Formwork. The chairs are by Brown Jordan, sofas are from Restoration Hardware, the coffee table is by Dedon, and the dining table is from the Veneman Collection.Continue to 6 of 16 below.
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Arizona-Style Mosaic Hot Tub
When the sun goes down, Arizona residents go outdoors to enjoy their yards. That includes hot tubs; it gets cold during the winter months believe it or not. Alpentile specializes in glass mosaic to cover and decorate the surfaces of the many spas. This beautiful spa features a perimeter overflow glass mosaic design.Continue to 7 of 16 below.
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Hot Tub-Swimming Pool Combination
Combining the best of both worlds, a spool is a mashup of a swimming pool and a spa. Spools are the perfect solution for homeowners who want something bigger than a hot tub and the benefits of a slightly larger body of water for exercise. Vail, Colorado-based Suman Architects designed a home in the region that features a spectacular spool made with stone from Telluride, Colorado.Continue to 8 of 16 below.
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Oro Valley Spa With Adjoining Swimming Pool
Another Arizona spa was designed as a feature of the adjoining swimming pool. Located in Oro Valley, near Tucson, this hot tub is surrounded by local stone and boulders by Terra Designs. It also features waterfalls that overflow into the pool.Continue to 9 of 16 below.
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Key West Hot Tub With Covered Patio
The outdoor space of a house in Miami was designed by Craig Reynolds Landscape Architecture to incorporate many coveted elements: a covered patio, swimming pool, water features, raised beds, and a spa. The hot tub serves as a place to relax and as a bridge between two wood decks.Continue to 10 of 16 below.
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Modern Stone and Tile Spa
Viewed from above, a generous-sized spa of a home in Belvedere, California shows off its beautiful tiles and stone surround. Designed by Zeterre Landscape Architecture, the spa and yard offer a view of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge to the south.Continue to 11 of 16 below.
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Round Cedar Hot Tub
Landscape designer Erin Gibson of Erin's Gardens customized an Albuquerque backyard spa to make it more attractive, private, and accessible for the homeowners. The round cedar gas-operated hot tub "kit" by Zen Bathworks includes a small deck created by Erin to make it easier and safer to get in and out of the hot tub.Continue to 12 of 16 below.
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Round Hot Tub With Sandstone Staircase
Another round hot tub with a semi-spiral staircase is constructed of sturdy sandstone in soft shades of greys and beiges. Designed by Gib-San Pool & Landscape Creations of Toronto, Canada, the spa features high walls that add privacy.Continue to 13 of 16 below.
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A plunge pool-spa is separate from the main swimming pool, allowing the owners and their guests to relax and enjoy conversation or watch the outdoor TV positioned above the fireplace. Designed by Platinum Pool Care, the spa coping is made of bluestone tile in 'Titanium Dark Blue'.Continue to 14 of 16 below.
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Urban Rooftop Spa
It's no surprise that landscape designer Jeffrey Erb specializes in rooftop gardens, urban terraces, and townhomes—his clientele is primarily based in New York City. This Tribeca rooftop was transformed into an urban paradise complete with wood decking, brick walls for privacy, a small pool with an integrated spa, a patio, and festive string lights. Plants include Japanese maples and expertly pruned yews.Continue to 15 of 16 below.
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Stone and Wood Spa
Combining traditional and modern features, Simmonds & Associates designed a landscape in California's East Bay that includes a granite outdoor kitchen, a terrace made of African black slate, and an arbor that offers a view of the house and access to the vegetable garden. The centerpiece of the garden would have to be this redwood hot tub, which is embedded in a wood deck and accessed via winding steps. A wall is made of vertically-positioned stone pillars, which offer privacy but are also a striking contrast to the simple wood deck.Continue to 16 of 16 below.
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Vintage California Redwood Hot Tub
A vintage California redwood hot tub made its way to a ranch out in South Texas, where it's surrounded by ipe and Douglas fir decking. Designed by Austin-based Andrew Hinman Architecture, this structure includes a rare 1954 Spartan Imperial Mansion house trailer, which overlooks the Nueces River.