Take your Outdoor Spa to a Higher Level

Whether you’re adding an outdoor spa or already have one you’d like to improve, there are many ways to make the surroundings as luxurious as relaxing. An unadorned above-ground spa can look fairly unattractive when not in use, covered up and abandoned. Add a deck, some landscaping and some shade, and it can be a magnet for relaxation regardless of whether the tub is percolating. 


If you’re having a new spa installed, you have flexibility with placement and ability to capitalize on what space you have. 

There are two types to choose from: portable tubs, which are placed on the ground, and in-ground spas, which may be partially raised or dug deep so the sides are at ground level. These spas often are farther from the house and require more extensive utility work.

Putting a portable spa in a corner or against a wall helps to conceal one or two sides, and you can put a wall or deck, ideally with landscaping, to hide it from view and create an attractive space in your yard. A pergola or shade can make it more functional both while the spa is in use and as a general place to hang out, especially with extra seating added.

Build some character into your above-ground or partially concealed spa by choosing a distinctive type of tub. The classic cedar barrel style is regaining its popularity, or you could have a customized one built out of almost any container, such as a clawfoot bathtub, small boat, stock tank or even a vintage car or truck bed! 

Decks can be made of wood or natural stone and include steps up to the spa, or be tiered to function as the steps. Seating around the deck can make it a great place for food and conversation, even for those who choose not to soak.

For in-ground spas, a rolling cover that can be concealed under the deck and turned into a sundeck or other usable area when the spa isn’t in use is the perfect adaptation to making it a ruly multifunctional amenity. 


If you already have a portable spa you love that just needs some dressing up there are plenty of ways to accomplish it — limited only by space and imagination. It will probably become much less portable as a result, but most people don’t make a habit of shoving it around, and adding more shade could make that less necessary. 

If there is no deck around the spa, one can be built around it and expanded to incorporate other backyard amenities that can be added or relocated, including seating, dining areas, a fire pit, sundecks and more. 

After-the-fact decks can be modeled after details of the existing house or yard to turn it into a seamless whole, especially if you incorporate planter boxes with vegetation that complements the rest of the landscaping.

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