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8 min read

Outdoor Layout with Spa: Ideas and Advice


8 min read

Outdoor Layout with Spa: Ideas and Advice

LandscapingOutdoor Layout with Spa: Ideas and Advice

Plunging into the world of well-being and relaxation, without even leaving home, is a dream come true for many homeowners. Creating a spa oasis on your own property offers a haven of relaxation and revitalisation, where the stress of daily life dissipates in the soothing waters.

Aspects to Consider Before Creating an Outdoor Spa Area

Installation of spa

Source: canva

How to Prepare Your Land or Terrace for a Spa?

First and foremost, you must be certain that the planned outdoor space is indeed large enough to accommodate the hot tub. Consider:

  • The surface area of the spa;

  • The landscaping;

  • The location of the cover;

  • The outdoor shower;

  • Any potential fencing.

Municipal regulations dictate the installation of an outdoor spa. For example, in the nation's capital, your spa must be:

  • At least 4 m (13 ft) from the street;

  • At least 1 m (3 ft) from property boundaries;

  • In the backyard, side yard, or front yard.

If the hot tub measures more than 1.2 m (3 ft) in height, a protective barrier must be built at least 1 m (3 ft) from the hot tub.

That's not all, as a portion of your land may also have a steep slope (25% slope over more than 5 m (16 ft)). In this case, you must adhere to regulations governing work on steep slopes and their surroundings.

Similarly, a spa and its accessories are not normally part of the green space. However, this changes if they cover more than 10% of the land area.

Note: a hot tub with a capacity of over 2,000 litres is considered a pool. Therefore, you will need a building permit to install it, in addition to complying with all related safety standards.

Now, what about the terrace? You can certainly install a hot tub on it, but, using Quebec as an example, if this terrace is attached to your house, it must still adhere to the standards set by the Urban Planning Harmonisation Regulation.

There's also the issue of noise. The motors of your hot tub run one to two times per hour. So, using an average spa sold on the market as an example, three motors will produce:

  • 65 dB: filtration motor;

  • 82 dB: bubble motor (or blower);

  • 82 dB: jet motor.

When these three motors operate together, you reach a total sound level of 85.1 dB. That's less than a rock concert, but it's still louder than your washing machine, and even louder than the cabin noise of a commercial airliner.

Therefore, creating your little piece of paradise goes hand in hand with municipal regulations, such as the development plan, as well as considering all those who might be bothered by the noise.

So, do your research before investing in a spa that might require unexpected work.

Building a Spa on Clay Soil?

In Quebec, there's a good chance you live along the St. Lawrence River, on clay soil. So, you already know that it retains water exceptionally well and swells under hydraulic pressure.

Therefore, it's extremely important that the area around your built-in or semi-built-in hot tub is well drained. Otherwise, it risks cracking under the stresses imposed on it.

Different Types of Spas

Inflatable, Built-In, or Integrated?

Let's start by defining what we mean by an inflatable, built-in, and integrated spa.

An inflatable spa is typically made of PVC, just like an inflatable mattress. The exterior is reinforced to withstand the pressure of water and bathers. It can be transported to different locations on the property.

The built-in spa and semi-built-in spa have a tub that is entirely or partially buried in the ground. Once installed, it is permanently in place.

An integrated spa is a spa installed directly into a pool. While this may seem like a great solution, it's actually quite complex. Why? Because the hot tub and the pool have different needs. The spa cannot be treated with chlorine, so both the pool and the spa require bromine treatment, which is more expensive. Additionally, the hot tub needs to be heated between 35°C and 38°C, while the pool rarely exceeds 28°C.

To address this, it's possible to opt for two separate systems rather than a common one. In this case, you'll have a pool on one side and a spa on the other, connected in the same system.

And Why Not a Backyard Swim Spa?

Prefer a good swimming workout over lounging in a hot tub? With a swim spa, that's exactly what you can have in your backyard. The advantage of this type of spa is that you can adjust the current speed.

Some offer speeds of up to 1 minute 14 seconds per 100 metres. A decent speed, roughly equivalent to that of the world's best swimmers in the 400-metres freestyle. Ready to virtually challenge top athletes before relaxing under your outdoor shower?

Requirements and Criteria for Choosing the Spa Location

  1. Legal obligations: what do municipal regulations say?

  2. Available space: can you easily move around the spa?

  3. Connections: do you have easy access to water and electricity?

  4. Privacy: will your hot tub be a peaceful haven?

  5. Weather conditions: is your spa sheltered or does it need protection?

  6. Distance from the house: is it accessible or will every moment of relaxation be an adventure?

  7. Soil type: do you risk settling (sandy soil), cracking (clay soil), or excavation costs (rocky soil)?

How to Integrate a Jacuzzi into Your Outdoor Layout

spa with landscaping

source: canva

Three Simple Tips for Harmonising the Jacuzzi with the Outdoor Layout

You can enlist a landscape architect or harmonise your jacuzzi with your outdoor space yourself, with a few simple tips:

  1. Facilitate relaxation: plant grass, place green plants, or install wooden panels and soft lighting in the form of lanterns and candles.

  2. Create a relaxation area: add to your jacuzzi a relaxation area with loungers on damp grass or slowly swinging hammocks.

  3. Design the area around your spa: take advantage of privacy screens or fences adorned with climbing plants to shield yourself from prying eyes.

Of course, always prioritise materials and colours that match the style of your home. This could be wood, aluminium, or wrought iron.

Techniques for Embedding a Jacuzzi in the Terrace

Two main techniques are favoured for embedding a hot tub in a terrace:

  • Place the spa on the concrete slab and raise the terrace around it;

  • Bury the spa to create the terrace at the same level as it.

If neither of these solutions interests you, there's the option of placing the jacuzzi directly on the wood of the terrace. In this case, simply ensure that your surface can support a weight of 500 kg/m² (1,102 lbs/ft²).

Recommended Materials for a Jacuzzi

There are four:

  • concrete,

  • wood,

  • plastic,

  • and vinyl.

Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to assess your needs carefully to choose the right material.

Concrete is the king of durability. Weather, impacts, it withstands all situations and takes all shapes. However, without maintenance, it can crack and also develop mould stains.

Wood is by far the most aesthetic, but it also requires the most maintenance. Without it, it is subject to discolouration, rot, and cracks. It is therefore a relatively fragile material.

For a smooth surface, plastic is preferred. Easy to clean, it resists UV rays very well, but also weather conditions. Its only weaknesses are discolouration and scratches. Over time, plastic may lose its original appearance.

The most widely used material for building spas is vinyl. Like plastic, it resists UV rays and weather conditions and has a smooth surface. However, it retains its colour no matter what happens. However, improper use can lead to tears, and only regular maintenance can prevent the appearance of stains and mould.

So, what is the lifespan of an outdoor spa since the perfect material does not exist? It ranges from ten to twenty years.

Design Ideas for Beautifying Your Outdoor Spa Setting

decoration with jacuzzi

Source: canva

What to Place Around Your Spa to Successfully Decorate

Obviously, plants. And we'll talk about them in a moment because our advice will likely surprise you. But first, let's list the essential items that should adorn your spa:

  • The loungers (essential for relaxation);

  • The stones (volcanic rocks, pebbles, slabs);

  • The table and chairs (for grilling);

  • The offset umbrella (to provide shade over your entire hot tub);

  • The hanging chair (for a touch of luxury);

  • The statues (are you more into animals or Greek goddesses?).

Of course, be careful not to place sharp stones around your spa to avoid injuring your feet.

Décor Trends for a Convivial and Relaxing Spa Space

Bright colours and rattan furniture are the current décor trends. To accompany them, and above all, to highlight them, they need a few accessories:

  • The luminaires: garlands, spotlights, soft lights;

  • Thick, plush cushions made of natural fibers;

  • Accessories: mirrors, lanterns, etc.;

  • Plants: why not a Florida palm tree? We'll talk about it right away.

Landscaping: What Plants to Choose?

Want to create your own little piece of paradise? Here's an option that's quite unexpected in Quebec: the palm tree. Some varieties, like the hemp palm or the Florida palm tree, can withstand outdoor temperatures down to -23°C (-9.4°F).

That's not all. Another exotic plant grows very well: bamboo. If it's so popular around spas and pools, it's because it's not affected by water treatments. So, it serves as an ideal privacy screen. But be careful, choose your bamboo wisely. Above all, avoid Japanese knotweed, also known as Mexican bamboo or Japanese bamboo. With it, disaster is guaranteed, as its invasive power is enormous. Opt for hardy species that are easier to control.

Alongside these exotic plants, you can rely on more traditional ones:

How to Shelter Your Spa: Setting Up a Covered Space

Covered spa

source: canva

Advantages of a Covered Spa for Year-Round Use

Covering your spa allows you:

  • To heat the water more quickly;

  • To protect the water from impurities;

  • To preserve privacy;

  • To enhance its beauty.

To achieve this, you'll need large structures. Let's see that right away.

Different Types of Spa Covers and How to Choose Them

There are many models of constructions for covering a hot tub and being able to enjoy it throughout the year:

What is a gazebo? It's a structure similar to a pergola, but with a rigid roof, resistant to weather conditions, and with closed sides.

The pergola, on the other hand, offers a lighter roof, usually an awning, if not even joists simply covered with vegetation.

Therefore, to use a spa all year round, and be sure to enter it while staying dry, it's better to opt for the gazebo or the pool enclosure. Not to mention that the gazebo can be fully enclosed in glass, to enjoy the landscape, and even the stars.

The rigid pool enclosure is perfectly suited for protecting a hot tub. It can be more or less spacious and be made in a personalised style, from its shape (square, round, oval, etc.) to its openings (modular, sliding, retractable, etc.).

Wellness at Your Fingertips

In conclusion, setting up a spa in your yard not only transforms the outdoor space into a sanctuary of relaxation but also infuses a dose of well-being into daily life. With careful planning and thoughtful design, anyone can create their own piece of paradise at home, offering a refuge for the soul and a place of rejuvenation for the body. So, whether you aspire to a peaceful escape after a long day of work or to shared moments of conviviality with your loved ones, well-being is now truly within reach, just a few steps from your front door.

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Last modified 2024-05-10

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