Hot tub ideas: 20 stunning solutions for a luxurious outdoor spa

These hot tub ideas will get you inspired to create your own backyard chill-out zone

hot tub ideas: spa in the forest canopy & stars
(Image credit: Canopy & Stars)

Our hot tub ideas are just what you need if you're wondering how to create the perfect garden retreat. 

After all, we could all do with a little more 'me time'. Imagine if you could just step outside, jump into your own private tub and drift away into a bubbling bath of serenity after a long day. It's no surprise that everyone wants one of the best hot tubs

‘Hot tubs give people the chance to unwind in indulgent surroundings; the chance to escape the everyday and feel a sense of freedom whilst leaving the screens behind,' says the team at the seaside holiday accommodation company, Luxury Coastal. What's more, there are so many styles to go for, from sleek and contemporary with all the mod-cons to rustic, back-to-basics models. 'The emergence of wood-fired hot tubs has seen beautifully crafted pieces dotted throughout the wilderness, helping people to reconnect to the great outdoors,' the team adds.

20 backyard hot tub ideas that will transform your plot into a blissed-out paradise

Bringing hot tub ideas into your garden is a wonderful way to enjoy vacation vibes right on your own doorstep.

From luxurious spas under twinkling lights and miniature tubs for loved-up couples to contemporary pools that look seamless with decking, there's a hot tub look to suit everyone. We've rounded up some of our favorite looks below.

1. Create an indoor-outdoor room for your tub

hot tub from 1 Stop Spas in dome shelter

A chic retreat from 1 Stop Spas

(Image credit: BISHTA members – 1 Stop Spas)

Adding hot tub shelter ideas to your relaxation space is the way forward if you want to use the zone all year round. From awnings to pergolas, there are plenty of options available. But, if you're looking for something a little different from the norm, a smart structure like this won't disappoint.

The panels of this elegant, domed structure can be slid open and shut, allowing for extra protection from the elements or a dose of fresh air whenever needed, while keeping the space light and bright. It pairs beautifully with the pale stone paving, simple furniture, and a small timber spa-surround.

2. Light it up for after dark relaxation

illuminated hot tub by hot tub suppliers

This tub from Hot Tub Suppliers has an enticing glow

(Image credit: BISHTA members – Hot Tub Suppliers)

Hot tubs aren't just for daytime use if you add in some chic lighting solutions. And we're not just talking about wall lights and festoons to adorn the surrounding space – consider choosing a tub that illuminates, too.

An enticing glow like this will up the ambiance instantly – it's a great addition if you're on the lookout for garden party ideas. Pair it with a sunken seating space, complete with cozy fire pit, for the ultimate alfresco entertaining zone.

3. Add a wall of zero-maintenance greenery

North Spas hot tub in enclosure with slatted fence

A cozy space for relaxing, featuring a hot tub from North Spas

(Image credit: BISHTA members – North Spas)

If you're looking for hot tub privacy ideas to add to your zone, be it a sturdy fence, trellis, or wall, adding a splash of greenery will never go amiss.

You could opt for wall-hanging planters, or even create a living wall using a set of planting pockets, filled with scented herbs to up the sensory appeal. But, if you'd rather skip the maintenance, you could always opt for faux foliage instead, especially if your space doesn't get much sunlight.

4. Go for a super-sized spa

large hot tub on deck from All Weather Leisure Midlands

This large hot tub from All Weather Leisure Midlands is ideal for family gardens

(Image credit: BISHTA members – All Weather Leisure Midlands)

If you love to entertain or are looking for family garden ideas for your backyard, then perhaps a swim spa is the solution.

Bigger than traditional hot tubs, these designs can facilitate both relaxation and exercise. There is still integrated seating, but also, they can be set to create a current, using a powerful jet, that can be used to swim or walk against as part of a workout regime.

Set atop a sleek deck, they make a fabulous feature for larger plots, without having to commit to a full-sized swimming pool.

5. Create a serene seating area

outdoor seating with view Luxury Coastal

A simple yet chic setup at The Bolt holiday home, available through Luxury Coastal

(Image credit: Luxury Coastal)

This paved space has everything needed for a pared-back chill-out zone. Views of the lawn can be enjoyed from the traditional tub, while sun loungers nearby are handy for when you need to take a break from the bubbles – just throw on a white robe and some sliders and chill.

For the winter months, why not add one of the best patio heaters? That way, your outdoor area will be transformed into a welcoming spa all year round.

6. Sink it into decking

Luxury Coastal hot tub with decking

The Spinney holiday rental from Luxury Coastal features this sunken tub

(Image credit: Luxury Coastal)

If you love the idea of a bubbling pool, but don't want your spa to dominate the aesthetic of your garden, then sinking one into decking is a chic and understated option. Hot tub decks are also great for outdoor-indoor living, as you can enjoy uninterrupted views of your plot from inside the house. 

Plus, decking is all the rage right now, being super practical as well as stylish. Just ensure you opt for a version that has plenty of grip underfoot when it gets wet.

7. Surround your tub with trees

hot tub among trees from Canopy & Stars

The Bird Box wooden cabin, available to rent through Canopy & Stars, has this beautiful spa for relaxing away all your cares

(Image credit: Canopy & Stars)

Have you heard of the phrase ‘forest bathing’? It's an idea from Japan (and otherwise known as shinrin-yoku), and it’s all about zenning out amongst trees. It’s known to help de-stress and boost wellbeing, in a natural and mindful way. Forestry England has written a handy forest-bathing guide on exactly how to do it, if you want to know more.

To enjoy the experience in your own plot, surround your tub with your pick of the best backyard trees or – for smaller spaces – the best trees to grow in pots. Just looking at this oasis of greenery is enough to chill us out!

8. Position your spa to make the most of a view

hot tub with sea view from Luxury Coastal

A tub with a view at Spindrift holiday rental, available at Luxury Coastal

(Image credit: Luxury Coastal)

If you're lucky enough to have a sea view, be sure to position your hot tub to make the most of it. The sight of soft waves and the ocean breeze will certainly help you drift away to calmer lands. Who needs a book?

However, not all of us are oceanside. So, instead, think about where the best views are in your garden and move your hot tub to suit. Your favorite rose bush or border, for example, will make lovely features in your hot tub surrounds as you can admire them as you relax.

A nearby seating area keeps things social, or is the perfect place for a spot of lunch.

9. Enjoy the ultimate alone time by candlelight

hot tub spa at night with outdoor lighting from Canopy & Stars

The hot tub at Quiet of Stars holiday rental, via Canopy & Stars

(Image credit: Canopy & Stars)

Good garden lighting ideas can be a real mood booster, so just imagine what happens when you combine them with a hot tub. An ultimate zen-out zone that can be enjoyed after dark, that's what. 

It's always nice to light candles with your bath for a solo-pamper session, and you can do just the same outside. This beautiful example from Canopy & Stars uses a mixture of candles, lanterns, and star-shaped lights to transport guests straight into a fairytale.

And, although adding bubble bath is a definite no-no in hot tub dos and don'ts, there are aromatherapy products made especially for spas if you want to up the ambiance even more.

10. Try a super-romantic tub for two

tiny wooden hot tub with view from Canopy & Stars

The Little Poro holiday rental via Canopy & Stars features this sweet setup

(Image credit: Canopy & Stars)

Up the intimacy with a teeny tiny tub – a super romantic option for couples. Check out the peep-hole heart-shaped headrests too – aren't they adorable? 

A tub this size is also perfect for small garden ideas, providing all of the indulgence whilst taking up less space. Plus, wood-fired ones will heat up quickly and are totally low maintenance. You'll also get to enjoy the hint of woodsmoke on the air, whilst you admire the view.

11. Create your own starry setting

spa at night on decking from Luxury Coastal

This tub is at Charterhouse, Strawberryfield Park, available to hire at Luxury Coastal

(Image credit: Luxury Coastal)

It's lovely to sit back and look at the stars from the comfort of a hot tub. But not every night is crystal clear – sometimes clouds block the view.

However, with the help of a nearby patio cover overhead studded with LED lighting, you can fake your own starry scene. That way, you can bring an extra dose of ambiance to your bubbles on any evening.

12. Add side decking for easy access

Canopy & Stars wooden hot tub in meadow

The Stargazers Wagon rental from Canopy & Stars includes this back-to-nature setup

(Image credit: Canopy & Stars)

Natural wooden cladding and a log-fuelled fire is a combo of dreams for those after rustic backyard hot tub ideas. Plus, decking to the side provides easy access and is a useful place to store extra logs nearby.

A hot tub with this look is the perfect way to get back to nature and fits in beautifully with less formal gardens. Sometimes, simple is best.

13. Go Moorish with tiles

tiled spa with tropical plants

Colorful tiles add a tropical feel

(Image credit: Mint Images RF/Getty Images)

Tropical garden ideas are a surefire way to give your outdoor space a holiday feel.

Surround your tub with architectural foliage and bright blooms, then add some exotic colors and patterns to your tub itself for a chill-out zone that looks as great as it feels. Painting a nearby wall in a hot hue will enhance the theme further.

14. Make a statement with a theme 

hot tub with gothic surrounding by Redwood Stone

Redwood Stone's creation is inspired by Roman spas, and is great for privacy too 

(Image credit: Redwood Stone – Folly & Garden)

Surrounding your spa with a garden folly is a surefire way to make a statement. With glorious arches and columns, you'll instantly be transported to a luxurious Roman-style spa. Billowing curtains and twirling tendrils of ivy all add to the drama, creating a stunning focal point for any garden.

It ticks the box if you're looking for hot tub privacy ideas, too. 'The extra benefit is that the owners also have screening, allowing them to enjoy their hot tub in private. What we can create can easily be retrofitted around an existing hot tub, or as part of a new scheme,' says Tim Redwood of Redwood Stone.

15. Cover your tub with a sleek pergola for year-round use

modern canopy over hot tub by Garden House Design

This spa is sheltered by the Renson Camargue Louvered Canopy from Garden House Design

(Image credit: Garden House Design)

An aluminum pergola is a super-sleek way to enclose your hot tub, so you can enjoy it come rain or shine. Sliding side panels come in handy if you want a touch more privacy. It's a perfect addition to a large, modern garden.

Rainwater falling on the watertight roof will add to the experience with a soothing patter. Plus, the roof will make hot tub maintenance easier, too, as will help keep out fallen leaves and other debris.

16. Blend together pools with a stunning waterfall

hot tub with waterfall into swimming pool

A hot tub can be integrated with a larger pool using stone steps and a spillover

(Image credit: hdoggrafix/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Get the best of both worlds by combining pool ideas and hot tub ideas. Using a curve of stone steps and a relaxing spillover blends them together beautifully, while still creating an air of different zones. 

It also makes it easy to go from one to the other, for a refreshing (or warming) boost.

17. Consider the convenience of inflatable tubs

Lay-Z Spa palm springs inflatable hot tub on patio

(Image credit: Lay-Z Spa)

If you fancy something portable, practical, and affordable, then an inflatable hot tub might be the one for you. These tubs come in various styles and sizes, and often have neat functions, such as color-changing lights and heat timers. Quick and easy to set up, they provide a retreat for relaxation without the big commitment of a permanent build. 

‘A Lay-Z-Spa inflatable hot tub offers the same relaxation and health and wellbeing benefits as a solid hot tub, but at a fraction of the price. And, there's the convenience of being able to easily set it up and pack it down as many times as you like,’ says the team at Lay-Z-Spa. 'The versatility of an inflatable hot tub also means you can choose your preferred spot to set it up and, should you move house, you can take it with you.'

18. Take cover beneath a gazebo 

wooden gazebo over hot tub

This covered tub is from BISHTA members Oyster Pools & Hot Tubs

(Image credit: BISHTA Members – Oyster Pools & Hot Tubs)

A structured hot tub gazebo creates a dedicated outdoor relaxation 'room'. And as well as adding definition to the zone, the roof will keep heavy rain and winds away, keeping it a sheltered sanctuary whatever the weather. Lush green foliage surrounding it will up the zen-appeal, too. 

Match the materials to the rest of your garden structures for a cohesive feel.

19. Go for circular shapes

circular hot tub from Hot Tub Suppliers

A serene and circular pool – a winner of the BISHTA Awards 2020 from Hot Tub Suppliers

(Image credit: BISHTA Members – Hot Tub Suppliers)

The organic, never-ending curve of a circle is a naturally soothing shape. Plus, pick a hot tub in this style and you'll be able to view your surroundings comfortably from all angles. 

This stunning (and 2020 BISHTA award-winning) example is particularly enticing with its circular surrounding stonework and twinkling lights illuminating the nearby tree. 

20. Surround with stone

slate surrounding hot tub from BISHTA Members Oyster Pools & Hot Tubs

A great look for smaller spaces, from Oyster Pools & Hot Tubs

(Image credit: BISHTA Members – Oyster Pools & Hot Tubs)

Stone is one of our favorite garden materials. It's understated yet always stylish, and varieties in dark hues make nearby plants pop.

It also works beautifully surrounding a hot tub, and can provide a useful ledge to sit on or place a drink. Opt for smooth but non-slip kinds, for safety precautions. 

Add containers of neatly clipped topiary for a great way to finish this modern look.

What is the best base for a hot tub?

As we've mentioned, you want to place your hot tub around materials that are non-slippery. But, the base itself for your tub also needs to be sturdy. 

Concrete is generally your best bet here – but a stone patio or heavy-duty decking can also do the job. Just remember that it needs to take the weight of the water and the people using it, as well as the actual hot tub itself. Another important thing to remember is the surface must be flat. Grass is a no-go.

wood-fired pool amongst trees on decking from Canopy & Stars

Coddiwomple Cabin, which features this gorgeous wood-fired tub, is available to hire at Canopy & Stars

(Image credit: Canopy & Stars)

The best hot tubs

Ready to create your very own garden spa? You can check out the latest hot tub deals in our feature, or see below for today's best prices on some of our top buys. 

Holly Crossley
Holly Crossley

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion. But, she loves all things digital too. She joined the team at Gardeningetc after working as a freelance content creator for a web agency, whilst studying for her M.Sc. in Marketing. Now she feels lucky enough to combine both digital and botanical worlds, every day.