Outdoor bathtub ideas: 11 stylish designs for a relaxing soak out in the fresh air
Our round-up of outdoor bathtub ideas is full of beautiful ways to bathe amongst nature
Have you ever thought about bringing outdoor bathtub ideas into your plot? If not, now might be the time to do so. After all, there's nothing better than a long, relaxing soak after a hard day. And just imagine if you could do so amongst all your favorite flowers, or beneath a starry sky.
They're a lovely addition for giving your garden a touch of luxe, particularly when combined with outdoor shower ideas too. It's a clever way to create a spa-like vibe without going all out with a hot tub or pool. And there are lots of styles to choose from.
'Bringing the outside in and filling our homes with plants and natural materials certainly lifts the spirits – but so too can taking the inside out,' says Joss Thomas, founder and designer at Indigenous. 'Outdoor spa areas and garden bathtubs have become very popular. It's a beautiful concept that's been embraced by lots of luxury hotels and retreats, but it can also be recreated at home.'
To get you inspired for your own, we've rounded up lots of gorgeous outdoor bath ideas – from modern metal designs to classic clawfoot styles. And you'll find plenty of expert advice, too.
11 outdoor bathtub ideas for your own alfresco spa set-up
Indulge in these stunning outdoor bathtub ideas – there's something for all styles and sizes of plots.
1. Double up for a romantic retreat
Why stick to one tub when you can have two? This roll-top duo, complete with claw feet and statement taps, creates the perfect space for a romantic evening watching the sunset.
Install a wooden surface in the center and not only will the pipes be neatly hidden out of sight, but you'll also have somewhere to keep your glass of bubbly and favorite soaps handy.
It's a brilliant way to elevate your decking ideas, especially if you've got a view as beautiful as this. Add some potted plants nearby, too, for an extra spa-like vibe.
2. Surround with a stylish stone wall
Up the privacy for your outdoor bathtub ideas by creating a stone garden wall enclosure. We love the textural look of this example, which enhances the laid-back, nature-inspired feel of the space. You could plant some greenery into the nooks and crannies, too, to create an eye-catching living backdrop.
We also like how the pebbles underfoot add a contrast in color, while the addition of stepping stones brings another element of form into the mix. And that deep, oval-shaped tub is perfect for a soak. Note the shower head attachment too, which will offer extra versatility.
3. Blend your bath into the surroundings
If you love the idea of turning your space into a jungle-like oasis, then opt for a tub in an organic shape. This striking design blends beautifully into its surroundings as it mirrors the nearby boulders and pebbles. And, we'd say it's large enough for two. Plus, opting for a wide ledge means you'll have somewhere to prop a drink.
Surround with plenty of ferns, foliage and your choice of the best tropical plants, then fill it up with warm water, and you'll instantly be transported to your own faraway paradise.
4. Make a statement with oxidized metal
Now here's an outdoor bath idea that will certainly allow you to soak in style.
The mottled turquoise patina is made by applying salt to the metal, which is then heated. We think the results are show-stopping, and the piece would look just as good indoors as it does out.
Add a garden mirror, a stylish chair, and even a towel rack nearby, and you'll be all set for a relaxing afternoon bathing in warm water beneath open skies.
5. Go for a moody and modern look
This uber on-trend design is perfect if you're a fan of modern garden ideas.
A palette of white, black, and green will always feel refreshing, and the painterly effect used here on the wall works well against the leaves overhead.
A minimal tub and pale pebbles add a Zen-like vibe, while the wall-mounted shower head and handle in polished chrome offer an extra sense of luxury. A container of architectural foliage nearby wouldn't go amiss to give this set-up even more style.
6. Sink your bath into decking
Take a cue from this eco-cabin and sink your outdoor bathtub into your decked space: the result is nothing short of stylish. Add a wide stone ledge to help define the zone (and perhaps to pop a candle or two on).
A slatted timber screen will boost the feelings of privacy – we love how this design matches the timber decking for a harmonious feel. And check out that hanging chair, too. It's the epitome of on-trend outdoor living, and perfect for a garden spa.
Looking for more stylish seating (or even dining) solutions for your deck or patio? You can find our picks of the best garden furniture in our buying guide.
7. Keep it contemporary
A stripped-back garden color scheme is a reliable way to create a contemporary vibe. And here, the square block of sleek, black stone makes a stunning surrounding to a porcelain-white tub. Meanwhile, the wall behind offers an ideal accompaniment, as the slate-hued tiles create a subtle pattern.
Ornamental grass is a great way to soften the scene and add a pop of green. Japanese forest grass would make a winning choice. The trailing foliage overhead has caught our eye too – it positively glows against the inky backdrop.
8. Surround with lush leaves
Speaking of foliage, how about considering a living wall for your outdoor bath ideas? It's a surefire way to create that jungle-like ambiance that's so well suited to an outdoor spa.
Even the simplest of tubs will be instantly elevated with such a mix of texture and tones of green. Ferns are one of the best planting picks for this – you can learn how to grow ferns in our guide.
9. Up the privacy with a garden structure
If you place your outdoor bath on a covered deck, not only will the space feel more exclusive but you'll be able to enjoy it even if it's pouring with rain. A canvas gazebo would be a good choice as you can roll up the sides to suit. Alternatively, a pergola can be decorated with climbing plants and softly glowing lights for a magical ambiance.
And in terms of the tub itself, you can't get much more elegant than a sleek oval design like this, complete with a curved chrome tap.
10. Position near a pond
To boost the tranquil vibe of your outdoor bath tub ideas, consider bringing a water feature into the mix. Whether that's a small garden pond complete with water lilies, a trickling fountain, or a statement water wall, the sound and sight will bring another sensory element into the space.
The scheme above is a perfect example, where a beautiful waterfall and cool pool are positioned near a rustic stone tub. And we're loving those patterned tiles, too, which offer an extra touch of flair.
11. Bathe beneath the trees
Lying back in a warm bath of bubbles while gazing up at the clouds or stars is sure to inspire feelings of bliss. But, a canopy of leaves can be just as lovely a view. Plus, there's the bonus of the relaxing sound as they rustle in the wind.
So, consider planting one or two trees near your outdoor tub for a woodland-spa feel. Add smart timber features such as this screen, to enhance the theme.
You can recreate the look even if you don't have much space, just take your pick from our guide to the best trees for small gardens.
What is the best type of outdoor bath tub?
There are all sorts of designs to choose from for your outdoor bathtub ideas, including stone, wooden, metal and acrylic, all of which can be used outside. The best one to choose will depend on your budget and the look you want to achieve.
'Traditional tin bath tubs are a good, practical choice,' says Joss Thomas, the founder and designer of Indigenous. 'Most are made of copper, tin or nickel; all of these materials retain heat really well and can generally be left outdoors, though it's best to cover them up when not in use.
'They're also surprisingly light,' he continues, 'so, easy to move around. Traditional bateau-style designs, with their symmetrical shape and gently sloping ends, create a beautiful feature and can also accommodate two.'
Tessa Holmes, Business Development Manager of Canopy & Stars, also shares her insights when it comes to choosing an outdoor tub. In terms of size, Tessa suggests to 'opt for a larger round or square tub unlike a traditional bath – Omnitub does large sunken Japanese tubs.
'Alternatively, make or upcycle something,' she says. 'Find a second-hand trough online or be inspired by creative Yvette at Humble Bee who handmade her tub out of polished concrete.'
You could also consider wood-fired designs, Tessa adds, where the water is constantly heated. If you want to go a step further, how about investing in some hot tub ideas instead?
Where should you position an outdoor bath?
'In terms of location, choose a spot with a nice view if you have one, or create an intimate nook,' advises Joss Thomas of Indigenous. 'In smaller gardens, you can create an intimate setting with plants, herbs and solar lights.
'Practical considerations are also important. You’ll need to be able to fill the tub, preferably using a hose from taps with a hot water supply. To empty, you could either direct the water straight to a drain or let it soak into the garden as you would a paddling pool.' Alternatively, you may wish to hire a plumber to hook your bath up to the water pipes for hot water on tap (and potentially, for drainage too).
'Make sure to use eco-friendly bathing products, or create fragrance with herbs and petals,' he continues. And, 'don't forget a well-appointed stool for drinks and snacks, and a hook for a towel or bathrobe; especially important if you’re planning a Nordic-style soak on a chilly night.'
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.
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