above ground hot tub ideas

There are few things more inviting than a bubbling hot tub, especially when you have a well-designed backyard to help show it off! When it comes to backyard hot tub ideas, the design and aesthetic choices are almost endless. When choosing where to place a hot tub, it’s important to keep in mind the practical considerations as well as the ones that bring the most comfort and eye-pleasing value. Modernize is here to help you come up with backyard hot tub ideas – relating to placement, design, and features – that best fit your home and needs. 

Placement for Backyard Hot Tubs

After thinking through the practical matter of budgeting for your new hot tub, the next step is more fun – coming up with ideas for placement, design and features. No matter the bells and whistles you end up choosing for your new hot tub, one of the first things to plan before a hot tub installation is placement.

Can Your Backyard Support a Patio Hot Tub?

Think about the location in the backyard that would be best for your hot tub. Keep in mind that a round hot tub is usually six feet in diameter, which means it takes up about 30 square feet. A rectangular tub takes up 48 square feet, assuming it is built for four or so people. For some, that size might not work on a deck or patio, which means the hot tub should be placed directly on the ground in the yard – either as an in-ground hot tub or above-ground hot tub. Alternatively, you can recess the hot tub into the patio floor by a few feet.

Hot tub installed on wooden patio with garden landscaping

Do you have a deck or patio large enough to accommodate a hot tub while still allowing room to walk around it? In that case, consider the weight. An average hot tub, when filled with water, weighs about two tons. That means that a strong foundation will be necessary, and the foundation of a typical deck or patio may not be enough. If you are unsure whether your deck or patio is strong enough to support a hot tub, make sure to ask your hot tub professional.

The good news is that by recessing the hot tub into the deck or patio, it becomes easier to create a foundation of concrete underneath it where it won’t be seen, and you won’t have to worry about how to incorporate it into the landscape. When recessing the tub into the deck or patio, it’s a good idea to leave at least 16 inches above the deck to allow for easy covering when the tub is not in use.

Let’s say you want to sit the hot tub on a patio, deck, or the ground, and not recess it at all. That provides the option of using the hot tub as a focal point. You can complete the look with benches around it, steps leading up to it, and even a variety of options to “hide” the exterior. Many homeowners choose custom materials for their hot tub’s exterior walls, such as natural stone, boulders, or concrete to establish sleek lines.

Hot Tub and Pool Combination

Homeowners who already have an in-ground pool, or plan to install one, will naturally want to consider a hot tub and pool combination design. Whereas a patio hot tub design provides a relaxing area to lounge and enjoy the spa, a hot tub and pool combo adds an extra element and focal point to the pool area. With that being said, choosing between a patio hot tub or pool area hot tub depends on which area of your backyard you want to highlight for entertainment.

In-ground pool with elevated hot tub area featuring natural stone

If you go with a hot tub and pool combo design, consider installing an in-ground hot tub adjacent to your pool. You can use the same materials for the hot tub walls as you use in other areas around the pool to create a unified design. Consider features that you can only enjoy with a hot tub and pool combo design, such as a spillover from the hot tub to the pool. You can also choose to have the hot tub elevated slightly above the pool level, have them both sit at the ground level, or even have your hot tub situated in the corner of your pool.

Other Placement Considerations

When choosing the best hot tub placement, you should also consider how much sun or shade a particular area gets, as well as the prevailing winds, especially at higher elevations.

Think about privacy as well – will you need to build a fence to keep prying eyes out? You’ll want the tub to integrate into the surrounding area, whether it’s a built in hot tub or a stand-alone. This might mean anything from creating a pergola or gazebo around it to make it a focal point, or simply adding a variety of plants and natural rock features to help the area blend in with the house, deck, and other backyard features.

No matter whether it’s an in deck hot tub or one that stands alone, keep in mind that you’ll need to be able to perform occasional hot tub maintenance, which means a little extra space – or some clever landscape design – to provide easy access to the hidden parts underneath.

Backyard Hot Tub Design Ideas


These days, backyard hot tubs come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. While oftentimes, the shape depends on practical considerations such as number of seats, you can always choose more unique designs. As you choose a shape for your new hot tub, think about how you would like your guests to be seated next to one another. Also consider the area where you want to place your hot tub and what shapes might be best suited.

Some common shapes for backyard hot tubs include:

  • Rectangle or square
  • Triangle
  • Round or oval
  • Diamond
  • Hexagon
  • Octagon
  • Cut or rounded corner

Rectangular hot tubs tend to be best for traditional side-by-side seating. Triangular hot tubs tend to be best for three or six seaters, while hexagonal designs are best for six or twelve seaters. Make sure to discuss your ideas for shape ahead of the installation to make sure your hot tub can support the design.

Rectangular hot tub with cut corner fitted to small upper deck patio.


Another consideration is designing the landscaping around your hot tub. Which trees, plants, or other natural features do you want to surround the entertaining space? You might use bamboo stalks for a serene atmosphere, or palm trees for a tropical feel.

Besides plant life, there are additional landscaping ideas to consider for your hot tub area. For instance, if the hot tub is a stand-alone backyard feature, you may want to add a small patio area or additional seating around the spa. Additionally, you might add a gazebo to cover the hot tub with outdoor string lights, or a grill area to enjoy a meal at the same time.


When it comes to design, you will have a good deal of materials to choose from – both for the interior and exterior walls of your hot tub. Most homeowners will think of the exterior material when it comes to hot tub ideas, especially for above-ground or elevated spas.

Round hot tub adjacent to pool with stone seating and firepit feature.

Think about other materials you use in your backyard – such as your patio floor material, furniture, walls, or other areas. You can choose to match the exterior walls with materials like stone, wood, concrete, or brick. Or, as an alternative, you can use the hot tub to show off a unique design, showcasing mosaic tiles or sleek black fixtures.

Features for Backyard Hot Tubs

Some of the best backyard hot tub ideas start with the hot tub itself. Choose your features carefully, keeping in mind that hot tubs are built to last. You should be happy not only with the placement of it, but also with the variety of features that keep it feeling fresh, romantic, and soothing. Consider the lighting elements of your hot tub, as well as potential for stereo sound, waterfalls and fountains, aromatherapy, reclining seats and more.

Custom lighting installed around hot tub area in backyard.

When planning the area around the hot tub, consider how it blends into the backyard atmosphere. Bring the four elements – earth, fire, wind and water – into the design plan and your senses will thank you. Consider things like wind chimes that impart a pleasing sound, lamps that provide a soft glow, gentle flowing water features to enhance the sounds and feel of your hot tub experience, as well as natural wood stairs or a gently sloping path to the tub to put you more in touch with nature.

Have a more modern setup? Consider incorporating a zen garden, using feng shui to boost meditation, or even create a wet bar near the hot tub if you like to entertain.

Don’t forget the practical touches for your backyard hot tub. A privacy screen of some sort is important to consider. This might be a fence, an actual outdoor screen, or a wall built of stone.

You’ll also need a spot to dry off, so consider placing a comfortable outdoor rug adjacent to the tub, as well as a comfortable bench with non-slip surfaces. You’ll need a place for towels; a small, weather-proof cabinet could work just fine. If you bring out towels from the house, a few strategically placed hooks can keep those towels clean and out of the way.

Whether it’s a hot tub patio specifically designed for the new backyard addition or an above-ground hot tub that allows you to change up the options, this is just the start of the backyard hot tub ideas that can transform your space into a true oasis. For more ideas, turn to Modernize for inspiration. If you are ready to get started on your backyard hot tub project, connect with our network of quality contractors to get more guidance and cost estimates.

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