Ideas for planning and designing your spa

Things that look better make you feel better.

We live in an increasingly design conscious world and for a very good reason; objects and places that are well designed have that ‘certain something’ that is hard to describe but just feels right.

The benefits of good design apply to spas as well; perhaps most of all when it comes to how your spa fits in with your property, your house and garden. How you create a space, an environment around your hot tub that adds to the benefits of the tub itself.

An above-ground spa is pretty much a self contained unit that only needs a level and stable foundation to sit on, be professionally wired into a protected electricity supply, filled up and turned on and there you are; ready to go.

But your spa represents an investment of several thousand pounds. Take the time to explore a few ideas regarding design and it could really become a focal point of your garden and a real feature in your lifestyle.

The setting creates the mood.

Spas and hot tubs can be both a tranquil oasis for relaxing or act as a focus for entertaining or even both.

When it comes to planning the setting for your spa, good design is as much about understanding what benefits you want to get from your hot tub as anything else.

The second major consideration is probably the overall look and feel of your home and garden itself. If you live in a traditional property then an ultra modern spa may well look out of place. If you live in a modern house then carry that design ethic out to your spa so that it feels at one with the rest of your property.

A modern look can be very calm and relaxing with clean lines and simple shapes. A simple white rendered wall can shield your spa from the weather or from being overlooked. A porthole window in that wall could frame just one section of the view and turn it into a moving painting.

Architectural canvas – made by stretching panels of sail canvas on a wood and wire frame – can make beautiful, graphic shapes that could screen from the side or shelter from above. Carefully chosen planting can provide splashes of colour or use tall grasses such as Mescanthus or clumps of bamboo that will sway in the breeze and be just as soothing as the warm waters of your spa itself.

To give an entertainment feel to a modern look then decking can create platforms and levels around your spa that will make it feel like a bigger space that people can move around in as well as having the benefit of providing a non-slip surface. If the decking matches the cladding on your spa then the whole structure becomes more unified and dramatic.

If there is a wall near you’re spa, then what about decorating it with a mural? There are probably more artists in your area who would be able to design and paint something for you then you would expect. Have a look on the Internet or ask a local interior designer if they could recommend someone.

Well-chosen garden furniture and some modern fibre optic or LED lighting will give you a space that you and your friends really want to spend time in.

Soaking up a traditional setting.

If you live in a more traditional house then what about reflecting that architecture in the setting for your spa?

You might want to find a gazebo that has window frames that echo the shape of the windows of your house. Perhaps there is a particular architectural detail that you can pick out and repeat. Terracotta coping tiles on a wall that shelters your spa that are the same colour and design as the ridge tiles on the house roof would tie the two together. Using materials, finishes and colours that are on the main house will blend your spa in with the rest of your property.

Ideas, inspiration and themes.

There are thatched gazebos available that could beautifully match a thatched cottage, give the feel of an African lodge or blend in beautifully to a natural environment.

Classically proportioned stone steps, a garden statue and two large and dramatic amphora or terracotta planters could give your spa the feel of a Mediterranean temple.

Surrounding your spa with exotic planting such as giant tree ferns, bamboo and architectural plants like Fatsia Japonica or Melianthus Major could give you your own little corner of jungle to hide away in and relax.

Whatever style or design appeals to you, then stick to that one theme or idea. When you do that, all the elements of the setting will match well together and add up to something greater than the sum of their parts.

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