<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=470043438032257&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Hot Tubs or a Hot Mess? Incorporating a Spa into Your Landscape Design

Posted On: November 20,2017 By: Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Hot tub landscaping and landscape design ideas for pools and spas in Lancaster, PA.Your home is the place you go to escape the busyness of life. After a hard week, you’d love to just go in your backyard, close your eyes and let the stresses melt away. Ahh...

The idea of soaking in warm, bubbling water after a long day or even gathering with your family or friends on the weekend may lead you to start thinking about adding a hot tub in your backyard. However, you may worry that choosing the wrong solution or company to do the work, may result in your relaxing spa turning into an additional source of stress, an ugly backyard.

The last thing you want is to feel like you’re stuck choosing one or the other—a gorgeous backyard or a spa. You want the best of both worlds and you don’t want to compromise. Your goal is a solution that will give you both.


Hot Tubs vs. Spas

Before going any further in this article we wanted to clear up any confusion over the terms hot tub or spa. These days, the terms are used interchangeably and mean the same thing. Both terms describe a large tub of hot water with jets, used for purposes like relaxation, warmth, entertaining, and hydrotherapy.

Spas can either be freestanding units that are added atop a paved surface or built in-ground, connected, or apart from a backyard pool.


Hot Tub Landscaping

Where most hot tub landscaping projects go wrong is with a bad design—or even no design at all. If you have a pool or spa dealer install your spa, it may be very possible that they aren’t giving much thought to what the rest of your outdoor living area looks like.

Hot tub landscaping and landscape design ideas for pools and spas in Lancaster, PA.In the case of hot tub dealers, they’re just making sure the hot tub is installed properly. That’s typically where we see the most commonly made mistake—a hot tub that looks like it was just plunked there.

It stands out (in a bad way) and it looks like an afterthought rather than an incorporation into your overall landscape design. But there are also other reasons it can be problematic.

A hot tub that is poorly placed can also take up space, interrupt the flow of traffic around your outdoor living area, or even be difficult to get in and out of. Instead, thought should be given to where it goes, how it’s positioned, and how it incorporates into your overall landscape design.


Hot Tub Landscape Ideas & Goals

As mentioned, a good hot tub landscape design takes a lot of factors into account. Here are some of the specific ideas that are considered to not only make your spa look gorgeous in your outdoor living area but to make it highly functional, too.

Positioned Close to the House

A thoughtful design will take into account where the doors of the house are located so that you can get outside and into the hot tub quickly (and vice versa, go from the spa to the inside quickly as well).


A lot of people love using their spa in the winter but they don’t want to trek too far to get into it when it’s cold.

Well-Incorporated with a Patio

Spas are typically installed within a patio area and a good hot tub landscape design will also take into account the rest of that design. Often that means nestling it into a nook or corner where it’s not in the way or on top of the outdoor kitchen or dining area.

Hot tub landscaping and landscape design ideas for pools and spas in Lancaster, PA.

It’s placed in a way that flows thoughtfully with the rest of the design without impeding traffic or being in the way. It also looks like it was always meant to be there.

Comes with a View

A lot of people say they want to sit in their spa and enjoy the view of their gorgeous landscape and surrounding property. Some even say their favorite thing to do is look at the stars while they soak. But none of that is possible if the spa is built in a way that the view is blocked.

Hot tub landscaping and landscape design ideas for pools and spas in Lancaster, PA.

If you’re also having a nearby pavilion or pergola built, it’s important that thought is given to whether those structures will block a view you wanted to enjoy from your spa. A thoughtful hot tub landscape design will not overlook what is a seemingly small, but very important detail—the view.

Provides the View

On the flip side, some people like their spa to be a showpiece in a way that it provides something visually interesting to look at. Therefore, they want to be able to view it from other areas of the property or even from inside the house.

Hot tub landscaping and landscape design ideas for pools and spas in Lancaster, PA.

This is particularly true if features such as color-changing LED lighting and water features like fountains are incorporated into the design. These types of features can actually turn your spa into a show. If that’s the case you want to be able to see it at night through a window or while cooking on the grill at the nearby kitchen.


Incorporating a Spa Into a Complete Backyard

If your goal is to simply add a hot tub atop a paved surface in your backyard, then choosing a pool and spa company in Lancaster, PA or surrounding areas is probably your best bet.

However, if your goal is to have a spa that is just one feature of your own backyard resort, then it’s important to consider this as part of an overall landscape design. Be certain that you consider some other key elements that will make your backyard complete such as a plantings, pavilion, patio, lighting, and more. If those are features that you desire, then your best bet is to work with a Registered Landscape Architect (RLA) who will take all of that into account.

Hot tub landscaping and landscape design ideas for pools and spas in Lancaster, PA.

A hot tub dealer or a pool and spa company is only going to be focused on installing the spa itself. They may also fail to take some of the important design details into account that we’ve discussed such as where it’s positioned or what kinds of views you have while sitting in it. These are factors that will affect your overall enjoyment.


Choosing Wisely for the Perfect Backyard Oasis

If you decide that you want a complete backyard design with a spa, then choosing a landscape company with an RLA will ensure your project comes together the way you desire. That’s what you’ll get if you choose to work with Earth, Turf, & Wood.

Hot tub landscaping and landscape design ideas for pools and spas in Lancaster, PA.We have designed and created many projects that included spas, both with or without a pool. Actually, some of our clients did not want a pool but just wanted exclusively a spa that looked like it was meant to always be part of the overall landscape design.

There’s no doubt that your decisions will have an impact on the end result and could be the difference between a useful hot tub or a hot mess. There is no reason why you should have to choose between getting the spa you desire or a gorgeous backyard. By researching your options and choosing the right company, you’ll be able to have both.

If you’re ready for a new backyard resort including a spa and want to find out more about our pool and spa services for your Lancaster, York, Hershey, or Reading, PA home, contact us for a free consultation. Then, sit back and relax knowing you’ve already taken the first step toward following through on your dream.

New Call-to-action

Image Sources:  hot tub

Share this:

Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Written by Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Mary Hatch Dresser is a Registered Landscape Architect with a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia School of Environmental Design. Mary has designed landscapes for 32 years and joined ETW exclusively in 2009. Mary is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA); and also serves on the Shade Tree Committee in Strasburg Borough where she resides. Mary prides herself in carefully listening to her clients to professionally meld their ideas and personal criteria with sound, experienced design practice.

Your dream landscape is just a click away.

Call Us Today!

We would love to hear from you.

Earth, Turf, & Wood

188 North Reamstown Road
Denver, PA 17517

p 717.276.9447


Serving Southeast Pennsylvania including: Lancaster, Reading, Lebanon, York, Hershey, Harrisburg and surrounding areas.