How to: Landscaping around a hot tub

Whether your clients have an existing hot tub or they’re going to be adding one, there are some important landscape design elements to keep in mind so that they can get the most out of that space. A hot tub is certainly a welcomed and relaxing addition to an outdoor living area but it can be made even more enjoyable with the right landscaping.

Hot tub placement and installation

If you’re going to be involved in the placement and potentially even the installation of a hot tub for one of your clients, then there are some considerations to keep in mind. According to Mason Shaffer, Garden Designer with Blanchford Landscape Group in Bozeman, Montana, it is a best practice to make sure that a hose bib or hydrant are close for filling and draining purposes.

Shaffer says that he has seen erosion issues occur in newly installed landscapes when hot tubs were drained without any regard for the landscaping. That alone is a good reason for a landscape designer to be involved.

“When it comes to where to put a hot tub, it’s worth weighing in, even if you aren’t the one doing the installation or set-up,” Shaffer says. “As landscapers, we often think about how the property as a whole functions—and how a hot tub will impact the flow and use of the space.”

dding features around a hot tub

There are also landscaping additions that can make a hot tub more enjoyable. These are projects that landscapers would be directly involved in.

One such possibility is adding a roof over the hot tub for weather protection, suggests Shaffer.

“If your clients are in an area that gets heavy snow like we do here, then covering their patio space in general will minimize their shoveling,” he says. “Snow clearing can become a pain when clients want to have access to their hot tub in the winter. Adding cover will also protect your clients from the sun in the spring and summer—or allow them to use the hot tub during rain.”

Structures, such as a pergola or a large outdoor fireplace, can also play a role in privacy. If your clients want to be out of sight from passersby but there is no spot that is tucked away on the property, a structure can serve as a privacy screen.

“Plants can also create some privacy,” Shaffer suggests. “Certain plants can serve as privacy screens if you need to create some added seclusion.”

Landscaping for appeal

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A container garden or two may be all that’s needed to add color around a hot tub.Blanchford Landscape Group

Of course, considering this is a spot where your clients will likely be spending a lot of time, you also want to think about landscaping in terms of adding appeal.

“Flowers and greenery can add ‘wow factor’ that makes the space much more enjoyable,” Shaffer says. “It’s something for people to visually enjoy while spending time in their hot tub.”

The key is to take time to consider what your clients will be able to see from inside of the tub, adds Shaffer. You have to keep in mind that they’ll likely be sitting lower. That might mean that some container gardens on a table or a stand might be warranted in the area immediately around a hot tub.

“Landscaping directly around the hot tub could be enjoyed from other areas of the property but would require your clients to lean over to see it from within the hot tub,” Shaffer adds. “You want to make sure that you’re thinking about what will work best for both their wants and needs.”

Shaffer adds that a hot tub is ultimately just one feature of what could be an entire outdoor living area. Because of that, everything must “work together.”

“Our goal is to help our clients want to spend more time outside,” Shaffer sums up. “We do that by thinking of all the little details on each and every element of a project.” 

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Kirk Walker