unground spa ideas

Built-in relaxation: Outdoor in-ground hot tub ideas

A hot tub’s look can seem uniform — there are standard dimensions, options, and colors. But the look of a hot tub installation is anything but limited. There are so many hot tub ideas and sources to inspire your installation. How do you pick the best look for your backyard? 

The first question you should ask is whether you want an outdoor in-ground hot tub or an above ground spa.

An in-ground hot tub installation can elevate the overall look of your backyard.

You can use rock and other natural materials to re-create the rustic look of your favorite mountain getaway. Or, use concrete, sustainable decking, and clean lines or an upscale modern retreat. An in-ground portable spa is also a clever way to make the most of a small backyard.

The style and look of your hot tub installation should complement your landscape, home, and lifestyle. But more than that, it should make you feel like you are getting away without having to clear the TSA.

hot tub in deck
Do you want to put your hot tub in the ground or in a deck? Be sure to work with a contractor to prepare the site properly.

Installing an in ground hot tub in your backyard

Hot tubs and swim spas have become the “it” accessory for backyards. Providing a spa-like experience without leaving home, spas can help you relax, prioritize wellness, and reconnect with family. 

But when you install an outdoor in-ground hot tub, you are also creating an at-home retreat. You want the final installation to match your vision. 

It’s important to factor in the site preparation, access to equipment, and the cover into your planning. 

Site preparation

Just like an in-ground swimming pool, the site of an in-ground spa needs to be excavated. You will need to work with a contractor or landscaper to have a concrete vault built. The vault will support and protect the hot tub and contribute to the overall design. 

Equipment access

How much space do you need around your hot tub? For an above-ground installation, the rule of thumb is 3 feet on each side. But it’s the access to the equipment that’s key. If you are putting your hot tub in the ground, you can have a trap door that gives access to the components. When you are working with the contractor on access to the equipment, also coordinate with the electrician about how to run the electrical lines.

Hot tub cover

What’s one of the best ways to protect your hot tub? The cover. It will keep in heat and keep out natural elements like leaves. A cover is also important for keeping your backyard safe. Most covers are designed for above ground spas. Work with your contractor or local Master Spas retailer so that you can have a properly fitting cover.

outdoor in ground spa ideas
This hot tub has the appearance of an in-ground spa, with a custom retaining wall, steps, and decking.

Outdoor in-ground hot tub ideas

From convenient to custom, there are myriad ways to install an outdoor in-ground hot tub. Among our favorite ideas are building a deck around the spa; using stone to build a wall around it; or putting it into a custom vault.

Hot tub in deck

These homeowners chose to put their Master Spas hot tub into a deck. With about a foot of the spa rising above the surface of the deck, it’s easy to step in and out of the water. This installation also features custom lighting built into the planks and in the vault. There’s also plenty of privacy so you can enjoy soaking solo without the neighbors checking in.

hot tub vault
If you want to put your hot tub in the ground, you will need a custom vault.

Custom vault

Are you building a new patio or expanding an existing outdoor space? You can choose to have a custom vault built as part of the project. These homeowners created a sunken space perfect for a Master Spas Twilight Series hot tub. The design makes it easy to access the equipment and provide power. The space can be finished off with decking or other material to enclose the spa.

Other features of the backyard include a portable umbrella, which can provide shade as you soak in the spa or enjoy a meal al fresco. Shrubbery and trees add shade, too, as well as privacy.

outdoor in-ground spa ideas
This custom deck features a sliding cover that goes over the hot tub.

Under cover

A secret retreat? These homeowners put their hot tub under cover to create the perfect backyard oasis. The Master Spas hot tub was recessed into a custom built deck. As they relax in the water, they can soak in the surrounding landscape and enjoy the mountain views. When the hot tub is not in use, a custom cover made from the same material as the deck slides over the spa. The cover makes the most of limited space while protecting the hot tub.

Spa in patio

Not every backyard has the same shape. While some are rectangular or seem to stretch for acres, others are small and narrow. Some are sloped while others have what could be awkward nooks. But the shape of your backyard can be an invitation to think outside the garden box.

This stunning backyard features travertine-style pavers, with the patio following the contours of the home. A hot tub is just a few steps down from the back door of this waterfront home. There’s a border of green grass between the patio and the flower beds. 

Taking advantage of the water views, the homeowners can eat dinner at the patio table; stretch out on the lounge; or soak in the hot tub. It’s the perfect retreat that can be enjoyed even after the lake season is “over.”

Need more inspiration? Download our Backyard Planning Guide for installation requirements and tips.

buying a home with a hot tub
Discover how to make the most of your new house with a hot tub through this homeowner’s guide.

How to buy a hot tub

Look forward to spending more time in your own backyard oasis. A Master Spas hot tub can be enjoyed safely by the entire family. You can click here to learn more about the benefits of hydrotherapy. Or, contact your local Master Spas retailer to learn more about spa ownership. Wondering how much a Master Spas hot tub costs? You can request a quote here.