Congratulations, you have finally decided to add a hot tub to your home! Installing your new hot tub will be the start of what will be years of blissful time spent relaxing with your nearest and dearest. Your next step to enjoy your new hot tub is finding a new home for it in your backyard. It is easy enough to select the location, pour the concrete and enjoy, but why limit yourself to an area just because it’s convenient, easy to access or functional? The transition from a plain installation to your ultimate vision for the perfect backyard can be a reality; all you have to do is explore all the potential of your original landscape and how you can integrate your new hot tub. There are many great options you can consider, and with a little inspiration and creativity your new hot tub can become your personal home spa retreat. So design your space and make a plan, these will be the starting points for creating your perfect spa environment.
Inspiration By Design
Your inspiration may come from exclusive resorts you’ve visited or have seen in travel magazines,photographs or exotic set designs from foreign ﬁlms, outdoor lounges that you wind down in or maybe unique floral arrangements in charming oversized vessels.
Maybe you’ll want to cozy up by a ﬁre feature or add a screen or divider that provides the right amount of privacy.
All of this can be incorporated when planning your spa environment.
Your design will welcome you to the spa and stimulate the senses.
Create A Look book
When you incorporate new objects into an environment it’s important to examine your choices carefully. Your options are endless for accents, accessories and materials. Researching all your options is the key to developing a great design theme. But how can you get all of your ideas and inspiration organized? Why not create a lookbook ? A lookbook is your reference guide to a complete exterior design plan. It’s a notebook for your written plan that keeps you focused and helps avoid spontaneous shopping. Selecting objects not relevant to your design or home can disrupt your concept. As you develop your vision list your items, landscape mediums, screens & dividers, water or ﬁre features, lighting, lounge areas, dwelling extensions, trims, borders or pathways and decorative accessories. Unique shapes for pathways, screens or features add excitement and intrigue, use your photographs and magazine clippings, all of your notes, measurements and ideas and inspiration are within
Each section of your book should include labels, hand sketches, house colors, ﬁxtures, a photo of your home, plants & trees that perform best in the setting, accessories that compliment other objects within the area are best, or offset as an accent. If you’re using an installer conﬁrm the design details and your vision with photographs and detailed drawings from your lookbook. Also designers sometimes create a mood board that conveys the theme within the design plan. Fabrics, paints swatches and landscape mediums all round out your completed concept. Next let’s start the layout.
Render before you Renew
To help visualize your design you will need to produce a simple rendering. This rendering is a hand drawing of the backyard and your plan. Purchase a graph pad, you will be using two sheets or more of graph paper as there will be some trial and error in this process. There are some simple rules for your rendering that can make sure your design fits the backyard. A plant and foliage garden design should compliment the layout and type of the hardscape items such as rocks, walls, pathways, stairs, water features and decks. How the garden is laid out should reflect the style of the home and is key to the continuity of your design scheme.
When selecting the right position of the spa area, study the movement of the sun to determine the suns strength at different times of the day and decide if subtle shading is required. At dusk ambient mood lighting will guide you on your journey to the spa, light placement and direction subdues an area or adds drama.
Now lets get started on the details…
The ﬁrst sheet will represent your exterior floor plan with each square is equal to 12 inches (1 foot). Measure the length and width of the spa area and spa. If your area is 20 feet x 12, count 20 squares x 12 squares on the graph sheet, if your spa is 10 feet x 10 feet, count 10 squares x 10 squares etc. Identify the total space available within your property and outline the full potential for the spa area. Measure the length and width of the property and outline the measurements on the squares on the graph. You could also use a separate graph sheet to measure the length and width of your home and cut out the shape and apply to the original graph sheet. Follow the same procedure using the measurements of objects that surround the home. Measure any permanent fixtures, furnishings or accessories, cut the shapes from a graph sheet and apply to the original graph. Illustrate any pathways or landscape borders on your floor plan (the original graph sheet). You can move around the objects that are not permanent to visualize your alternatives through this process. Once you’ve completed your plan on paper.
Get ready to prep the area.
Prepare To Be…Spa-tacular
Remove all debris or clutter from the area and start with a clean space. Once you determine the exact location for the spas foundation, conﬁrm it ﬁts and meets easement rules of your property boundaries. Walk the perimeter of the property to get the full perspective of space. You’ll be surprised what just walking the area will reveal. Once a design or shape is determined for your foundation, mark the elevated or sunken areas staking the area with string or food coloring if on grass. If on concrete you can use chalk. Use a mock object, to locate where your vessels, features, accessories or large boulders are to be placed. The outcome of prepping the area will be to check how each item fits and matches the surroundings. Try to keep the items accurately spaced in relation to one another and to the scale of the spa area and home.
The Six Walls
There are six perspectives or walls of interest for your spa environment. A great design addresses each possible angle when you’re in the spa zone.
The ﬁrst wall is your floor and deﬁnes the length, depth and width of your area. Once you have established the shape, a ﬁller adds contrast. Fillers soften the hard Lines of the site or deﬁne a simpliﬁed pathway for your exterior floor space. Sand, polished glass gravel, or tiny polished stones feels great for the toes.
The second wall, your ceiling, refers to the height, depth and volume of your space. Enclosing the space above the spa restricts your sight lines. Avoid solid objects above your spa so you can marvel at the stars by dusk. If shade is required, a ﬁxed structure such as a pergola with angular well spaced rafters is a great choice to maintain the view. Draped or taut fabrics that are UV resistant provide a softer spa like atmosphere and may also be used as your third wall.
Your third wall is the most influential to your concept. The backdrop sits above the height of the spa and behind it. Like the background scene in a theatrical play it highlights and sets the spa environment. Incorporate ﬁxed materials for your structure such as wood, stone, metal, concrete, resin, fabric or glass. A structure anchors the location site and sets the stage for a wide range of themes. A tree line or long grasses set in odd numbers of three, ﬁve or seven is always the preferred natural alternative and a solution to manmade backdrops to promotes a more natural flowing movement; the breeze to please your senses. There are many modular manufacturers that provide instant panel systems for living walls that in turn become a year round focal point. Water features, foliage and flowers highlight the left and right side of your spa and theses sides are recognized as your fourth and ﬁfth walls, let them sweet talk your senses. Layered above or below the spa height are odd grouped oversized vessels, with statues or flowing aromatic vines, lavender shrubs or blossom trees that perfume the air on breezy days and nights.
The fourth and ﬁfth walls promote a natural connection with nature when there is a non symmetrical design. Draping sheer flowing fabric panels that move and sway gently, accent shade or privacy. The entrance to the spa is your sixth wall. This space can be a series items and materials for visual layers and spa highlights. Positioned below or at par with the spa height it features interesting items with varying ﬁnishes at the entry such as an offset sun deck in glass, a staircase equal to the spa width, in limestone, teak or resin. Display an oversized moss or quarry rock with a bubbling functional water Pump, for your foot bath. A towel station in wood or Iron serves you best on brisk days and nights. Low to ground vessels ﬁlled with sand, pea gravel or polished glass or glimmering mirrored crystals, (opposite to what you use as your ground ﬁller) staked with ethanol torches or flameless candles, promotes intriguing textural effects and mood lighting. Medium sized vessels with medium height grasses along the pathways and beside the steps add movement and intrigue to your evening visits to the spa. Lounge seating or large ﬁre features can be the sequel to your production. If placed just far enough from the spa, it provides the perfect enhancement to your 360 degree view.
Each item deﬁnes your great spa escape and should allow your dreams and senses to come alive. When we reunite with nature we leave behind the structure and conﬁnement of the indoors. Your home spa environment is your realm, nourish all your senses. Exhale, ﬁnd newness, drift off in your spa, escape, as you are reborn in your secret place.