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Building a Hot Tub in Your Garden

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 19 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Hot Tubs Above-ground In-ground Hot Tub

As more and more people in the United Kingdom warm to the idea of using their garden as an extension of their house, hot tubs and whirlpool baths are getting more popular. In this article we'll focus on what you need to do in order to prepare your garden for a manufactured hot tub or one that comes in kit form for you to assemble.

Hot Tubs, Whirlpool Baths and Jacuzzis

The difference between a hot tub and a whirlpool bath (more commonly know as Jacuzzis) is that a hot tub doesn't usually have jets, it's a place to sit and relax in warm water. However, the terms are not strictly defined and many hot tubs come with jets as well. The principles for installation and connection are largely the same though.

Most of the kit hot tubs offered for sale in the United Kingdom come from the United States or Canada. There is more choice if you buy a pre-assembled acrylic hot tub, but the kits are cheaper. There are two main choices, for both kits and acrylic one-piece hot tubs, above ground and in-ground.

In-Ground and Above Ground Hot Tubs

In-ground hot tubs are, as the term suggests, lowered into a hole in the ground so that they are less obtrusive and easier to get in and out of. Above-ground hot tubs sit on the ground and use steps to gain access. Above ground pools are cheaper and more portable, so they can be taken to a new house when you move.

In-ground pools can be finished off to a higher standard and integrated with surrounding hard and soft landscaping, they are also cheaper to run as most of the bulk is surrounded by earth. You can effect a halfway house by integrating an above-ground hot tub with decking or other hard landscaping, something that's much easier if your garden is on a slope.

Building Suitable Support for a Hot Tub

Hot tubs aren't light and are significantly heavier when filled with hundreds of gallons of water, so any platform for an above-ground hot tub needs to be very sturdy. Building a standard patio or a concrete slab will probably suffice, but if you are putting a hot tub on top of decking it would be wise to get advice from the hot tub manufacturer as to how to make sure the platform will hold the weight.

Siting a Hot tub

Consider the site for the hot tub very carefully. It will need to be close to the house so that people can get out into the house to get dry quickly, particularly if you are going to use the hot tub in the winter.

You can put a hot tub in a garden building, or perhaps build a pergola or roof over it, the choice is yours, but make sure that if you are likely to have small children around that the hot tub is fenced off to prevent them falling in when adults aren't around.

Getting Supplies in

You will also need water and electricity supplied to the location of the hot tub but the information on that can be found in another article in this section "Installing a Jacuzzi in Your Garden". The details are no different. There are gas hot tubs available, running on bottled gas, or wood-fired ones, but neither are very common in this country.

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