Outdoor hot tubs offer a real sense of luxury to your garden and a special place for you and your family or friends to relax.
Whether you are considering investing in a hot tub or you already have one, an overhead gazebo is a great way to make it more weatherproof.
This could be an interior design project too, as you will want to ensure your new space looks as close to heaven as you can imagine. Read on to decide if you want a temporary gazebo to cover your hot tub or whether a more permanent gazebo would suit you better.
First things first! 4 things to consider before buying a gazebo:
1. Location in your garden is important
Check if your chosen area is on a level, flat base so that the hot tub is secure and access is safe. Does a waterproof membrane need to be laid before the tub goes in or do you need to place a membrane around an existing tub?
Is the hot tub close to a tap or water supply, so that you can refill it as needed?
Do you need an electrical supply for heating? This will need to be made waterproof to avoid spillage damage.
Is your hot tub wood-fired? Allow space for a dry pile of wood to burn if so. You may need to store logs for a whole season too, so make sure log storage is out of the rain and that there’s a path for easy access.
Is your hot tub close to a building? You’ll need plenty of space to erect a gazebo so figure out if you want to use pole fixings in grass or maybe a more permanent, wooden structure that needs to be secured.
2. Measure your hot tub length, width and depth
Hot tubs come in all shapes and sizes from squares and rectangles to elongated oval shapes with provision for wood burning.
The important thing is to start thinking about how much space you want around the tub.
Will this also be a dining area, for example? Do you want to fit chairs and a table or is this destined to be a gazebo spa with a hot tub, some plants and a woodpile?
3. Cleaning and hygiene
Hot tubs need regular cleaning and you need to test the water regularly too. It may be worth adding a convenient storage cupboard that contains these supplies.
4. Space around your hot tub
Picture how much space you ideally want around your hot tub. Allow for a chair to hang towels and bathrobes, or provide a hook for these things. Is it for a couple, just you or a large group? You may want a table and chairs so think about the space. Will this gazebo double up as a party bar, a venue for dinner with friends or is this just a spa gazebo? These considerations will decide the next step: size and permanence.
Temporary or permanent? The choice is yours
A temporary gazebo does not need planning permission, providing that it meets your local council’s regulations. In general in the UK, as long as a temporary structure is less than 2 metres high, no permission is required. Check with your local council if you are not sure.
Gazebos usually come with metal frames, some sturdier than others. There are plastic, bubble gazebos available that cover the hot tub and very little else. They are cheap and cheerful and can be packed away when not in use.
Cost is also a factor here. If you want a deluxe, waterproof gazebo with zippable curtains, it will cost a lot more than buying an off the shelf temporary gazebo with 4 open sides.
Fully waterproof gazebos specially designed for hot tubs come with 4 open sides to surround your hot tub and you can draw the cover curtain on one or all sides for privacy and to keep out the weather. There are fully waterproof gazebos with zippable sides to keep you cosy! Prices for a 3m x 4m gazebo start at £299.99 and include steel legs with fitting plates to keep them steady. Assembly should take around an hour with 2 people.
Permanent gazebos are more expensive but you can expect them to last a lot longer.
You can choose a gazebo with windows that just fits the hot tub, or you may choose a larger gazebo to accommodate other occasions like family parties or birthdays. You can buy a wooden design with pre-cut timber and detailed instructions for DIY construction.
These open-sided, wooden structures are also called pergolas, which add an extra room to your garden and a space to relax. You can add trellis as a windbreak or make a solid wood panel to keep the weather out. Assembly will need some carpentry ability and hopefully, you will have a partner to help with making the roof.
You could design your own gazebo and YouTube offers patterns and instructions galore. This is useful if your hot tub is an unusual shape. The most popular DIY options are made of wood, with sloping roofs, with 4 or more supports. The sides can then be trellised, filled with bamboo or shrubs, or made of solid wood.
Assembling a wooden gazebo is a little complicated so you’ll need to know how to use a saw, hammer and nails. It will take you days to construct but get some help and get stuck in if this is your dream!
How green is your building and hot tub management?
- You can source FSC sustainable wood to build your gazebo to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Try to use low moisture wood (15%) to burn in your wood-fired tub.
- Find a local log supplier to reduce your environmental impact.
- If you have prunings from shrubs, bushes or trees, then allow them to dry for a minimum of 2 years before you burn them.
- The leftover ash can be used as fertiliser for your garden. Fruit like raspberries, cherries and strawberries will reward you with plump, sweet fruit.
- Think about having a green roof, if cost is no issue. The flowers will attract pollinators and your gazebo will feel a lot warmer.
Check out our full list of garden hot tub ideas for that relaxing end-of-the-week soaking.
What kind of interior gazebo space do you want to create?
So you have the hot tub and the gazebo. Now let the decorating genie out of the bottle and the fun starts!
Here is an opportunity to add some extra space to your house in summer and winter. If the area is covered, you may visit your tub after work on cold chilly evenings, so good lighting is crucial and can add a special atmosphere for more intimate hot tub evenings. Valentine’s night hot tub sounds really special to me!
Flooring can be the grass or the concrete you decided on initially. However, if this is to be a snug, comfortable escape from the stresses of everyday life, you might consider a carpet, cork tiles or even a wooden floor rather than cold concrete or slippy grass. Of course, this depends on your budget and you could use a donated carpet at first, then upgrade to a wooden floor at a later date.
Plants will add welcome colour and visual interest to your hot tub heaven but any you add will have to cope with varying conditions.
From lots of sunshine (optimistic in a British summer I know!) to chilly winter conditions, gazebo plants will need to be able to withstand all the elements. The gazebo will offer some protection and if it’s a permanent structure, then adding some pretty, flowering climbers could work a treat.
Keep any delicate plants in pots, and then move them indoors for winter. Some herbs can survive harsh weather conditions, including thyme, rosemary and sage, they also have wonderful flowers, which attract pollinators.
If you have a wood-fired hot tub, you can be really creative with your wood storage. Neatly piled logs make a very natural, attractive view from a hot tub. You can make your log pile weatherproof by adding sides and a colourful top, which could double up as a drinks holder or a place for scented candles.
Cupboards can be personalised to your style and taste and again, the top can be used to hold candles, reading material or a place to put your mobile while you’re immersed in the water.
Curtains can be colour coordinated to match some of the gazebo furniture or flooring.
Important safety notes:
- Electrical cables and switches will need to be made waterproof. Ensure that you employ an electrician to help with this.
- Think about access to the hot tub for younger users and older ones. Will you make steps as part of the design or add a rail for people to hold if they need help?
- Accidents from slipping. The flooring of your gazebo may be grass or carpet but make sure you have a mat for people to step onto, as they leave the hot tub. Accidents are common where there is water! You may consider using a waterproof membrane.
- Is the wood protected from damp? You may need to treat the wood inside a permanent hot tub gazebo for damp, because the condensation in this enclosed space may rot unprotected wood.
- Cover your hot tub. Most commercial hot tubs come with a cover, mainly to keep flies and other pests out but also to keep it sterile and clean. Make sure you replace the cover after each use.
Whether you construct a temporary gazebo over your hot tub, or if your spa parties need a more permanent structure, I hope this article has helped you to find the best option.
Whichever solution you choose, have fun, enjoy your hot tub downtime and relax in your outdoor gazebo space.