Hot tub pergolas – a structure with open walls, slats, and rafters that run along its roof that you can hang fabric or curtains over – making for a particularly versatile option for handsome hot tub housing.
A hot tub pergola provides you with a shady retreat to luxuriate out of the strong summer sun all year round, transforming your spa into a serious style statement.
In this short guide, we cover everything you need to know before choosing the right pergola for your hot tub – and give you plenty of hot tub pergola ideas for inspiration when designing your dream garden.
Wondering whether placing a pergola around your home spa is right for you?
Here’s a look at the benefits they can bring:
Affordable and easy-to-install hot tub housing
Because they’re so minimalist by design, pergolas are the most budget-friendly and easy-to-install hot tub housing there is.
If you’re after a simple solution that provides stylish roof protection from the sun that you can also easily install on a single weekend, then look no further than a hot tub pergola.
It’s a simple privacy screen
A perfectly placed pergola can help provide more privacy for you and your family during your home spa soaking sessions without blocking too much of the sun.
If the only spots in your garden that would fit a hot tub are overlooked by your neighbours, then a hot tub pergola can make for a cheap and attractive privacy screen – all depending on how much privacy you require for your outside space.
It protects you from sun overexposure
While sunlight is a great source of vitamin D, too much sun exposure –especially around midday into early afternoon in the height of the summer – can be bad for you.
And given that your sun tan lotion is bound to wear off in your tub, spending hours in your spa in the direct summer sun could put you at risk of UV overexposure.
A hot tub pergola provides enough much-needed shade to both keep you cool and give you the peace of mind that you’re not putting your health at risk – without blocking out the sunshine entirely.
It’s a style statement
Last but not least, a pergola can transform just about any old hot tub into a stunning spa Shangri-La that you, your family, and your friends can retreat to each day to luxuriate or party in style.
It doesn’t protect you from the elements
It’s worth mentioning that, while hot tub pergolas will offer shade in your hot tub area in the warmer months, they won’t be heavy-duty enough to protect you from heavy rainfall or snow.
If you’re looking to be able to soak and relax in your spa whatever the weather, you might want to explore hot tub housing options like a gazebo, an enclosed building, or a summer house.
Do you need planning permission for a hot tub pergola?
In most cases, you don’t need planning permission to add a pergola to your garden. However, there are some regulations you’ll need to stick to:
If it’s built within 2m of your property boundary, your pergola can’t be more than 2.5m tall.
Otherwise, your pergola’s eaves can’t be more than 2.5m tall – and it can be no higher than 4m in total if it has a pitched roof and 3m in total if it has any other type of roof.
You’ll also need planning permission to put up a pergola if your home is in a conservation area or is a listed building – or if more than half of the land around your “original house” is already covered by garden buildings.
So, be sure to check with your local council before putting your pergola plans into motion if you tick any of these boxes.
How high should a pergola be over the hot tub?
You need to be able to comfortably stand up in your hot tub under your pergola, which means it often makes sense to take advantage of the full 2.5m you have to play with before you need planning permission.
This can be made even easier if you choose to install a sunken hot tub in-ground, as your 2.5m pergola roof will be more than high enough to create adequate room between your hot tub seating area to allow for full standing.
Can a pergola be too high?
If your pergola is within 2m of your property boundary, it can’t be more than 2.5m tall unless you have planning permission. If you’re building it more than 2m away from your property boundary, it can’t be more than 4m tall if it has a pitched roof or 3m tall if it has any other type of roof unless you have planning permission.
Pergolas usually stand on four posts, but attaching one to your house can save space and materials, make it sturdier, and look fantastic. Just be sure to check with your local council about whether you’ll need planning permission to build a pergola against the side of your home before you pull the trigger on the project.
What are the different types of hot tub pergolas?
Hot tub pergolas come in a diverse range of styles and designs to add a touch of elegance to your outdoor oasis:
The wooden pergola
One particularly popular type is the wooden pergola, which offers natural beauty and sturdiness as it shelters and enhances your spa experience. Wooden pergolas can be made from various types of wood, such as cedar or redwood, that are not only attractive but also resistant to rot and damage from insects.
Wooden pergolas can be custom designed to match the shape and size of your hot tub, ensuring the perfect fit for your space. Some of these pergolas even come with added features like built-in seating, adjustable louvres for controlling sun exposure, and even integrated lighting, to maximise the ambience for an indulgent evening soak.
The combination of the warm wood materials and the intricate lattice patterns offer a truly serene and visually stunning addition to your hot tub haven.
The metal pergola
Among the diverse range of hot tub pergolas, metal pergolas have emerged as an increasingly popular option due to their contemporary design and unmatched durability.
A significant advantage of metal pergolas is their robustness; typically constructed from aluminium or steel, they are almost immune to wear and tear such as insect infestation that may affect their wooden counterparts.
Metal hot tub pergolas also often come with a powder-coated finish, ensuring they remain rust-resistant and easy to maintain year-round. You will not need to worry about seasonal varnishing or painting, giving you more time to indulge in your outdoor retreat.
While they come with a modern and sleek appearance, they may not suit some homeowners’ stylistic preferences. Despite the benefits, metal pergolas can also be pricey compared to other options and may require a professional installation due to their significant weight.
The glass pergola
Designed with sleek sophistication and exceptional functionality in mind, glass pergolas provide optimal protection against the elements while maintaining unobstructed views of the surrounding landscape.
Expertly crafted using high-quality materials and tempered safety glass, these stunning structures are not only visually captivating but are also built to withstand the rigours of daily use and harsh weather conditions.
Can you decorate hot tub pergolas?
Absolutely! A decorated hot tub pergola not only enhances the overall aesthetic appeal but also elevates the experience of relaxation and rejuvenation in the comfort of your backyard oasis.
Consider experimenting with different garden lights, such as string lights, lanterns, or even LED lighting integrated into the pergola structure, to create a soothing and relaxing ambience during nighttime dips.
Don’t forget the importance of greenery and natural elements – hanging plants and flowers, decorative vines, or even small potted trees can incorporate a refreshing atmosphere and help you establish a stronger connection with nature as you unwind.
With a little creativity, your hot tub area can become an enchanting retreat, tailored specifically to your preferred styles, tastes and vision.
How much do pergolas cost?
You can build a pergola in a weekend for a few hundred pounds if you’re a dab hand at DIY. However, unless you work in construction for a living, we strongly recommend you leave building a hot tub pergola from scratch to the professionals. You’ll seriously regret cutting corners on your hot tub pergola if it falls down – especially if you or your loved ones are in your spa when it does.
Hiring someone to put up a pergola for you – from scratch or from a kit – will put you back around a thousand pounds rather than a few hundred. However, you’ll be able to enjoy your hot tub with the peace of mind of knowing that a professional has put together your pergola structure, rather than worrying about whether your DIY skills are going to hold it up.
Not all pergolas are created equal, of course. While one made of wood will cost you hundreds of pounds, you can get sleek aluminium models that seriously look the part – but cost serious money, too. You could pay thousands for one of those.
What direction should a pergola run?
To get the most shade from your pergola throughout the day, make sure it’s angled to the east and its beams run north to south. This will give you the best protection from the sun’s rays when at their strongest.
The right hot tub pergola can be the perfect addition to your home spa when trying to create your private garden paradise.
Here are some stylish hot tub pergola ideas for inspiration for your own space:
The wooden pergola – soaks with a view
Is the perfect spot for your home spa exposed to the elements or right under a tree? A pergola can protect you while still letting you enjoy the view while you soak.
The cedar pergola – stack the deck
Decking or patio makes for a great base for a pergola, as you can sink the posts into the decking for stability without having to lay a foundation. Staining your pergola the same colour as your decking and any fences you have in your garden is also a simple way to tie your space together visually.
The modern pergola – up against the wall
Using a wall of your home to support one of the sides of your pergola is a great way to save space and building costs – all while making the structure sturdier. Just be sure to check with your local council what the rules are for building an extension from your house.
A pergola makes for great housing for your hot tub. It’s an affordable and effective way to protect yourself from the elements while you soak and lends an airy appearance to your hot tub area that can really set it off.
Stick to the tips we’ve laid out in this short guide – and the ideas we’ve shared for inspiration – to get the most from your hot tub pergola.
And pick up your free copy of the latest edition WhatSpa? Magazine for more expert advice on how to get the most from your hot tub – as well as our picks of the best hot tub brands for every budget.
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I am the Content Writer and Marketing Officer at WhatSpa? Magazine. I have worked at WhatSpa? for over 8 years, and I recently graduated with Distinction from Northumbria University with a Master's degree in Occupational and Organizational Psychology.
My role at WhatSpa? is to ensure that all hot tub lovers can easily access the highest quality and most up-to-date content, news and information from within the UK wet leisure industry.