Don’t think about sinking a hot tub in your garden until you’re clued up on these tips and tricks:
Leave it to the professionals
First things first: there’s a lot that can go wrong when you sink a hot tub if you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s why we strongly recommend you work closely with a reputable hot tub supplier rather than try to sink a hot tub yourself to make sure you aren’t left out of pocket after a botched DIY attempt.
A good dealership will have recommended suppliers we’d urge you to hire for the job. Hiring someone who’s been there and done it all before is the best way to guarantee you won’t end up with any problems down the line.
Leave some slack in your budget
Sinking a hot tub can take quite a bit longer and cost quite a bit more than a standard hot tub installation. Of course, how much longer and how much more expensive depends on how you choose to sink it (more on that later).
Repair access is key
Your sunken hot tub plans need to revolve around leaving enough repair access. That means room for two technicians to lower themselves down and access your spa’s control panel for maintenance and repairs.
The two most common ways to ensure your sunken spa has ample repair access are to surround it with removable panels or to install it near the edge of a deck. This will ensure you’ll only need to remove a few panels to access your spa’s important electronics.
Fail to bake repair access into your plans and you’ll have to remove your sunken hot tub from the ground to make even basic repairs. You might get lucky and never need to do this – or it could be a constant thorn in your side that costs you an arm and a leg over the years.
Account for accessibility
Your spa is going to be a bit harder to get in and out of if you sink it compared to if you install it at ground level, which is well worth keeping in mind if you or anyone in your family has mobility issues.
Pick the right cover lifter
If you’re planning on fitting a cover lifter on your hot tub, make sure it doesn’t drop down further than ground level will be once you’ve sunk your spa.
Leave room for lighting and speakers
If your hot tub of choice has external lighting or speakers, make sure they won’t be buried below ground level when it’s sunk (or if they are, beware that you won’t be able to use them).
Keep an eye on things
Make sure you remove the decking or removable panels around your sunken spa as part of your regular hot tub maintenance routine. This will ensure you don’t end up having trouble with damp and rodents don’t start using the space around your spa as a hotel.
Sunken hot tub ideas
Now you’re clued up on everything you need to know before you install a sunken hot tub in your garden, here’s some real-life examples to help inspire some ideas for how you’d sink a home spa into your garden.
Sunken hot tub in a deck
The most common – and one of the most stunning – ways to sink a hot tub is in decking.
Disguising your hot tub in decking lends a sleek and sophisticated look to your garden. It stops your hot tub from distracting from the rest of your garden or blocking the view to your borders. And it works particularly well if you want to have your hot tub near your home to slip straight into.
Submerge a hot tub in the corner of your decking and the panels will also be easy to pull away for repair access, meaning you never have to worry about going through the hassle of removing your hot tub for basic maintenance and repairs.
Sinking your hot tub into decking is also a great option if your garden is on a hill, as it can help add visual layers to your outdoor space and double up as a space to sit out in.
Submerge a hot tub in the corner of your decking and the panels will also be easy to pull away for repair access, meaning you never have to worry about going through the hassle of removing your sunken home spa for basic maintenance and repairs.
Half-sunken hot tub in a deck
A great way to add a splash of style to your home spa is by half-sinking it into decking.
This isn’t as expensive or time-consuming as fully sinking your home spa into decking – and certainly not into the ground. And it will actually make your hot tub easier to get in and out of rather than harder, making it the perfect option if accessibility is an issue for anyone in your household.
And a hot tub that’s only half-submerged is a lot easier to access and remove.
Sink a hot tub straight into ground
Perhaps the most stunning option of all is to sink a hot tub straight into the ground. This can be a great option if you’re already landscaping your garden and can add a sunken hot tub to your plans.
If you go this route, just be sure to make accommodations for repair access. Removable sections made of decking that surround the spa are a good option here, as they can be easily lifted up for maintenance and repairs.
Fail to provide repair access and you’ll need to dig up your hot tub if it needs repairs, which will turn your garden upside-down as well as cost a bomb. Of course, you might get lucky and your hot tub might never need repairs, but in our book it’s just not worth the risk.
Create the illusion of a sunken hot tub
Another great option is to sit your hot tub on the ground as standard and then build steps leading up to it to give the illusion that it’s sunken and utilises a more common hot tub base setup.
This will make your home spa a stylish statement piece in your garden without the hassle, expense, and drawbacks of sinking it into your decking or garden.
This can be a particularly effective look if you up-light your hot tub, which will draw the eye up and add to the layered effect the steps provide.
How much does it cost to sink a hot tub?
Sinking a hot tub is certainly an added expense on top of the retail price of a home spa.
If you want to sink your home spa into decking, you’re looking at hundreds of pounds to do it yourself and thousands to bring in a contractor to do it. And unless you’re a dab hand at DIY, we strongly recommend hiring a professional for the job, as it’s crucial you build in enough service space. Your best bet is hiring your hot tub dealership’s recommended contractor, as they’ll know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to sinking a hot tub.
If you’re looking to sink a hot tub into the ground, the landscaping costs will obviously depend on the size of your garden – but it’s safe to say they’ll be in the thousands. We’d strongly recommend you leave sinking a hot tub into the ground to the professionals, so be sure to ask your dealership for recommended landscapers.
So, sinking a hot tub certainly isn’t cheap. But, if you’re already having decking built or landscaping work done it’s well worth making a sunken hot tub part of your plans, as the added costs will be negligible and the end results completely eye-catching.
How do you get rid of a sunken hot tub?
Removing a sunken hot tub can be anything from an inconvenience to a major landscaping project, depending on how it’s been installed.
If a home spa was sunk or half-sunk into decking with ample repair access, it could be a relatively easy case of fitting some heavy-duty straps around the tub and pulling it out.
Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy – and sometimes the only way to get a hot tub out of decking is to take a saw to its acrylic shell and cut it into pieces.
If your hot tub has been sunk into the ground with removable panels, you should be able to strap it up and lift it out. However, it will unfortunately be a case of digging it out if it doesn’t have access panels, which will come at a considerable expense and cause a real headache.
Prevent this problem down the line by making sure you plan ample repair access around your sunken home spa. Trust us – you’ll be glad you did if it ever needs any repairs.
Sinking a hot tub into your decking or the ground of your garden gives a seriously spectacular look. But there’s plenty you need to keep in mind to make sure sinking your home spa doesn’t come back to bite you.
So, be sure to make plenty of repair access part of your plans, as well as consulting with a WhatSpa? recommended dealership to ensure you’re doing everything by the book.
And pick up your free copy of the latest edition of WhatSpa? magazine to make sure you’re getting the perfect hot tub for you and your family.
I am the Editor-in-Chief at WhatSpa? Media Group and have been actively involved in the hot tub and swim spa industry for over 20 years. I fell in love with hot tubbing in 2002 and since then have dedicated my career to helping millions of hot tub buyers to make more informed choices when navigating their buying journey.