So you’ve finally taken the plunge. You have your new hot tub and you have the perfect spot picked out to install it. Maybe you have it in your backyard next to the sliding doors. Or maybe you’ve put it in the side yard or up on a roof deck. Whatever you’ve chosen to do with your hot tub you eventually come to the realization that you’ll be (at least) half naked when you use it. Eventually there comes a time when you need to consider backyard hot tub privacy ideas.
8 Interesting Backyard Hot Tub Privacy Ideas
As you’ll see from the picture above, a mix of methods is sometimes best. Such as this hot tub screen which combines wood paneling and arborvitae to screen view from two directions. However, in this article we’ll explore endless ways to hideout in your hot tub. Having a background in landscape design, let’s start with screening plants.
When considering the options for privacy, first it’s a good idea to consider some basic options for your installation location. Can you use plants for screening in the installation location you’ve chosen? What are the best screening plants for you to use?
If there isn’t any way to plant where you’ve installed the hot tub, maybe you should consider mobile planter boxes. Sometimes there’s not an option for a planted privacy barrier, and if so, do not worry. There’s always another option available to you when considering backyard hot tub privacy ideas.
Before we get into the alternatives to plant based screening options, let’s look at some of the ways that plants can be used for screening. First there’s the plant types themselves to consider. Often when thinking of screening, the evergreens come to mind. These will provide the privacy needed all times of the year. If you have the space to plant them, Arborvitaes make an excellent screen. Keep in mind that they do take up quite a bit of room. If you don’t keep them trimmed, they’ll turn into quite large trees.
This is where the Boxwood comes in handy. Though you need to be sure you limit the amount of chlorinated water you splash on to the boxwood, these create the ideal hedge. It will take some time to shape them into the hedge row you’re looking for. Yet, if you ask around at your local nurseries, you can often find some large specimens to bring your backyard hot tub privacy ideas to life. Though Boxwoods do have a range, there are numerous species and in most areas, you should be able to find something that’ll work.
However, there are parts of the country where a boxwood will not be the ideal solution for a planted screen for your hot tub. In some parts of the country, like the Sonoran deserts of Arizona, finding dense foliage at all can be difficult without excess irrigation. However, you can bring some plants you might not expect into the mix. Yes, they’re messy and the flower petals get all over everything. Although, a wood or metal lattice panel with Bougainvillea planted can make an excellent privacy hedge. Sometimes you’ll need to plant both sides of the panel. However, the beauty of the plant makes up for the additional space needed to gain the density required for privacy.
When considering planting for your backyard hot tub privacy, it’s also important to remember you’ll need irrigation. NEVER use hot tub water on your plants, regardless of how hearty, strong or capable they are. That is unless you’re using fake plants.
That’s right, a landscape designer is bringing up fake plants. It’s not a bad thing to consider using fake plants in your landscape. Sometimes it’s just plain the best solution for the problem at hand. Places where the plants would otherwise not have enough soil, or where weight is an issue are great places for properly fabricated fake plants.
Examples Of Boxwood Backyard Hot Tub Privacy Ideas
Yes, if you’re a billionaire, it’s probably best to steer clear of fake plants. You’ll be the butt of jokes at the private airfield, and high tea at the country club may be a solo affair. However for the rest of us, a well crafted fake plant can be a huge benefit to your backyard landscape. This is especially true for rooftop installations where weight is a concern.
If your home has a roof deck or balcony where you can install a hot tub, there should be an accompanying engineering design taking into consideration the excess weight of the filled hot tub. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always extend to soil filled planters. Often you’ll be restricted in soil depth and this means you cannot grow tall screen plantings.
Because of these restrictions, fake plants often make their way into the homes of rooftop dwellers, penthouse apartments, and condo balconies. Finding a way to integrate the green of plants into your backyard hot tub privacy plans can soften the stark masonry walls which often get proposed by designers and landscape architects. That’s not to say a masonry wall is an inherently bad solution.
Masonry walls can be used for hot tub privacy when the site is properly prepared for them. Keep in mind if you live in an area with frost or where frost walls are required to prevent movement over the winter, you’ll need to prepare for your masonry walls well before you install your hot tub. There are a few exceptions, but this is a general rule of thumb. Masonry walls can be natural stone, CMU block, poured concrete, or any combination of these to create a solid barrier between your hot tub and your neighbors.
Before we get too far into the masonry ideas, you’re probably thinking that this sounds expensive. After all, the walls will have to be high to screen the hot tub and the people getting in and out of it. You are correct if you plan on installing your hot tub at ground level.
Lowering Hot Tub Into Ground
When you are considering masonry hot tub screening it’s a good idea to remember you can always sink it into the ground. Additionally, in some places this will mean additional permitting and additional structural challenges. Also, there will be drainage and grading issues, not to mention potential service access issues for the spa service panel. However, once you weigh all these issues against the benefit of dropping the hot tub into the ground, you’ll find yourself seriously considering a sunken hot tub.
Dropping a hot tub into the ground gives you freedom. You can walk up to the hot tub, sit on the edge, and swing your legs over to get in. Gone are the days of awkwardly climbing a slippery staircase to enter the hot tub. Once you have the hot tub sunken into the patio, or inside of a retaining wall perimeter, you are free to install lower and more subtle screening options. You have the ability to screen with a variety of options. These include shorter plantings, masonry walls or other screening types like polycarbonate panels, wood, or laser cut aluminum paneling. It’s common to mix these materials together for the ideal effect.
Fence / Decorative Screen Panels
Next we’ll cover one of the most common ways to implement backyard hot tub privacy ideas. This is by adding into your property the installation of fence panels or decorative screen panels of some sort. One solution is to buy a standard fence, like a cedar fence, vinyl or Cellular PVC. However, you may want to consider some alternatives to the standard fence like an artistically inspired laser cut aluminum panel. These can be affixed on painted posts, steel, or aluminum posts. Make sure whenever you are installing a conductive material near the spa, you have your electrician involved to confirm the installation is safe and you will not have any electrical issues.
A common screen in the modern landscape is horizontal ipe, mahogany, or teak wood fences. These can be built on site by a carpenter, or prefabricated panels can be purchased and installed on site. Bringing the warmth of wood into the design scheme can help reduce the visual impact of your vinyl or polyester spa cover. These boards do not need to be horizontal. However, when considering how to custom build these fence panels, horizontal wood often ends up being slightly less expensive when you consider the additional support necessary for vertical wood boards.
Examples Of Screen Panel Backyard Hot Tub Privacy Ideas
Here is a vertical wood paneling option. We like this for its aesthetic as much as its practicality.
Here is a horizontal wood privacy screen example. This allows some breeze to enter while blocking out nearly all visibility.
Outdoor Kitchen Angling
If you are considering an outdoor kitchen as a part of your backyard environment, this can dovetail nicely into your backyard hot tub privacy ideas. Maybe you plan on building your outdoor kitchen in close proximity to your hot tub. If so, you may want to try a layout which places the outdoor kitchen between your hot tub and the neighbor you are hoping to screen.
When building an outdoor kitchen, it can make sense to introduce a vertical face. This can be a backsplash, pot rack, or anything of the like which can help create that visual barrier you are looking for. Also, if you have an oversized countertop behind the spa, you can place small countertop planters and fill them with either real or fake plants to create the privacy screen.
Backyard Hot Tub Privacy Ideas Summary
One of the major considerations for backyard hot tub privacy ideas is the angle of the view you are trying to avoid. If the neighboring property is high above your backyard, simply planting tall arborvitae might solve the screening problem. Likewise, if you have a view to the street a combination of fencing and thick evergreens might be best. If you have a neighbor in close proximity you probably want to consider something which takes up less space than planting. Instead, focus on a well crafted screen panel, a fence, or artificial plant hedge.
Sometimes building a wall is the only solution. When you do this or any construction, make sure you involve the appropriate engineers and professionals to make the project go as smoothly and safely as possible. Hopefully this article has given you some backyard hot tub privacy ideas. Now you can screen your hot tub while maintaining an aesthetic all your own.