Careful planning is a very important part of incorporating a spa to your yard. When selecting the right spot you may want to consider things like privacy and accessibility. Ask yourself, “Will the spa look good here? Is it convenient to get to? Where will I have to ‘screen’ for privacy?”
Planning ahead will produce that ‘built-in’ look, and avoid the impression that the spa was ‘added-on’ as an afterthought. Typically you want your spa close enough to the house so it is convenient to get to and use. The closer it is to the house, the more you’ll enjoy it.
Drainage is also a very important part of planning. When it rains, which way does the water flow? Water needs to have a positive flow away from your house and any structure. Water should not stand or puddle anywhere. Will special grading, or drains need to be installed to ensure water doesn’t settle where your spa is going to be installed?
Is there an electrical source nearby to provide power for the spa? An adequate source of electricity will need to be available to provide power for the pump, motor and filter system.
Electrical power should be brought from the main panel of your house. This may be an opportunity to provide for any additional electrical needs such as lighting. You could have the electrician install an extra outlet or hard-wire any additional controllers in. Be sure your electrician consults the spa owner’s manual before doing any electrical work.
If you’re planning on installing a spa ‘shell’ with separate external equipment (as opposed to ‘self-contained’ with built-in equipment) you will want to consider where you will place the equipment (pump, filter, and heater). The equipment should be out of direct view and must have an adequate area for maintenance.
Many times the new spa is being placed in an existing lawn area with wood, concrete or masonry decking built around it. Designing planter beds for trees, shrubs, ground covers and flowers adjacent to the decking can create many different environments. Be sure to plan the location of any new trees carefully. As the trees grow you do not want tree limbs overhanging in your spa.
Irrigation is very important. Not all plantings require the same watering needs. For instance, the lawn area may require more or less water than the shrub beds. The sun areas may need to be watered more frequently than the shaded areas. Separate the areas as much as possible based on their individual requirements. Always set up the drip irrigation sections as separate areas, and on their own schedules. Most automatic sprinkler controllers today are mufti-programmable and have the ability to water different areas at different times, and at different frequencies. Make sure your sprinkler system does not hit your spa or its wood accessories.
Typically your primary access from the house is tied to the existing wood, concrete, or masonry patio. Secondary access to or from a lawn area provides continuity between your house, spa, and yard.
Directly adjacent to the stairs transitioning to the lawn is a perfect spot for a flowerbed. Annuals and perennials can provide color throughout the year that changes with the seasons. This sort of accent helps to create a cozy, intimate atmosphere.
Creating a “stepping-stone” effect for the transition between spa decking and lawn area strengthens the continuity between your house and yard. Allowing the ground cover (i.e. turf, low growing grasses, moss, etc.) to grow between the stepping-stones blends the hard scape (decking) to the soft scape (lawn area). If you’re working with wood decking, redwood rounds make suitable stepping-stones. If you’re decking is masonry, then match the brick, flagstone, or tile.
Lawn and shrub areas are not possible in every application. For these situations there are many ways to create an inviting atmosphere. Here are just a few: patio coverings, arbors, built-in planter boxes, freestanding planters, potted plants, hanging baskets and additional water features such as fountains and waterfalls that are not attached to the spa.
Patio coverings range from very simple to complex. You can create different environments by selecting a particular type of wood, posts and lattice design, sealant, stain or paint. The amount of sunlight can be controlled by how close the spacing of the lattice is. Placing shade cloth (like the ones used in nurseries) under the lattice can generate a real “greenhouse” effect. Growing flowering and fragrant vines on the covering produces a very cozy atmosphere.
When utilizing freestanding planters and pots, the same three factors are important: soil, drainage and irrigation. Also, do not set the planter or pot directly on the decking. Place the planters on small lengths of wood such as 1″ by 1″ square stock to elevate the container from the deck slightly. This will allow air to flow around the container.
Hanging Baskets and Deck Plants
Hanging baskets can offer a variety of elements like color, fragrance, texture and interest. If you have a wall or screen of any kind in the area of your spa, hang several moss baskets (half baskets) of varying sizes on it just as you would hang pictures on your wall in the living room. When hanging moss baskets from the overhead structure (patio covering) always hang them at varying heights. Use different size and shape baskets whenever possible, too. Try not to hang the low ones where the traffic flow is heaviest. Planter boxes don’t have to have that “just stuck there” look. If you have them built-in, you can control their shape and size. Be sure to make them wide enough and deep enough to sustain the root system of the plantings you have planned. Grouping your planters together in a tiered fashion can be very effective for creating depth in areas of limited space. Three things are very important for planter box installations: soil, drainage and irrigation. Mini and micro spray irrigation (also known as drip irrigation) is the most popular for limited space applications.
Other water features like fountains, Koi ponds, and waterfalls not only add atmosphere, but interest as well. Incorporate greenery surrounding water features whenever possible.
Incorporate lighting to add ambiance in your new area. Post lights and recessed deck lighting can give a warm inviting look to your deck and/or spa area.
At Backyard Dreamscapes
We are here to help you every step of the way, from planning and building to service, Backyard Dreamscapes has you covered!
“We Turn Your Backyard Into Your Own Vacation Spot”
611 Rexford Dr.
San Antonio TX, 78216