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Decking Out Your Hot Tub

Creating a built-in look

A growing trend among hot tub owners is to streamline backyard design by making the hot tub appear built-in. The most popular way to do this is with decking around the spa.

When planning to install a deck around your hot tub, be sure to think about several underlying factors including price, size and placement. You also want to think about how the deck will modify the look of your house and if the new addition will affect your neighbors.

It is also is important to figure out the rules and regulations from your homeowners’ association and your city, since you will need to be within compliance. Some cities may require you to obtain a permit before any building begins so it is important to make all the necessary calls.

Price Point

Start with determining a budget. This will keep you organized, help determine what you can afford and decide the size and materials to use for your deck. Generally, pricing of your new structure is determined in relation to its size and materials.

Also, consider add-ons for your deck such as steps, railings, staining, lighting and furniture when looking at your budget. By outlining your costs, you will stay on track.

Location

Placement of your deck is important; you want it to be built where you will get the most use out of it. Decks do not have to be flush against the house. Instead, choose an area that fits your needs best. When incorporating your hot tub into your deck plans, utilize the 10-step rule of thumb: If the hot tub is not within 10 steps of your back door, you probably won’t use it as much. So, when mapping out your backyard deck design, be sure your hot tub is located where you will use it most often.

Remember through, if the space is constantly in the shade or sunlight, you probably will only use it when weather permits, so design a deck that includes both sunny and shaded spots. For shade, use your backyard to your advantage and work already standing trees into your deck design. However, be sure that the tree is healthy and has room to continue to grow. You also want to be sure the tree won’t drop debris into the hot tub when it’s in use or uncovered, as that can make it harder to keep the water chemistry balanced. Other structures that can be added to your plan to provide shade are pergolas, verandas or gazebos, which can provide privacy for your hot tub as well.

Navigating Hiccups

Sometimes, when designing plans for your outdoor space, you’ll run into natural elements including terrain changes and difficult soil conditions. Often though, you can turn these hindrances into part of your design. With terrain changes, for example, you can add tiered levels to your deck design. These will accommodate for elevation and could create a more intricate or appealing design. However, take note when building a multilevel structure of where water runoffs are located; the last thing you want to do is place your hot tub on a lower level beneath the upper level drainage areas.

Your backyard’s soil could be another potential obstacle. If you have loose soil, it is possible that you will have to reinforce it at the bottom with concrete footing. Loose soil erodes quickly, and it could cause your deck to be unstable if not properly reinforced. Clay soil, on the other hand, might cause more water problems, since water runs off the clay’s surface quickly. A drainage system may have to be added to divert the water away from the deck. It is also important to think of the decking material in these situations; using a product that is treated for stain and water resistance may be worth considering.

The planning process for a new deck for your hot tub takes time, but it is well worth it for an amazing outdoor space in the end. Find a contractor who will listen to your vision and works well with you for the best results.

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