Garden spas to transform your home

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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backyard spa in gazebo
Imagine this home spa only steps from your back door
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Garden spas can take your outdoor space from a yard to a garden retreat

Imagine coming home from a stressful day at work, and stepping outside to soak away the cares of the day in an elegant outdoor spa. Imagine spending lazy weekend days pampering yourself in a shady gazebo, surrounded by beautiful flowers and fragrant herbs. Imagine a home you never want to leave.

You can have all of those when you turn your plain-Jane yard into one of today's popular garden spas. And it's easier...and more affordable than you think. If you're tired to sharing hot tubs with strangers at the gym (yuck!), or paying the cost of a small car for a few days at a spa retreat, you're ready.

It begins with the water

There are many styles of garden spas, but all of them begin with water. A soothing, relaxing hot tub. A crystal clear resistance mini- lap pool. Or perhaps a grotto-style soaking pool that looks like you stumbled onto an island oasis.

Consider the space available in your yard, and select the water feature that works best for your home. For most people, a hot tub will be the most space-appropriate and easy to install. Or you can select two, or all three, if space and budget permits.

To cover or not to cover?

Most resort spas have some kind of cover of their hot tubs and soaking pools. That way, you can enjoy the water without baking in direct sun or having to duck raindrops. You can opt for a simple awning or fixed shade, or you can add style and beauty by installing your soaking pool or hot tub inside a gazebo, under a vine-covered arbor or even a classic Victorian folly.

Take a seat

It wouldn't be much of a garden spa if all you had was a water feature and a cover. After all, no one is going to want to spend all of their time in the water!

As you're planning your home spa, make sure you install an area for chairs, a lounge or two or perhaps a small outdoor table and chairs. If space and budget are tight, pretty garden benches can stand in for more relaxing seating for the time being.

Make sure the ground under the seating is decking, paved or poured. This isn't just a matter of appearance...you don't want muddy feet going in and out of your tub!

Lighting counts

There is probably nothing more relaxing that enjoying your spa in the evening, so make sure you plan for lighting, Consider illuminating the path from house to spa with energy-efficient solar powered lighting.

Lights on any steps, inside of the gazebo or any other structures and in seating areas are also essential to make your spa a welcome spot even after the sun goes down.

Decor and landscaping

The final touches are what will transform a gazebo or lap pool to into a magical garden spa experience.

Surround your spa area with a mix of flowers in different heights-- and don't forget to line the path from the house so you start to experience the spa feeling from the first step. Use larger plants to conceal any non-decorative structural elements.

And consider adding a mix of healing herbs to your spa area plantings. You can use them in rubs, as a way to scent your tub (in a bag or floating infuser, of course!) or simply enjoy their wonderful aromas as you relax.

Complete the spa experience with fluffy all-weather pillows, pretty but well-made blankets for chilly evenings, and of course a stack of extra-large spa towels.

And now relax

There are many ways to turn yards into garden retreats ... but building your very own spa is one you're sure to love for years to come.

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