Ultimate Swim Spa Installation Guide 2023

Posted by Nick Clamp in Installing a swim spa on 21st July 2023

Not sure where to start when it comes to creating our very own swim spa Shangri-la in your back garden?

Unless you’re a swim spa aficionado, pool engineer, or landscape gardener, the prospect of installing a swim spa correctly and making sure it complements the rest of your property can be daunting.

Follow this simple step-by-step guide to ensure your swim spa installation runs as smoothly as possible, from the first step to the last, and if you’re looking for inspirational swim spa installation ideas, be sure to check out our dedicated guide!

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Do your Homework

swim spa installation
Photo © MySpa

First comes the fun part – picking your swim spa!

Before you do anything else, grab some string or tape to measure up the spot you have in mind for the placement of your spa and find out how much space you have available for your shiny new swim spa.

You then can discount swim spas that will be too big at the start of your search, helping you narrow down your options from the off.

If you want quick access to top-quality information then simply follow the steps in our expert swim spa buying guide, but if you have the time to wait 3-5 days for delivery, be sure to request a FREE copy of the latest WhatSwimSpa? magazine to find the perfect model for you from our 30 best buy awarded models sold across the UK.

Be sure to pay special attention to:

  • Finding a WhatSwimSpa? approved swim spa retailer that offers full delivery and installation (giving a wide berth to any supplier that only offers kerbside delivery).
  • Picking the perfect swim spa for your unique needs and tastes.
  • Taking a few of your favourites for a wet test.
  • Sticking to the five steps to getting the best deal on your swim spa of choice.

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Types of Swim Spa Installations:

There are around 6 main popular types of installation when it comes to swim spas, so it’s important you get a good look at each type to get a feel for how you’d like your spa to look and feel.

We’ll also share some more creative installation options just in case they inspire any creative ideas!

Completely Above Ground

Photo © Aquavia

Above Ground In-Deck

Photo © Thermals Spa

Semi-Sunken / Recessed Outdoors

Photo © WhatSpa?

Semi-Sunken / Recessed Indoors

Photo © Aquavia

Fully Sunken / Recessed Outdoors

Photo © USSPA

Fully Sunken / Recessed Indoors

Photo © Cabin Master

Above Ground in Housing

Photo © Catalina Spas

Above Ground in Stone

Photo © Thermals Spa

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Pick the Perfect Position

Photo © North Spas

Just because you can slot a swim spa into a section of your garden doesn’t mean you should

Be sure to leave enough clearance between the sides of your swim spa and any surrounding walls so you can get in and out safely and comfortably, we recommend a gap of at least two feet. You should also make sure your swim spa is further than three metres away from any overhead power cables.

It’s also well worth considering whether the spot you have in mind provides privacy from the neighbours. And if it doesn’t, think about how feasible it would be to install some privacy screens or grow some plants to make the area more secluded.

How’s the view from the plot you’ve picked out? Think about what you’ll be looking out onto when you’re soaking in your spa’s hot tub section –and whether another location might provide more scenic surroundings. 

It’s also well worth considering the route you’ll have to take from your house to the swim spa. The closer the swim spa is located, the more likely you are to use it – especially in the depths of winter. Plus, a clean path from your back door to your swim spa’s steps will mean grass, gravel, and soil won’t get dragged into your swim spa on mucky feet.

If you have children, it’s important for safety’s sake that you can easily see your swim spa from the rest of the garden and your house, something that can often be achieved with an in-ground installation that allows for easy viewing.

And if you can help it, you should avoid placing your swim spa underneath any trees in your backyard, or else you’ll spend quite a bit of time scooping dead leaves and debris out of it instead of focusing on fitness and relaxation.

It’s also ideal if there’s an outdoor tap and hose pipe within reach of your swim spa installation site so it can be easily filled, as well as a nearby drain you can empty it out into when it comes time to give it a deep clean.

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Plan your Landscaping

Photo © MySpa

It’s also important to keep in mind how your swim spa is going to change the look and feel of your garden at this stage.

Think about what you’ll be using the space for. For example, you might tuck your spa out of the way in-ground or partially in-ground if you only want to use it for serious training, whereas you might choose to make it the focal point of your outdoor space with an above-ground installation if you’re planning on regularly entertaining people outdoors.

And don’t forget the possibility of installing an inground swim spa indoors if you fancy the benefits of year-round use of your spa no matter the weather.

Once you’re clear on this, be sure to ask yourself:

  • Do you want the swim spa area hidden or visible? 
  • How easy is it to get power to the area? 
  • How easy will it be to drain the wet area?
  • How do you want to link the area with the rest of the garden? 
  • Will noise from the area cause a problem with neighbours? 
  • Is lighting or rain protection required?

No matter what you want from your swim spa, there are a few common mistakes you should be sure to avoid when it comes to landscaping, including:

  • Avoid surrounding your swim spa with gravel or grass, or it’s almost certain to get transferred into the water from your feet and cause potential problems with the jets and vents.
  • Avoid slippery or rough paving and instead opt for top-quality wood decking that doesn’t splinter easily.
  • Avoid planting herbaceous or deciduous plants around your swim spa, or else you’ll constantly be dragging the leaves they shed into the water. 
  • Avoid colours, materials and styles that clash with the rest of your garden and make style choices that will link the area with the wider space instead. 
  • Avoid doing your own landscaping and hire a professional if you want a flawless finish that will transform the section of your garden with your swim spa into a stylish retreat.

Another landscaping decision you should make early doors is whether you’d like your swim spa sunken into the ground. This will require ground excavation, which will mean it will take longer and cost more to install your swim spa. However, it will lead to an incredibly stylish finish.

It’s well worth asking your swim spa dealer to recommend a landscape gardener or architect. Not only will they be familiar with designing spaces with swim spas in mind, but if they have a good relationship with the retailer things are likely to go a lot more smoothly, meaning a lot less headaches for you.

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Get the Foundations in Place

Photo © Ergo Group

A swim spa can weigh up to ten tonnes at max capacity. So, it goes without saying that it’s imperative you install it on a flat and sturdy foundation that’s built to last. 

Skip this vital step and you’re putting your family in harm’s way and risking damaging your swim spa. 

Concrete Pad

If you opt to install your swim spa on a concrete pad or concrete slab, make sure it’s a completely level surface, steel reinforced, and at least 4 – 6″ inches thick. This ensures that there will be no problems down the line related to water flow and drainage.


If you decide to place it on decking, the cross-members supporting the deck should be at least 6” x 2” and no more than 18” apart. The supporting upright posts should be at least 4” x 4” and concreted under the spa for extra stability.

You should definitely determine the deck’s maximum load capacity before deciding whether or not to install your swim spa on the decking, we thoroughly recommend talking to a contractor or structural engineer, something that many dealerships will be familiar with.

Partially / Fully Sunken

As mentioned previously, for half-half installations or partially / fully sunken swim spa installations that are lowered into the ground, you’ll need a pit constructed with a concrete base and supportive block or brick side walls.

It will also be essential to ensure there’s adequate drainage in the pit for overspills, rain, and groundwater to drain away – otherwise your spa might suffer flood damage.

The same applies to access into the pit, as it’s hugely important that a licensed electrician has enough space and enough room for easy access to the spa’s cabinet for any future servicing as well as configuring all electrical requirements on delivery day.

Indoor Installation

A swim spa installation indoors can offer a whole host of benefits if you have a suitable space e.g., a large garage or conservatory, including cheaper running costs due to your home’s insulation, guaranteed year-round use, and it can actually be cheaper to get started when compared to the costs of some outdoor installations.

Installing a swim spa indoors does have its own set of challenges, however, including:

  • You will need to ensure that the ceiling height is suitably high, especially if you are installing your swim spa above ground.
  • To properly maintain your swim spa, it’s important to periodically drain it. We recommended having a drain installed in the wet room of choice that can handle the volume of water in a swim spa.
  • Since water can be splashed and gathered around the spa during use, you’ll need to install adequately grippy flooring materials e.g., rubber wet room flooring, that provides a high level of traction when wet.
  • Due to the moisture that can be released from the spa indoors, installing ample ventilation is a must to avoid damaging furniture and home materials that might become damp. A large dehumidifier or humidistat-controlled exhaust fan will usually do the trick, and to prevent evaporation, ensure you heat your room to around 26°C or 80°F (around the temperature your spas water will be set).
  • Indoor installations will also require a proper floor drainage system, so be sure to plan that into the design of your room.

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Get Wired

Your swim spa doesn’t need to be hooked up to a permanent water supply, but it does need a suitable electrical supply to run the equipment. 

Under the ‘Part P’ law introduced in January 2005, electrical work in UK households has to be carried out by a ‘competent’ person by law. So, make sure you have all your swim spa electrics done by a fully qualified and Part P-registered electrician.

Most WhatSwimSpa? approved swim spa showrooms will be able to recommend a trustworthy local electrical contractor who understands the ins and outs of installing a swim spa, so be sure to ask the supplier you go with for their recommendation. 

An electrician that has seen it all before when it comes to fitting a swim spa is worth their weight in gold, as they’ll need to meet a number of strict requirements to ensure your spa is up to code.

Be sure to go with a sparkie that knows swim spas inside and out for peace of mind that it’s going to be wired safely and to the letter of the law. 

Once your swim spa is wired, filled, and working, your electrician will need to conduct a few tests to ensure it’s Part P compliant. Then they’ll issue you with a Part P certificate, which it’s your legal responsibility to obtain.

Most swim spas run on 40 – 60 Amps of power, so be sure to check with your electrician that you have access to enough current. You should also check to see if any local regulations require permissions to be submitted to local councils in order to install electrical circuits and/or construct outdoor surfaces such as decks and gazebos in your town or city, just to be safe.

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The Site Survey

A WhatSwimSpa? recommended retailer will carry out a site survey at your home to walk you through everything you need to know for delivery day. They will also hold your hand throughout the whole process and work closely with landscapers and electricians to ensure the installation goes seamlessly.

It’s a big red flag if a dealership doesn’t offer a site survey, so think twice about going with any retailer that doesn’t.

Even if you think installing your swim spa is going to be a simple operation, be sure to get your supplier out to conduct a site survey within seven days of your purchase, as you’ll be entitled to a full refund if this reveals any unforeseen issues with the delivery process.

It’s important to note that, because of their sheer size and weight, swim spas need to be lifted into position by a hydraulic HIAB mounted to the delivery truck or a separate crane. A site survey is an essential step in getting clear on which you’ll need to go with so you can make the necessary arrangements.

Delivery Day

A swim spa delivery is a complicated process that can be very costly to put right if anything goes wrong – which is why it’s so crucial to pick a reputable dealership that’s handled hundreds of deliveries before.

Bear in mind that swim spas are large, heavy, and bulky items. If the spot you’re having your spa installed is easily accessible from the street then your dealer might just need to park the truck up and HIAB it into position – no crane needed. 

However, more often than not you will need to organise a crane delivery. If that’s the case, you can either opt for a contract lift or a crane hire

Opt for a contract lift and the crane company will be responsible for everything, including writing method statements and risk assessments, liaising with transport authorities for road closures, and providing a banksman and insurance cover. 

Crane hire is considerably cheaper but leaves you responsible (and liable) for the legal side of things.

We always recommend you opt for contract hire from a reputable local crane hire company, as the money you’ll save isn’t worth the risk if something goes wrong – not to mention the hassle of getting all the right paperwork in place.

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The Final Steps

Once your swim spa is delivered, installed, filled with water, and wired up to the electrical supply, the installation team will check that everything is fully operational before ‘handing it over’ to you by walking you through how all your new swim spa features work. 

Reputable dealers will fill your swim spa up for you and ensure the water is safe and balanced with the right water care products. They’ll also provide you with information about testing and maintaining the water quality and lead you through the process of balancing its pH levels before leaving you alone to enjoy your new swim spa.

Then all that’s left to do is get the champagne on ice and look forward to taking your brand new swim spa for a spin.

Stick to these steps to ensure your swim spa installation goes swimmingly and any costly mistakes are completely avoided.

Want help finding the best swim spa for you and your family? Get your completely FREE copy of the latest edition of WhatSwimSpa? today for expert advice on getting a great model at a fair price and our shortlist of the best swim spas across every price range with the WhatSwimSpa? Best Buy Awards.

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Find the Best Swim Spas across every price range with the 2023 WhatSwimSpa? Swim Spa Buyer’s Magazine.

The latest edition includes the latest WhatSwimSpa? Swim Spa Best Buy Awards to help you compare the top UK swim spa models, as well as our 40 Page UK Retail Directory that lists all of the WhatSwimSpa? Approved dealerships across the country!

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About the author

Nick Clamp

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 swim spas in 2005 and since then have dedicated my career to helping millions of hot tub and swim spa buyers to make more informed choices when navigating their buying journey.

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