Who do I need to help my hot tub dreams come true?
October 5, 2020 4:39 PM   Subscribe

I bought a house with a backyard this summer (yay!) The backyard currently has a number of raised beds filling the center of it; there are also beds around the perimeter. It's very pretty but does not leave room for my kid to play, and I have also always promised myself I'd get a hot tub when I bought a house. Who do I need to hire to make this happen?

I find myself confused about who I need to hire at the most reasonable cost to make this happen in a way that will be beautiful and improve (maybe) the value of my home.

Things I want to do:

(a) remove a few of the raised beds so that I have room to set up a playset, etc for my kiddo.
(b) have a concrete pad put down where a raised bed currently resides (or, mulch w/plants surrounded by logs)
(c) build out a small deck with stairs surrounding the hot tub so that i can walk directly on the pavers out to the hot tub
(d) move the irrigation around so that it is not underneath the hot tub; I assume if I put grass under the removed raised beds, the irrigation would still need to be in place. It's working great now even though I have no idea how it works.

I'm not even sure which order I need to do these in. Do I need to hire a landscape architect, or maybe just a landscaping firm? I was thinking I could just offer the raised beds on Craigslist for free and people might come take them away. I'm not that handy and I'm a solo parent working full time and COVID schooling my kid. But I also don't have a huge budget.

There's no HOA. The hot tub store was not helpful and felt like a used car dealership. I don't trust them even though they are very well known.

Advice? Thanks!
posted by betsbillabong to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You don't need a landscape architect. Any landscaping firm should be able to do all of this. It might even be a handyman kind of job... my yard guy for instance would do all of this except maybe the deck.

I wouldn't advertise anything free on Craigslist that involves strangers coming onto your property and removing stuff. I've just seen too many horror stories about nice people getting really screwed that way... people can be very thoughtless, and often larcenous.

Hot tubs generally need to be plugged into an electrical source (usually but not always 240v), is there one nearby?
posted by fingersandtoes at 4:50 PM on October 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

You can bag garden soil in contractor bags (1/2 full, it's heavy), and offer curbside pickup on CL. I'd probably have the existing beds made taller and use the soil that way. I might have a landscaper do a sketch to make it the best design possible. Then a small-time builder should be able to do the work. Get references and verification of their insurance.
posted by theora55 at 5:07 PM on October 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: For the installation part, talk to your local spa store and they'll educate you on process. We got a "free" spa from a friend (spas are free like puppies are free), but still spent a few $k on slab, electrical, moving, crane to get it in the back yard, permits, and a bit of refurb. We used a contractor for the slab & electrical (possibly overkill?), and the spa moving & crane provider were referred via the spa store.
posted by troyer at 5:12 PM on October 5, 2020

Best answer: Hot tubs generally need to be plugged into an electrical source (usually but not always 240v), is there one nearby?

Any hot tub past the inflatable level generally requires a special dedicated circuit right from your panel. The cable is large and therefor not cheap so it can be a factor in placement (closer to the panel is better). Having said that there are lots of options for running the power underground so you aren't restricted to having the tub right next to the house if you don't want it there.

The spa company I worked for did all their own physical spa installs contracting out crane service if needed and the electrical work when I wasn't there. Is there only one spa company in town? Are there other companies maybe an hour away or a town over? There are many different spa manufacturers, most companies only deal with a couple different lines and they offer different options so it's not unheard of to not shop hyper locally. We did a lot of business because we actually had women working in both sales and maintenance areas which wasn't the case for some of our competitors. If your profile location is accurate I'd think there would be lots of companies whose service area you live in. Heck here even Costco and Home Depot sell spas and can arrange for installation.

You can hire either a company that does all the construction work or act as your own GC. I for example would do the electrical myself ('cause that's what I do) but I'd hire two different contractors to place/finish the concrete and to build the deck. Irrigation would be handled by yet a third company that basically just does irrigation.

If the soil in the raised beds is in good shape and it's possible to drive a truck into your back yard I'd at least try to give it away, it'll save you quite a bit of money. Or depending on what the soil is like your landscaping people (or you could DIY, all you need is a shovel, rake and wheelbarrow) might be able to just spread it around your lawn like a top dressing. A cubic metre of soil in a raised bed only raises 100 sq metres by a little over a centimetre (1 cubic yard/1000 sq feet/ half an inch).
posted by Mitheral at 5:44 PM on October 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

Just chiming back in to say I have a hot tub that plugs into a 110v circuit. Not inflatable, but also not "installed" -- I can drain it and roll it out of the way if I need to. It just sits on a slab. The disadvantage is that over time you spend somewhat more on electricity, according to what I've read. But it's not onerous, and it's entirely adequate.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:47 PM on October 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

If you know exactly what you want and can draw it out or mark it out, and choose your own materials, a landscape contractor will be sufficient. If you have the budget and desire for someone to really help you get the design right, a landscape architect or designer will be a better first step (they will have a contractor they work with). If your house is worth more than $1M, hire a firm that has a landscape designer or architect.
posted by amaire at 7:37 PM on October 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all! For better or worse, my house is not worth more than $1M.

I will turn to landscapers friends have used first, and see what they can do.

I am aware of the 220V and in my climate it is highly recommended. One of my real goals is to soak my way through the winter pandemic, so I'll be bringing the electrician out.

Hopefully I can find one firm that can do it all, including the concrete work!
posted by betsbillabong at 3:28 PM on October 22, 2020

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