Use my planning tips, design ideas and inspirational pictures to build your hot tub pergola. I came to the conclusion that the best and the cheapest way to build one is to buy a kit and assemble it yourself. The cost of building a pergola from scratch is very close to the price of a kit – see my cost comparison below. So I suggest you make your next DIY project assembling a pergola over a hot tub from a kit!
The Benefits of Having Pergola Above Hot Tub
Think about the pergola over a tub as a structure that will serve as a base for adding all kinds of amenities and fixtures that will enhance the look and feel of this spa oasis you’re creating. And a wooden pergola would be the best choice as it’s the most customizable.
By adding a pergola over tub, you’ll be able to:
- Install an overhead screen or a canopy, even a retractable canopy
- Hang curtains
- Create more privacy by adding side panels
- Have a solid roof to protect you and your tub from the elements
- Create shade over tub by installing a shade sail
- Have a bar attached to a pergola
- Make your tub a sunken tub, for easy access
- Hang lights and/or a fan
- Add seating around the tub
- And finally, create a place for total relaxation
Of course, you’ll be adding value to your home. There is something about pergolas that make a patio, deck or garden look more attractive, cozier.
Is it Cheaper to DIY or Build a Pergola from a Kit?
I answer this question by comparing cost estimates for homemade and premade pergolas, basically a from-scratch DIY vs. a purchased kit.
For comparison, I considered this highly reviewed, inexpensive 10×10 Pergola Kit from Home Depot, made from cedar (see image below). It retails for $1,144.44 (kit) + $92.84 (4 anchors) = $1,236.84 (your total expense before tax).
Now let’s create a material spec for a similar size and design DIY cedar pergola that you could have built yourself from a free plan.
Note: Please realize, this is a bulk estimate, as lumber prices fluctuate depending on location and availability. Though I tried to get the boards’ lengths as close as possible to those in the kit, some boards may not be available at the time of construction or at certain zip codes.
We will need the following materials.
COST ESTIMATE FOR WOOD PERGOLA 10x10
- 4 posts 4x4x8 – (2) 2-Pack’s Cedar Fence Posts – 2 x $88.04 = $176.08
- 16 beams and rafters 2x6x12 (8 beams, 7 rafters, plus 1 for 8 corner ribs) – Premium S4S Cedar Lumber – 16 x $43.57 = $697.12
- 12 louvers 2x2x8 – Premium S4S Cedar Lumber – 12 x $10.98 = $131.76
- 4 post anchors – Set of 4 Bolt-Down Brackets – $92.84
- bolts ($1 each or more – I figured you would need around 48 blots) – 48 x $1 = $48 at least
- nuts (a pack of 100 nuts) – $10
- 1 gal (at the minimum) – Waterproofing Exterior Wood Stain and Sealer – $37.98
Your Total cost: $1,183.78
We got close, with the DIY pergola even costing $40 more ($1,236.84 – $1,183.78) than a kit. So is it really worth it to build it from scratch? Not in my opinion. Of course, you could build one with pine for cheaper. But it’s not going to be the same. Plus you need to spend time cutting all of the components to size, possibly making those cool-looking rafter tails, and shopping for lumber.
With all that, I believe that the larger the pergola the more sense it makes to DIY it. But for something like 10×10 or 12×12, it definitely looks like going with a kit is more efficient.
The Benefits of Using Hot Tub Pergola Kits
With most kits, you get a video and step-by-step assembly instructions, plus customer support. The latter is very beneficial as you’ll get many questions answered by professional folks whose specialty is installing pergolas.
Another great benefit of this option is that you may be able to find a kit with some additional features already included, such as a bar, a privacy enclosure, a retractable canopy, etc. All you have to do is assemble it. Saves you the hassle of trying to figure out how to plan, design, and build all that.
One more is that, depending on a kit manufacturer, you may get included in the price all of those decorative wooden details and sometimes even decorative hardware that cannot be DIY-ed or obtained in the hardware store.
Since we believe the kit is the best pergola building choice option, we decided to put the focus of this guide mainly on kits.
Below is one good example of how a standard kit can be customized to create a truly unique hot tub privacy enclosure.
The image above shows assembling pergola over hot tub from a kit purchased at Menards. See all Menards freestanding pergola kits here. This was a DIY project. They assembled and installed a kit and then added a custom privacy enclosure of their own making. Interesting design idea!
More Common Questions Answered
Let me try to answer some important questions right away.
How can I make my hot tub look nice?
One of the easiest ways to improve the look of your hot tub is to integrate it into the landscaping. A simple solution would be to build a pergola over it.
Think about it. Once you have a wooden structure built above your tub, you can then add planters with climbing vines, attach trellises that will provide much-needed shade in summer. Include other decor accents like a fun wooden sign, lights, or weather-resistant lanterns. Hang textured fabric curtains – it will lend a welcoming ambiance to your “spa”.
You can enclose the roof by installing a sail shade, a tin roof, wood planks or pergola roof panels. You can even make that roof from clear plastic sheets so the sunlight still gets through. Or you could install a lattice enclosure around the tub for more privacy. You can even hang a fan for hot summer nights. Wouldn’t your hot tub look nice with all that?
How much does a pergola kit cost?
Several factors determine the total cost of hot tub pergola kits including the type of material (wood, vinyl, PVC, metal, fiberglass), size (8×8, 10×10, 12×10, 12×12), and features (sailcloth roof, lattice side panels, built-in bench, built-in bar). High-end pergola kits can start at $10,000 and go as high as $21,000. Taking a standard pergola kit without additional features into account, the table below will give you an idea of the general cost involved.
|Frame Material||Average Cost Per Foot||Average Cost of 10 ft x 10 ft Pergola Kit|
|Alumawood (metal looks like wood)||$9 to $25||$900 to $2,500|
|Vinyl/PVC||$6 to $25||$600 to $2,500|
|Aluminum||$10 to $30||$1,000 to $3,000|
|Pine||$7 to $30||$700 to $3,000|
|Cedar||$13 to $35||$1,300 to $3,500|
|Redwood||$25 to $50||$2,500 to $5,000|
Cost Data Sources: Google Search, eBay, Home Depot, Wayfair, Walmart and Target.
How much does Home Depot charge to install a pergola?
Googling this question comes back with statements like these. For a basic 10-by-10 pergola, expect to pay up to $500 for labor. For high-end pergola installations, it can be anywhere from $750 to $1,000. I have my doubts. It should be less, I would think. But then again … Waifair.com charges $499.99 for installation, so HD maybe offering a comparable charge. We included a link for Home Depot Pergola Installation in your specific area. Call them! These prices mentioned above may include permits and measurement fees.
How much does it cost to build a 12×12 pergola?
With today’s availability, your choices are unlimited. A manufacturer on the West coast will ship a kit to your East coast home. Kits at online stores start at $1,500, specialty builders will have a $3,000 – 4,000 starting price. These days, the prices are all over the place – shop for the most affordable ones online. You can find a solid roof wooden 12×12 pergola (also referred to as a pavilion) for around $2,000, and that is with free shipping! Would be perfect for a tub.
How high should a pergola be over a hot tub?
Here’s my take on it. You need to be able to stand beneath it while in the tub. If it’s an in-ground tub, you will want the height of the pergola to be a minimum of 7.6 feet. However, when the tub is above-ground, you will need to know its inside height (from the ground to the bottom of the tub) plus your height plus another two feet, to make it safe for tall people. Also, take into account any overhead features you want to include as part of the roof such as a fan or a chandelier. A standard hot tub pergola height range is 8 feet to 11 feet. I suggest you call your local permit issuing department, to get a more specific dimension.
Should a hot tub be under a roof?
It’s not really necessary as most tubs come with a cover. However, a roof such as a pergola roof adds privacy and style, generating a spa oasis kind of feel. Making a pergola large enough to fit the tub, plus some cushy seating, maybe even a bar or a grill creates a dreamy outdoor space.
Does a pergola add value to a home?
In the last five years, pergolas have become very popular because they are a relatively simple way to create privacy and provide shade in a backyard. Anything such as a pergola hot tub combo will add market value to your home because outdoor living amenities are appealing to home buyers.
How to Plan for Building a Pergola Over a Hot Tub
There is plenty of hot tub under pergola ideas. But before you build, you need to plan. Whether you plan a DIY pergola or to build one from a kit, here are several factors to consider.
1. Do you have or want a sunken tub or a free-standing one?
If you have a sunken tub with built-in steps, the center of the pergola roof should be positioned above the center of the in-ground tub. Or maybe you just want to build a bench surrounding your tub. You need room for that. Any additional features such as a privacy fence will need to be attached or integrated into the pergola’s structure. With such designs, you would want to install a tub first and then build a pergola over it.
When the tub is above-ground, then you will need free-standing steps, to climb up into the tub. But similar considerations as to installing a pergola over a sunken hot tub also apply to the above-ground installations – the mid-point of the roof should line up with the mid-point of the tub, allowing enough room for additional amenities and people to walk.
Do you already have a deck with a sunken tub and now want to add a pergola over it? Then it would simply be a matter of installing the pergola on a deck.
Whether you have a sunken or above-ground hot tub on a deck, patio, or cement slab, you will need to know in advance where the footings will be placed. You might need more than four footings (one for each corner of the pergola) if pergola design plans include certain types of privacy fences or features such as a bench in need of additional stability and support.
2. The size of the pergola
When determining the size of the pergola, there are three main options to consider:
- You can build a small pergola that will only fit your tub. This is the least expensive option that will provide the desired comfort and coziness. Check out our Small Hot Tub Pergola Ideas section.)
- You can build a larger pergola that will allow for a decking area around your sunken tub to serve as seating and provide space for a built-in bar. See the Hot Tub Pergola with Bar Ideas section for inspirational images.
- You can build an over-sized pergola that will also house a seating patio area, a grill, and a fire pit, all under its roof. (See examples below.)
3. The roof design options
There are a few things to consider when choosing the type of pergola roof. You want to include the landscaping (blend in or stand out), other structures in the backyard (shed, garage, the house), and the purpose of the pergola (privacy, shade, or sun but protected from UV rays. There are different distinctive roof design options (see the Hot Tub Pergolas with Roof Designs section) – considering these elements will help you to decide. A pergola roof can be:
- A canopy or a shade sail
- A solid wooden or metal or clear plastic roof
- A standard pergola roof – purlins placed over rafters and rafters over beams
- Slats only – slats all over, for both the roof and the sides. Here’s one great idea and a free plan – How to Build a Slat Wood Pergola.
4. The construction material
Well, obviously if you’re building it yourself (DIY), then wood will be your material of choice. And you’ll be free to add any additional elements to it. Also, wood would be the best idea as woods such as cedar, pine, and fir bring warmth and a natural ambiance to your landscaping.
Other construction options include building it from a metal, vinyl or fiberglass kit. However, customizing it to your personal preferences will be limited. See the design ideas for Metal Hot Tub Pergolas.
5. Privacy options
You can build a full pergola (a rectangular or square structure with at least 4 posts) and add as many sides to it as needed to create full privacy. Depending on the location of the tub, you might need only one privacy screen or partial privacy wall. You could use latticework or trellises to do that. See Ideas for Hot Tub Pergola with Privacy Enclosure.
You can create a privacy enclosure with only a partial, two post pergola. See examples below.
6. The pergola design
The right pergola design for you and your home will transform your hot tub experience. You will need to decide the following:
- The purpose of the pergola – shade, aesthetics, or an area for both soaking and entertaining
- Pergola height and size
- Its shape – there are some interesting ideas for corner installations. See Hot Tub Corner Pergola Design Ideas section.
7. The design style
It might not seem particularly important to choose a design style. But when the style of the different elements of your backyard complements one another, harmony is created. Selecting a specific design also lets you express yourself. To choose a design style focus on the purpose of the pergola and the color of your home’s exterior.
It can be a traditional design – think timeless, elegant, or classic.
It can be a modern pergola, defined by clean lines, tinted glass, and cutting-edge materials textured metals and fiberglass.
Or you can even go with a rustic pergola idea, a style that features natural elements such as tree knots, twig ends and bark. Cedar and pine are the most common construction materials for rustic style pergolas.
Ideas and Inspirational Images (categorized by Design Features)
Now, let’s showcase some of the best design ideas.
1. Hot Tub Pergola with Bar Ideas
Notice how many great features this design has. The solid wood roof and with skylights! The lattice wall for privacy, and the bar! Plus the matching wood on the tub. Decorated with flowers, this is one of the best kits we could find, and it’s easily upgradable. The pergola appears to be made from cedar. Source
The above pergola of a simple design looks gorgeous thanks to the Ornamental Wood Ties manufactured by OZCO.
The kit includes a bar and makes the most of the available space on a deck. The top beams are close enough to provide limited shade. The use of contrasting colors of wood and green retro bar stools creates visual interest.
Shown above is a small 8′ x 8′ Cedar Pergola Spa Shelter Kit from OLT. For its small size, it sure provides a great amount of entertainment, with features like a built-in bench with a backrest and a built-in bar. This outdoor hot tub pergola is made from cedar. Buy it here.
Cedar is always aesthetically pleasing to look at, especially red cedar, as shown here. The rectangular pergola design includes a solid roof, two-sided slatted privacy screen and open slatted built-in bar. Plus, a wide hot tub spa step. Source
This beautiful wood pergola is packed with luxury features. The bar area is fully functional with a serving area inside and an outside countertop with bar stools for hanging out. The roof has clear panels, sliding glass doors, and a lift-up side panel. The hot tub can be fully enclosed for complete privacy when the doors are closed and the side panel is down. From Crown Pavilions in the UK.
The best hot tub pergolas are the ones that enhance your patio or deck. This 9×9 Naramata Spa Shelter, a square cedar design with a cedar shake roof, is small but has amenities such as a built-in bar and skylight. The kit is offered for $3,449 (sale price) at Outdoor Living Today.
This particular freestanding pergola (image above) is designed with hot tubs in mind. It has a metal roof with a skylight and includes adjustable side louvers, a bar counter, and bar stools. The kit is available from bchomeleisure.com.
2. Pergola with Sides Ideas
Nothing creates an outdoor room in which to relax like a pergola with sides. The solid pergola roof protects the tub and its users from the elements. The three sides of the pergola are half lattice, half louvered (fixed) panels. The diamond latticework pattern allows light into space while the solid part of the privacy screen keeps out prying eyes.
This structure by Prairie Cedar (located in Alberta, Canada) is a nice example of a hot tub pergola with enclosed sides for privacy that lets in light while providing some shade. The pergola height is approximately 10 feet. Lattice screening on two sides of the pergola addresses any wind issues.
Wow, what a true spa oasis, with a sunken tub right in the middle (image above). This pergola design with a privacy fence creates a lovely space that is intimate and relaxing. Pergola size provides plenty of space for sitting and entertaining. Cedar construction gives the design a refreshing appearance.
This wood pergola from Timberlodge has two privacy walls and two sides composed of folding glass doors that allow guests to enjoy the backyard view. A solid pergola roof with a skylight lets the light in, for a totally private hot tub enjoyment.
We love the louvers on this pergola design (see image above) that fits snugly over the tub. A perfect addition to a deck, fixed louvers are paired with slat panels on the bottom half of the privacy screen. The back wall made of slat panels adds even more privacy. From Timberlodge.
This cedar wood pergola is the perfect backyard focal point because of its contrasting dark and natural stains. Its solid roof is given extra support. Carriage-style lamps add that little finishing touch while hooks increase the space’s functionality. The tub is built into a wooden surround that can serve as sitting or as storage space.
From Timberlodge located in the UK, this is a 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) square hot tub garden pergola. The light and open feel is created by diamond latticework and a hipped roof with clear plastic coverings. One slat panel on each side includes a built-in planter. Source
3. Ideas with Curtains
The lines of this modern style pergola are softened with curtains hung from metal rods. Hot tub users can control how much privacy they want at any given time. A flat roof protects from the elements. Image source.
From Beachcomber Hot Tubs (Ontario, Canada), this 11×11 (feet) pergola kit comes with curtains for privacy and insect screens to keep out pests. It has a metal roof and a skylight.
Curtains can be used for decoration or privacy. Here they bring color into space. Add colored lights for a touch of whimsy.
The stunning pergola was featured on “Don’t Sweat It”, an HGTV home improvement show (not currently running). The makeover team turned this backyard into a romantic getaway with a covered hot tub and chic sheer outdoor curtains for extra privacy. The cedar wood flooring around the tub and steps add natural beauty to space. Source
Shown above is a DIY pergola over a hot tub by Savannah. Done on a small budget, this rustic style patio idea comes with a diamond pattern lattice roof and see-through curtains.
4. Rustic Pergola Kits
This is a DIY kit that can be obtained on eBay. Can you believe it? From TimberTeam in the UK, the rustic style hot tub pergola is made from logs and wood boards (pine/spruce).
And they even sell this on eBay as a kit. Advertised as a hot tub pergola building kit. Wow! This impressive rustic style design includes large log columns and beams. Open slat roof circulates air and light. Source
5. Modern Designs
This modern minimalist pergola design was spotted at limainteriordesign.com. Located in the garden, a spectacular custom-built outdoor wellness unit complete with a sauna, a shower and a cooling Jacuzzi has been designed.
This modern pergola perfectly fits over the tub. Create the charm and functionality of a day spa with a compact yet stylish pergola. The back privacy wall provides ample space for shelves, hooks and a clock. The roof is made with clear plastic to keep the rain out and the light in. Source
Here’s a design idea we really like – an extended sauna house or a garden room roof becomes a pergola roof over a hot tub. From iSauna in Hungary, it’s made from wood and tempered glass windows (complete dimensions on the website). Source
Two different sized pergolas, sharing a back wall, are positioned perpendicularly (L-shaped) – one pergola over the hot tub; the other over a lounge seating. Source
Shown above is a cool contemporary pergola enclosing a hot tub. The crisp, streamlined lines of the charcoal frame and sides create an intimate yet roomy atmosphere. The grid-style roof with clear panels opens up the space. Designed by Miller Patios.
This custom-built oversized tub pergola is the epitome of modern style – clean lines, crisp edges, and architectural detail. It lets in plenty of light with folding glass doors and a glass roof. Glass paired with a medium-dark stained frame emphasizes the floor-to-ceiling design. Source
6. Pergola with Canopy Idea
This budget friendly pergola design (image above) has a waterproof canopy hip roof. The frame is manufactured from pressure-treated wood and is 3m x 3m (9’9″ x 9’9″). Customizable with several options including side panels (shown here in white). Buy it here.
7. Ideas for Small Hot Tub Pergolas
The hot tub is placed on a multi-tiered deck under a simple small wooden pergola (see image above). Diamond accents on square pattern lattice sides seamlessly blend with the landscaping. One side has a built-in countertop and planters hang from two rafter ends.
A nice and simple design for a small hot tub pergola that is as practical as it is attractive (see image above). We like how the floor anchors are covered with decorative moldings to hide the hardware from sight. Boxes on either side of the tub double as a table for those in the tub and as seating for those who want to lounge by the tub. Built by Done to Spec near lake Sammamish, WA.
This outdoor oasis (aka outdoor man cave) starts with a small, simply designed pergola, built on a wooden deck. Decor includes a clock, but you can add features that express your own unique relaxing and entertaining style. The pergola’s gable roof with evenly spaced rafters creates a sense of height and openness above the hot tub. Image.
8. Privacy Enclosure Ideas
This hot tub is protected on either side but needs to be sheltered from curious neighbors on the other side of the house. Simple solution – attach a pergola with a lightweight corrugated plastic roof and a slotted privacy screen.
The DIY pergola idea shown above features wood privacy walls and a lift-up fixed louvered side panel. The bench provides seating on one side of the tub.
This simple, one-sided, two-post pergola is designed to add privacy to a built-in hot tub located on a stone-clad patio. Image.
For hot tub under pergola ideas, this one perfectly demonstrates how the feeling of a backyard sanctuary can be created. A standard pergola attached to the brick house includes a square pattern lattice enclosure and a raised built-in counter that serves as a bar.
This simple pine pergola is installed over an above-ground hot tub on a large wood deck. The diamond latticework panel not only provides extra privacy but it visually separates the tub area from the other parts of the deck around it. Image.
This privacy enclosure design, while not attached, uses an exterior wall of the house that gives the space a protected look. The over-sized pergola takes into account the different “zones” (hot tub, seating area) on the deck, making the trellis-style screen the focal point of the structure. Image.
9. Hot Tub Pergola with Roof Designs (wooden, metal, plastic)
This pergola over a large hot tub (shown above) has an extended wood mono-pitch roof supported by braces. Decorative elements include sliding glass doors, built-in planter boxes, and grooved posts. I could be wrong, but this design looks like something that would be available from Timberlodge.
Mix roofing materials to get the exact effect you want – cedar rafters attached to a custom aluminum grid with covered panels. This pergola design over a hot tub built into the deck and the beautifully rendered privacy panels make the space functional as well as stunning. This amazing idea is accomplished by Earthscape.
Just to show you what a little imagination can do, this kit is actually a greenhouse. But we loved the way it perfectly sheltered the hot tub, letting in light from above and around. And that gable roof with decorative finials and scallops on the roof ridge, it can be easily taken for a pergola. Source
This cedar pergola with a flat roof over the tub is durable, long-lasting, and versatile. Nice farmhouse style railings and arched braces give the design, installed on the wooden deck, a cottage country charm. Source
This beautifully executed idea (shown above) includes a hot tub pergola with a corrugated clear PVC roof, purlins, and decorative rafter tails. Both the tub and the pergola are built into a wooden deck. A nice lattice privacy enclosure completes the design. Source
Shown above is a cheap hot tub pergola kit with its own floor and sides, and it can be purchased on eBay.
10. Traditional Style Ideas
This traditional style wood pergola ticks all the right boxes with latticework screen accents, purlins, and decorative rafter tails. It is installed over a sunken tub on a deck that includes a fire pit.
This pergola has a classic arched roof design. While installed from a kit by Pergola Kits USA, posts were customized to perfectly fit the multi-level deck.
This oversized pergola houses a long list of amenities including a hot tub and a comfortable seating area in front of a fireplace. Available from foreverredwood.com.
When you buy a kit from Forever Redwood, you have an option to add a clear acrylic roof placed over lattice panels. For a bird’s eye view, see the image above.
Here’s one cool idea, also from Forever Redwood – the pergola is assembled with a built-in deck that surrounds the tub on three sides for easy access. Add wire deck railing for more visual impact. Forever Redwood is a sustainable company located in Annapolis, CA.
Nicely done by the guys at Waterscape Hot Tub & Pools (located in Ontario, Canada), this installation is a perfect setup. Notice how the iron railing fence actually goes through the posts on one side.
The Early American style is unique, known for ornamental carvings, raised panels and other decorative elements. From Western Timber Frame in Lehi, Utah, their Early American style pergola perfectly showcases this distinctive design style – dovetailed posts, interlocking mortise and tenon joints, and arched knee braces.
11. Metal Pergola Over Hot Tub Designs
Metal frame and metal roof boast a simple, straightforward hot tub pergola design idea, available through Oasis Hot Tub & Sauna. Notice the detached side handrail next to the steps for easy access.
What looks like a metal pergola is actually the Covana automated hot tub cover. See it in action at covana.com (it’s really cool). It comes with retractable side shades and some neat decor.
12. Hot Tub Pergola with Retractable Roof
This small cedar kit (8×8) from OLT is the perfect hot tub garden pergola. Wood steps and the retractable canopy complement the pergola roof’s simple yet dramatic design.
13. Corner Installation Ideas
Above is a cute idea courtesy of OZCO. A corner pergola fits the tub enclosed with latticework on two sides.
Cool corner design mounts decorative privacy pergola on multi-colored brick columns. The open slat sides and a standard pergola roof in a dark wood stain smartly contrast with the tan shades of the patio. Source
The above image shows how creative you can get. Positioning the tub in the corner of a deck maximizes the usable space. The two pergolas forming the corner only partially cover it, providing some shade while creating a welcoming open atmosphere. That beautiful wood bench is also a view to behold. This project is completed by M & M Builders, out of California.
14. White Pergola Kit
Check out this white beauty! This is a 25x19x19 Triangular Fiberglass Pergola Kit with lattice panels from Pergola Kits USA. Imagine all the privacy you could have.