Swim spa installation from start to finish

Looking for backyard design inspiration? This couple installed a swim spa in a deck on a sloping site and the resuls are stunning. Check out the finished installation and read their design and build story below.

Tony and Janine’s slice of bush-clad Nelson paradise is tucked neatly into the hill with expansive sea and mountain views.

It’s the place they’ve called home for 20-odd years and the place they’ve watched their three boys grow into men. Having renovated at various times, their home is now the perfect fit for their busy lifestyle.

The newest addition to their home is a Vortex Hydrozone™ swim spa, which fits legantly into the property’s aesthetic, creating a seamless integration from house to pool.

Watch: Start to finish swim spa installation

Opting for a swim spa satisfied Tony’s long-held desire for a pool and Janine’s love of a spa.

“I grew up with pools, and I’ve always wanted one for our property. I just could never quite find the right fit for us,” says Tony.

It was his cousin, a pool and spa salesperson, who suggested a swim spa could be just the thing.

“He said, ‘you can lay it out nicely. And realistically, if it doesn’t work for you, you can sell it, and you haven’t got a fixed concrete pool you’ve put in or a fibreglass pool that really has no commodity afterwards.’ And, if we decided to move and wanted to take it with us, we could.”

"Vortex™ swim spas come in a range of colour combinations. For their swim spa pictured above, Tony and Janine selected 'Gypsum' for the spa shell and 'Coastal Grey' for the cabinet."

Having decided on the swim spa, the next decision was how to integrate it into their outdoor space so it looked like it had always been there.

“Talking to Spa World was very helpful to ensure we were thinking about things we needed to do. Rather than going,‘here’s a pool for you,’ they said, ‘these are the things you need to consider.”

A great example is the advice Spa World gave Tony and Janine about sinking the spa into the ground.

“Initially, I wanted it flush-mounted to look just like an in-ground pool. I was quickly convinced it was better to set it up 500mm so you can sit on the edge and get yourself in and out much more easily.”

Fixing it in at all would still have meant serviceability issues due to the electronics and piping that need to be accessible.

“If something goes wrong with a pump, jet or light, you need to be able to get to those things,” says Tony.

Working with their builder, who is also a personal friend, Tony came up with an innovative solution that involved hinging the decking around the spa.

Because they’re on a slight slope, they could retain the back wall, sink the spa to the desired height and have 500mm visible above the decking.

The decking was then flush-mounted to almost a 100mm raise from the lawn, creating a short step up from the grass to the deck.

To be able to move the decking to access the spa, they hinged it to the retaining wall, allowing it to be lifted up when required.

This enables Tony to walk around inside the deck at pool height and take the panels off the spa to fix something if he needs to.

"The couple worked backwards from the expected spa delivery date to get their plans drawn up and consent from their local council."

“The other option was, any time we needed something done to the spa, we would have to empty it, crane it out, then put it back in, which is something we really didn’t want to do,” says Tony.

To ensure new plantings fitted in with the well-established garden, Tony and Janine created a structured garden design that utilised the existing, mature box hedge they’d planted years ago.

They also created a tropical ambience by using palms, Bird of Paradise and different tones of green. The finished result is a completely unified space that flows flawlessly from house to spa and out to the view beyond.

“We love it. We can sit on the edge of the spa and around the deck. It’s a very conversational atmosphere in the summertime, and it’s so nice to have a lovely setting that friends and family can come and enjoy.”

"The swim spa fits elegantly into the property’s aesthetic, creating a seamless integration from house to pool."

The entire project took three months. The couple worked backwards from the expected spa delivery date to get their plans drawn up and consent from their local council.

They realise they were lucky with that timeframe given the now much longer lead times thanks to COVID-related delays.

Tony is philosophical though, saying the extra time does give people the opportunity to plan properly.

“If you’re going to undertake a major excavation and do some heavy work, that all needs to be submitted to the council to make sure it’s all right. Even if you’re not, it’s not just ‘lift the spa into place, and she’s all good’.

“You also need to make sure your house has got the electrical capability required to power a swim spa. In our case, it meant modifying our switchboard and adding safety precautions should anything go wrong.”

Tony says their 8300-litre swim spa is reasonably energy-efficient, estimating it costs about $100 a month to run.

The spa has a dual zone, essentially a separate spa and swim spa in one.

The water in each of the two zones is kept entirely separate by an internal wall, enabling owners to set different jet pressures, water temperatures and other in-spa functions for the spa area and the swim spa—even if using both at the same time.

Tony and Janine also have dual heat pumps—one powering the spa side and the other powering the swim spa. Tony sets the temperature in the pool to 29 degrees and the spa to 34, which lets them swim in the spa year-round.

“We get beautiful winter days in Nelson where we might have a two-degree frost in the morning, but by the afternoon it’s 14 or 15 degrees, so it’s quite nice to have a splash in a 29-degree pool,” he says.

For Tony, the biggest surprise has been the low maintenance.

“I found the maintenance almost too simple. I keep thinking I’m not doing something I should be doing. It’s almost like you expect to need something, but it doesn’t need much of anything.”

They add chlorine, but it has UV, ozone and PurezoneTM filtration, which Tony describes as “just awesome”.

"I found the maintenance almost too simple. I keep thinking I’m not doing something I should be doing."

“The filters are the biggest thing. You need to keep those really clean.”

All in all, Tony and Janine are very satisfied swim spa owners.

“We’re happy with the visual aspect of what it’s added to our property, as well as the practical aspect of having a spa we can use whenever we want to. It’s really added to our lifestyle, rather than being just another ‘thing’. We’re very pleased we did it.”

Interested in this swim spa?

The Vortex™ Hydrozone™ is a 5-seat, dual-zone swim spa. It has a hydrotherapy spa at one end and swim spa at the other.

The zones are completely separated by an internal wall, allowing for different jet pressures and water temperatures - even when both areas are in use at the same time.

Swim, play, relax - you can do it all in The Hydrozone™!

Try out a swim spa!

You can see and try out our swim spa range at your local Spa World Showroom.

For help and advice, talk to one of our sales people or contact our customer care team via our website. We are here to help!

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