You've spent a fair amount of money to purchase a spa and have it installed, so you're probably thinking about how to create an attractive, inviting environment around it. Whether your spa is a freestanding type on your patio or sunk into a deck, you have a chance to enhance the landscaping around it with tropical looking plants, flowers, vines or potted plants in decorative containers.
Give Yourself Good Access
Before you decide on the types of plants you want to include in your spa landscaping area, consider access. How will you and others get to the spa? You certainly won't want to traipse through mud or even gravel, if you walk to your spa in bare feet. An attractive path can make a spa far more inviting than if no path exists. If the distance to your spa from your house is more than about 10 feet, you can create a curved path that you finish with paver stones or cement. At each bend of the path, you can place a potted plant or plant one in the ground.
Use the Correct Plants For the Light
If your spa is located in a shady area, such as under a large tree or arbor, choose low-light-loving plants such as ferns, hostas, impatiens, perhaps even orchids. If you have built your spa in a sunny spot, consider planting a palm tree, a citrus or two, chrysanthemums, and annuals such as petunias, zinnias and marigolds. Some palm trees are remarkably cold tolerant; consider the Mexican fan palm, which is hardy down to about 18 degrees F. Many palms, such as the dwarf Phoenix date palm, do nicely as potted plants, which allows you to move them indoors for the winter.
Don't Forget Native Plants
Shrubs, trees and wildflowers that are native to your part of the country can make your spa landscaping both natural and carefree. Because these plants exist in the wild near your home, they are well suited to the soil, temperature, rainfall and other aspects of the environment and will reward you with greenery and flowers that require very little care, supplemental watering or fertilizer.
Part of a landscaping scheme can include patio furniture or built-in benches, planter boxes and even things such as tree stumps that double as chairs. Ask yourself what people will want and need when they use your spa: perhaps a place to sit and remove their shoes, somewhere to sit and relax after departing the spa or an area where they can soak up the sun on a nice day. Adirondack chairs are popular on patios and around spas, as are chaise lounges, picnic tables with chairs or benches and beach umbrellas.
Enhance the area around your spa at night by installing spotlights that shine up into surrounding trees or other foliage and provide light for safe walking to and from your spa. Install "Malibu lights" along the sides of your path or use clear Christmas lights strung along your arbor or nearby trees. To determine the right location for lights, buy clip-on lights and connect them with extension cords temporarily to see the effect that light will have in a number of different locations, according to the Web site PoolAndSpa.com.