Need more privacy for your pool or hot tub, but don’t know where to start? If you’ve got a relatively small lot or don’t necessarily want neighbors tracking your every move in your bathing suit, you have options.
In this post, I’ll break down 9 privacy options I found that you can either plant or install alongside your hot tub or pool that you may not have thought of.
1. Privacy screens
While the obvious choice for privacy is a simple plank-based fence around the perimeter of your pool or yard, an added layer of privacy you may want to consider is a privacy screen.
You can find these in many different colors in terms of materials and styles depending on your preference. Some privacy screens attach to your existing fence (material only), while others are free-standing.
I found the one in the image above on Amazon here, come with ground spikes, which essentially can create a fence around the perimeter of your hot tub or pool. You may also anchor these in concrete if you need something permanent.
If you need a refresher on why pool fencing is such a big deal and why having a locking gate is also important, check out my post on Residential Pool Owner Liability Basics, which includes a section on fencing.
2. Retractable outdoor shades
Probably my favorite on this list is the list when it comes to smaller spaces are retractable shades that retract from top to bottom. These look great when attached to a pergola or other structure you may have your spa or hot tub built around.
Not only do they offer privacy, but they can also easily be retracted. You can purchase these in a variety of colors, and many are also UV resistant to avoid fading.
Motorized retractable sun shades
When it comes to shades, you can either purchase these in the manual variety or go with an automatic option powered by a motor.
If you don’t have the area wired, look for a set with rechargeable motors. These also come with a remote, and many last for around 150 cycles before needing a recharge based on what I’ve heard.
While some are designed for indoor use, make sure whichever you select will withstand the elements from being outdoors.
There are a few commercial-grade options I found on Amazon that come with a remote like the one above that can be well worth the investment if you don’t want to worry about always needing to manually retract a screen.
3. Large potted plants, bushes, or hedges
Another easy way to create natural privacy around a space is using plants. Hedges work great if you need a perimeter, but for a smaller structure like a spa, a couple of large potted plants can help as well.
Ideally, to create the most privacy choose tall plants that will grow well in a pot with good drainage.
Here are a few plants specifically designed for maximum privacy that you may want to consider:
- Climbing ivy
- Pampas grass and ornamental grass
- Potted laurel
If you have a surround around your pool, potted plants may be your best bet when it comes to privacy from your pool house or home specifically. Palm trees around your pool fence or hot tub can be another good option if you go big enough.
When it comes to shielding your pool from the road or others, I’ve also seen people use ornamental grass or hedges to create a natural privacy barrier.
4. Living wall or lattice
As a more natural-looking option, a living wall is probably the most creative option I’ve seen for concealing a hot tub or relatively small area.
In case you’re unfamiliar, these are structures that are typically made up of multiple potted plants that are secured to the wall structure. These can get pretty wild if you let them, but a decent option if you only need a smaller section blocked from view.
These are great if you enjoy plants, and there are a few video tutorials like this one on YouTube to give you an idea on how to build one. While these aren’t for everybody, it’s definitely a more creative way to obstruct your hot tub or pool area from view.
If you’re looking for a classic hot tub covering to attach blinds or curtains to for added privacy, consider a pergola. These can be found in both wooden and metal varieties like this model I found on Amazon.
Depending on the style of pergola, these can offer some level of privacy from overhead, assuming you have lattice or vines that offer some cover.
Add curtains or blinds for additional privacy
If you also have a pool, positioning a pergola (with either a hot tub or a couple of chairs underneath) when used with a curtain can add just enough privacy to obstruct a pool.
It really depends of what look you are going for, since these do require more upkeep with vines.
Speaking of curtains, they are an excellent and simple choice for adding privacy for a pool or hot tub if you plan to install a pergola or other structure.
If you have a hot tub on a patio, you can easily tie these up when not in use. Make sure to choose curtains that are water repellent and mildew resistant so they hold up to rain and humidity.
This set I found on Amazon for under $50, and can easily be installed to an existing pergola or cabana.
7. Retractable privacy screens or side awnings
A retractable privacy screen (or a side awning like the image above) is a great choice if you need something simple, but don’t want to commit to a permanent solution.
I think this is a great option for most people, especially if you only need privacy in one direction or another. You can also find folding or collapsable privacy screens if you so choose.
8. Privacy sail
A privacy sail is another great option if you’re looking for a bit of overhead cover. They’re a great option if positioned just right if you have a multi-story home.
Most of these privacy sails are also coated with some kind of UV protection and used for their shade properties more than anything.
If used strategically, they can help some level of privacy, especially for smaller spaces. Some people will even purchase the triangular variety of these, and position them side by side which can look quite cool.
Most of these are around 50 bucks on Amazon like this one, and are breathable to allow for breeze to pass through.
9. Gazebos and enclosure kits
in addition to pergolas, one of the most practical privacy options for hot tubs (or pools to an extent), are more permanent structures like gazebos or enclosure kits.
Many gazebos come with curtains or mosquito netting which can offer really all the privacy you need. Gazebos come in a million different varieties, from cheap options that cost less than $200, to custom-built wooden gazebos that cost thousands.
Hardtop gazebos like this one on Amazon are a good choice for most people with hot tubs since they typically are much heavier and contain larger posts. Keep in mind that you can find these starting at anywhere from $200 to $1,000, but it all comes down to build materials.
If looking for something that won’t fly away, you’ll want to make sure these are heavy enough and can be bolted down for security during windstorms or hurricanes.
Soft top gazebos
If you’re going for that linen-towel-luxury spa look and don’t really need something permanent, you can also find domed fabric gazebos like this one for just under $300 on Amazon.
Hot tub and pool enclosure kits
If you really want to step up your hot tub game, consider building or buying a hot tub enclosure kit. The main difference between an enclosure kit and a gazebo is that most enclosure kits are custom-made of wood specifically for hot tubs.
These are generally a few thousand dollars, some with built-in retracable shades, as well as tinted glass windows that can be opened or closed.
There are enclosure kits for pools as well to keep leaves and insects out, which are typically made from polycarbonate and on the pricier side as well.
The bottom line
I hope these recommendations help! Before you pull the trigger on any of these, make sure you measure the dimensions of what you are covering or hiding, and take into consideration any furniture or other items you may be enclosing or needing to hide.
There are many different solutions to make your outdoor space private, so it really comes down to your budget, preference, backyard layout, and personal aesthetic as the deciding factor.
Check out my post 15 Best Outdoor Hot Tub Accessories for a few ideas for building your backyard oasis.