Yes, you can build a stand-alone custom spa without a pool. A gunite spa can boast some of the same decorative features as a gunite pool.
Building a free-standing spa can cost almost as much as a small gunite pool. That’s because each specialty crew must come to the job site to complete each of the various construction phases—just as they would for an entire pool.
Despite the investment, some homeowners still choose to build a stand-alone gunite spa. They won’t settle for a portable hot tub because they want an attractive, permanent custom backyard amenity—versus a prefabricated vessel sitting on the ground.
Learn more: Hot Tubs vs. In-Ground Spas: What’s the Difference?
Depending on the region of the country, including an in-ground spa might add around 15 to 25 percent of the cost of the basic pool.
Factors that typically affect the bottom line include: spa size, spa shape, and spa-pool configuration. Common design variables include the spa’s position—is it built within the pool perimeter (an “interior spa”) or outside the perimeter (an “exterior spa”), the spa’s elevation—is it level with the pool surface or raised above it, and decorative finishes or special features such as custom dam walls and spillways.
The cost may also be affected by the excavation work needed to level the ground where the spa will go. Including a spa may also require the purchase of a more powerful pool heater to quickly warm the water or a bigger pump to power the hydrotherapy jets. However, these additions maximize a spa’s benefits and extend the months each year you can enjoy them.
Pick a custom spa shape that complements your pool shape and style. Many choices are available, from bold geometric silhouettes to organic free-form shapes.
If you plan on having lots of family and friends in the spa, remember that most shapes do not seat a crowd as efficiently as a circle. Ask your pool designer for suggestions.
Gunite spas are custom builds that are popular among pool buyers because they serve as a lovely focal point in the pool and offer so many health and lifestyle benefits. Particularly when the spa is elevated, its façade and spillway provide superb design opportunities and also serve as a distinctive water feature.
Beyond their beauty, spas bring added value to your lifestyle. This amenity can provide an ideal amenity for unwinding mentally and physically, warm hydrotherapy for sore muscles, a place for low-impact exercise, support for enhancing blood circulation, promotion of better sleep patterns, general relaxation and serenity, and a setting for socializing and conversation. This feature also provides a fun spot to hang out or play—even when it’s cooler at night or after swim season ends.
Learn more about gunite spas and design ideas: Custom In-ground Spas
The most popular gunite spa shape is circular, since a circle or a rounded shape makes conversation and interaction easy. These shapes are also most efficient for holding the most people.
However, some pool buyers opt for custom geometric options with straight lines—squares, rectangles, triangles, or modified versions of them.