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An above ground spa fenced off with glass under a pergola on a back lawn
Adding a spa or portable pool will bring relaxation and fun to your backyard this summer.


Splash zone

Now that summer’s here, why not up the fun factor with some water play (for the kids) and relaxation time (for the adults)? Portable pools and spas are a way to dip your toe into the water without committing to an inground pool. “Inground pools cost a lot of money and can be quite inconvenient,” says Edmond Yip of Bestway Australia. “You’ve got to have space and maintain the pool water even when you’re not using it, such as in winter.” Here’s our primer to help you choose the pool that’s right for you.

Splash out in a smaller place 

Many of us live in homes with limited outdoor space, and spas can be a great choice for a patio or a small deck – providing, of course, the structure can take the weight. Spas and pools can be quite heavy when they’re full, says Lindsay McGrath, CEO of the Swimming Pool & Spa Association of Australia (SPASA). “If you’ve got a 5000-litre spa, you’ve got 5000 litres of water, which is five tonnes, plus you have to factor in the weight of the spa itself,” says Lindsay. “As long as your deck or patio can hold the weight of the water and the product, then it can go anywhere.” 

If space is tight, an inflatable or semi-permanent spa provides flexibility. “If you’ve only got a couple of hundred square metres’ worth of space, you don’t have the luxury of putting in an inground pool and losing your backyard forever,” says Edmond. “All our spas and pools are either inflatables or come with a PVC liner and a metal frame structure, so the main benefit is portability.” 

Bestway Lay-Z-Spa Hawaii HydroJetPro inflatable spa

Place preference 

Spas and plunge pools that are hardwired must be installed by a licensed electrician, while inflatable models generally need an extension cord to be plugged into a dedicated electrical outlet for the filter and pump; this opens up more location options. The most important requirements are a flat, stable surface and access to power. Ensure all electrical cords are well clear of the water.  

Whether you tuck the spa into a discreet corner is down to power point access and personal preference, but Lindsay advises not to hide the pool. “It is a feature and inspiration to promote a healthier lifestyle and fun times with friends and family.” 

Looking good 

Permanent spas tend to be inground, making it easier to blend them into the surrounding landscape, but you can still work an above-ground or portable model into the surrounds and make it look special.  

A pretty path or stepping stones leading to the spa from the house turns it into a destination (and also keeping wet feet clean). Other features might include a bench seat, an outdoor shower for rinsing off or a gazebo for weather protection and privacy. If the spa will be packed away for part of the year, think about how the space could be multipurpose: for example, bench seats and non-combustible flooring might make for an ideal conversation corner around a fire pit. Greenery is a fail-safe way to help a bulky spa blend into the landscape, but make sure it doesn’t include climbable trees, which would compromise safety (see ‘safety check’, below). Instead, choose low, soft hedges or plantings.  

Bestway Lay-Z-Spa Milan Airjet inflatable spa in a backyard

Clear waters 

Prevention is the best way to maintain pristine water in your pool or spa, says Lindsay. He recommends keeping deciduous trees away from the water, if possible. “Obviously, any organic matter in the water affects the chemistry,” he says, noting that the right chemical balance will help to keep the water safe and enjoyable to be in. We have a wide range of pool chemicals available in-store, along with simple testing kits to ensure the water is clean and safe. Or you can take a sample of your pool or spa water in store for testing – see our pool water testing page for details‡. SPASA also has useful pool and spa maintenance information on its website (poolspalife.com.au). 

Man relaxing in a spa/hot tub

Safety check 

New spa owners may be surprised to learn they must include fencing when installing even a small spa or pool in their yard. Regulations vary in each state and territory, and you should seek out your local authority’s regulations and guidelines before you install any water feature, including a spa or plunge pool, even if they are temporary structures. More information about local pool fencing requirements can be found on SPASA’s website (spasa.com.au/consumer-info/fencing-laws).

Bestway Lay-Z-Spa Miami Airjet inflatable spa

Keep in mind:

  • Any plumbing or electrical work must be carried out by a licensed tradie.
  • Wear appropriate safety equipment and follow the product’s instructions when using pool and spa chemicals, and store them out of reach of children and pets. 

Shop the range

From entire inflatable spas, to accessories and cleaning products, browse our entire Swimming Pool and Spa range.  

Photo Credit: Getty Images 

‡Not all services are available in all stores. Some photographs feature products from suppliers other than Bunnings. 

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.