January brings freezing temperatures, snow, and ice to the Cincinnati area. You may be thinking you’ll be stuck indoors for the next few months, wistfully looking outside waiting for warmer weather. Your pool is covered for the season, you’ve stored the patio furniture and umbrellas, and the grill is seldom used. But there’s one piece of patio entertainment that’s a staple of winter fun:

The hot tub.

With a little elbow grease and some ingenuity in design, your hot tub area could be the best winter entertainment in the neighborhood. Check out our list of the best ideas to turn your patio hot tub area into your winter paradise.

1. Add a Privacy Screen

When the last leaves fall from the trees and the colder weather sets in, your patio probably starts to feel a little exposed to the elements. Having a gazebo or pergola overhang can help shield you from the rain and wind. However, when you’re enjoying your hot tub, you’re going to want a little extra privacy from your neighbors. Try adding a privacy screen, wall, or curtain around your hot tub space to further keep the wind out and the warmth in.

There are a couple of options you have for privacy screens: you can attach them directly to the walls of the hot tub, hang curtains from a pergola, or even make them a part of the overall patio design. The options are endless, so pick the one that best fits your aesthetic and budget.

2. Make Your Towels Easily Accessible

There’s nothing worse than forgetting your towel when you’re done with a soak and having to sprint inside dripping wet. It’s even more unpleasant in the cold. Avoid the hassle and add a towel cabinet to your hot tub area so your towels are always within easy reach. Use a waterproof enclosure or keep the cabinet shielded from the elements so your towels are always fresh and dry.

3. Add a Heated Mat for Snow-Free Walkways

Snow may look pretty when it’s covering your patio, but it can make enjoying your hot tub a pain. Trying to shovel a pathway to your hot tub from your home takes time and effort for not a lot of reward. If there’s ice involved underneath the snow, there’s an even bigger chance of slipping and falling.

Try installing a heated mat along your walkway that can melt the snow instantly! These electric mats come in a variety of lengths, price points, and are non-slip. You’ll always have a secure, toasty place to walk to and from your hot tub.

4. Try a Hot Cocoa Bar!

What better way to heat up on a cold, snowy day than with a relaxing soak in a hot tub and by sipping on a hot beverage? Keep a sealed container of mugs and hot cocoa within easy reach of your hot tub, and bring out a kettle of hot water from your kitchen and bam! Instant hot cocoa, just add marshmallows.

5. Bring on the Outdoor Entertainment

If you have enough covered space on your patio, consider adding a wall-mounted TV or some wireless speakers to make your hot tub soaking experience even more magical. Catch the game from the comfort of your hot tub or relax with some spa tunes coming from your speakers. Just make sure to properly store the electronic equipment when it snows or take proper precautions to protect your devices from the elements.

6. Set the Mood with Lighting

Shorter winter days mean lots of potential hot tub time in the dark. Add a cozy glow to your hot tub experience with the appropriate mood lighting for the ultimate relaxation. You can add lanterns, string lights, or even candles around your patio for the peak of ambiance. Hang lights from your pergola or patio overhang or even just set a couple of tables around with some candles. Now  you have a cozy outdoor space that will turn your ordinary soak into a dreamy escape. Not sold on an open flame in the snow? Try out some flameless candles instead!

7. Don’t Forget About Proper Maintenance

While you’re focused on making your hot tub and patio space into the pinnacle of relaxation, it’s easy to forget your centerpiece needs some maintenance to stay in proper working order. Make sure to stay up to date on hot tub maintenance so your hot tub is ready for action when you are. Here are our top tips to keep your hot tub in peak shape during the winter:

  • Maintain the proper water temperature – Experts recommend anywhere between 97- and 104-degrees Fahrenheit for optimum hot tub soaking. Keep your hot tub set close to this range even when it’s not in use. This way the hot tub doesn’t take as long to heat up in the dead of winter.
  • Keep your water and filters clean – Stick to a regular cleaning schedule for both your water and the filters. Don’t let your routine slip just because there’s snow on the ground. You’ll want fresh water whenever you want a soak.
  • Prevent pipe freezes – Make sure your freeze protection system is turned on if you have one as part of your hot tub. Otherwise, you can set your hot tub timer to switch on every 15-20 minutes to keep hot water circulating through the pipes to prevent freezing.
  • Keep the water properly balanced – Stay up to date on chemical treatments for your water so you aren’t fighting a funky smell or algae when you want to take a soak.
  • Invest in a good cover – A thermal cover for your hot tub will keep the water toasty and clean when it’s not in use. It also will protect your hot tub from snow. Just remember to brush the snow off the cover before you try to open your hot tub!

Ready, Set, Relax

Whatever tips you decide to implement to make your patio and hot tub space your favorite destination this winter, Cincinnati Pool and Patio can help. Whether it’s finding the right hot tub chemicals or renovating your patio space this spring to use next winter, our experts can help you craft the perfect outdoor getaway in your own backyard.

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