This spa was designed with an impressive list of features.

The intent was twofold, taking into account the spectacular views and a sloping backyard, with water as the focal point.

The spa was set expertly into Texas limestone, which company owner Tommy Johnson used to offset the travertine and marble on the surrounding deck. But there was one problem: no access points through which to service the unit.

So he decided to work with, rather than against, the terrain. He placed the filter room out of sight, beneath a planter at the pool’s far end, approximately 20 feet away and 10 feet below spa level.

He incorporated a 15-inch-deep splash area directly below the spa to serve as a throughway to the main pool. The different concrete levels are disguised by the dark blue color inside the pool.

Next, Johnson modified a favorite technique of his. He installed 3/4-inch pipes at the spa’s water level, so the flow appears to move directly from the hot tub into the pool.

Despite the illusion, he keeps the spa and pool waters separate.


The spa was built just 8 feet from the home’s back door, providing easy access during the South’s annual cold snaps. In fact, an indoor seating area was set up to provide an ideal view of the hot tub.

The location coincides with the center of the pool, creating symmetry and unity.

“That flow is really important to me,” Johnson says. “If somebody walks out and says, ‘Wow, you’ve got a good-looking spa,’ then I haven’t done my job. Everything has to work together without one specific focal point.”

This philosophy led Johnson to incorporate additional features, such as an impressive fireplace made of the same Texas limestone as the deck, and a seating area to the far left of the spa.

There, bathers can warm up after a soak and partake in goodies from the adjacent outdoor kitchen and bar.

“When it’s cold outside, that warm area is great to sit by,” he says.

Other design elements include a kitchen area, a bar and numerous plantings, all of which revolve around the aquascape.

“The pool and spa is the backyard area,” Johnson says. “There is no grass because of the difficulty of that on a slope, so everything we did is there to complement the pool and spa.”