DIY Hot Tub / Swim Spa Case Study – Darren, AZ, USA


Darren got in touch with me April 2024 because like most of my customers, he had been quoted an astronomical amount of money to build a hot tub come swim spa. 

The conversation always goes the same way “I spoke to several pool builders and the quotes that I got were outrageous” he began. “I think I can do this myself with your help” – well Darren you have come to the right place I replied.

From there, we had a good chat about the specification and features he was looking for and then it was time for me to get started on the initial design renders.

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As with all of my custom design projects, we go back and forth with the design until the customer, Darren in this case, was totally happy. Below is the result and is what Darren is going to build.

Essentially, this is a swim spa with a swim jet, a 14 jet system and then there is a tanning ledge or Baja shelf for the kids to play on. There is also a couple of bubblers built into the Baja ledge. For those of you who are not familiar with bubblers, they are popular on swimming pools. Basically, they are mini jets that send water upwards to create a bubbling motion.

For these, what we are going to do is use some regular pool returns and a medium sized hot tub jet pump – this will give the result that we are looking for at a fraction of the cost – remember – anything that has “swimming pool” in the name comes with the dreaded “swimming pool tax” – basically, it just costs more!


There are some other features that we have designed in on the plumbing side of things. Firstly, Darren wants to use a circulating solar panel system to add additional heat to his hot tub. To do this, we are going to link in with a heat exchanger. I’ll cover this in more detail when the time arises during Darren’s build.

To make sure he can always get up to temperature in all weathers, we are going to have a gas heater on there too. For something that size, it just is not practical to have an electric heater – it would be too slow and cost the earth to run.

With the planning all done, plumbing diagrams and I have supplied Darren all the parts too – it was time for Darren to get to work!




First step was a big hole, you can see in the background in the image below just how much dirt comes out when you excavate. This wasn’t done by hand lol!

Next was the base. You have to remember with the base that if you are using the swimming pool style drains that Darren is, then they obviously have to be set into the rebar structure before the pour. Likewise, you will need the connecting pipes in there too!


With the base done and cured, it was time for the walls. The image below shows the current state of play at the end of May 2024. Darren is ploughing through this project at a real pace. I can’t wait to share the next update with you.



This is an ongoing project, check back soon for the latest update.

Can I Help You?

If I can help you in any way I would love to hear from you. You can get in touch using the form below.

Thanks - Andi


Hi, Andi here. I own and also write all of the articles and info pages on the site. Some years back now, I built my own hot tub but struggled to find the information I needed. So, once my tub was complete, I started this website to help others in their own pursuit of hot tub and plunge pools DIY building information.

Today, I've helped over 1000 DIY customers just like you all over the world build hot tubs and pools. Have a good look around the site, there are lots of resources here. Please do get in touch if I can help you. - Cheers, Andi

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