Can a Hot Tub be Placed on Gravel? (Yes, if you . . . )

When purchasing & installing a hot tub, there are a lot of different decisions to make, including location. But with poured concrete being expensive, you may have wondered can a hot tub be placed on gravel?

Here’s what I know from buying and installing 3 of my 4 hot tubs:

Yes, a hot tub can be placed on gravel. However, the ground needs to be prepared first. Remove all grass with a shovel & dig down 6 inches. Level the dirt & add 6 inches of gravel. Pea gravel can be used but should be placed over heavy-duty gravel. Make sure the gravel is completely level before adding the hot tub.

But that’s just a quick glimpse into the answer and solution.

There are many different stable options for you to choose from, such as patios, decks, and concrete pads. But today we will be talking about gravel pads.

Keep on reading to find out how gravel pads work with your hot tub, if they work well, and how much you can save by using one.

Can I put my hot tub on gravel?

Yes, you can absolutely put your hot tub on gravel.

Just remember that any hot tub base must be stable and level. A dip in the surface your hot tub is on can cause the hot tub to crack.

Additionally, do not place your hot tub directly on grass.

In general, it should never be placed on the bare ground at all. Gravel pads have some advantages over concrete pads. To begin with, they promote drainage and end up cracking, unlike concrete pads.

Additionally, a gravel pad will also resist shifting. This is due to its composition of tiny pieces. The gravel also conforms to the hot tub base and will hold it in place.

So, why should you use gravel? Well, besides being able to drain water, gravel is aesthetically pleasing. Gravel complements a variety of backyards.

Gravel is also very easy to install. It’s a quick option that only takes a few hours, unlike concrete or building a deck. Additionally, it also won’t end up cracking over time like concrete.

Gravel will also mold over time and conform to your hot tub. Gravel will also not shift over time. Finally, gravel is relatively cheap to purchase.

But concrete and gravel aren’t your only options! 2 of my 4 hot tubs have been on wooden decks.

When placing your hot tub on a surface such as a wooden deck, you should be mindful of the weight of the hot tub (especially when filled with water and occupants) and the amount of weight that the deck can hold.

If you’re wondering how to figure out if your deck can support your hot tub, read this recent article.

I not only get into how to determine if your deck can hold one. But I also cover how to reinforce yours if it can’t, with the exact blueprint used for my current deck and hot tub.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How do you make a gravel pad for a hot tub?

You can easily create a gravel pad for your hot tub.

Remember to make sure that you’re constructing a gravel base on a completely flat and level surface. Trying to create your base where the earth is bumpy, hilly, or has other deformities may cause the hot tub to not work properly or be damaged.

Step 1

For step one, you should first measure your hot tub.

You need to know the exact dimensions of it. Then, you will also want to have a few extra feet around the hot tub to place gravel for draining and aesthetic purposes. Once that is done, decide where you are going to place your hot tub.

Check the area you have chosen for your hot tub.

Make sure there are no overhead power lines. Additionally, make sure no trees or shrubs are close by. Tree roots, in particular, can cause the hot tub to shift over time and no longer be level.

You will also want to make sure that the chosen site would not block your access to your septic tank, sewer lines, or any other utilities.

Next, make sure the site of the hot tub is close to a water source that can refill it if needed.

A hose should always be nearby. You will always want your hot tub at least five feet away from an electrical panel or outlet. Some hot tubs plug into outlets, and some require electricity connected by an electrician.

The kind that plugin (110v hot tubs) typically come with a 15-foot cord, and should not be used with extension cords. So think about how far away the plug is if that’s the kind you have.

Step 2

Next, remove the grass from an area of your lawn large enough to hold your hot tub.

You will want to dig at least six inches into the ground with a shovel. 6 inches will allow the right amount of space for the gravel.

Without enough gravel, drainage can be compromised. With too much gravel, the hot tub base may become too soft and sink over time. To avoid muddy areas around your hot tub, extend the gravel out around your hot tub by 1-2 feet.

Check the ground with a level before adding gravel. You can adjust the levelness of the ground a little with the gravel. But you want the bare ground to be as level as possible to start with.

Step 3

Fill in your hole with the gravel of your choice.

There are different types of gravel, with different looks and qualities. If you’re going to use pea gravel, add only 4 inches of medium grade construction gravel. You will fill the rest of the area (2 inches) with pea gravel.

Step 4

Finally, smooth out the surface of your gravel with a shovel or thick-bristled push broom. Ensure that the gravel is flat and level. Hot tubs must be on a stable and level surface!

A hot tub must be level!

An unlevel hot tub can cause stress fractures in the shell. But it can also cause the wood frame to crack if it’s too unlevel.

Read this recent article if you’re unsure if a hot tub needs to be level. More importantly, I also get into some easy ways to level a hot tub if yours isn’t level.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Can I set my hot tub on pea gravel?

Using pea gravel as a base for your hot tub has some distinct advantages.

Aesthetically, gravel can complement a variety of types of landscaping. Practically, a pea gravel base offers the advantage of easy drainage, unlike a solid brick, concrete, or wood base.

A secure and lasting pea gravel base can be made with simple tools and materials. And it’s not nearly as costly as many other hot tub bases.

So, yes, you can absolutely set your hot tub on pea gravel! But it’s not the only inexpensive alternative to concrete!

Check out this recent article to see all the alternatives to concrete pads to hold your hot tub, including 1 that is almost 90% less expensive than concrete.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

What’s the best base for a hot tub?

A proper foundation for your hot tub is key before installing it!

You want to make sure you can get the most out of your hot tub without any issues, and this will ensure that.

Some of the most common surfaces hot tubs rest on are:

  • Level concrete slabs
  • Reinforced decks
  • Ground-level decks
  • Pavers

Do not, however, place the hot tub on grass or bare earth.

As previously stated, gravel beds are great for outdoor hot tubs. The gravel conforms to the hot tub base and will hold it in place.

Another cheap option is a prefabricated base typically called a spa pad.


This is a system of interlocking pads that can be used to create the base. Many say it is just as good as concrete, in addition to being significantly cheaper.

Spa pads may be plastic, but they can take the weight!

And unlike loading up 60 or so stone pavers into your car from Lowe’s, this thing only weighs 15 pounds total for an 8’x8′ pad, delivered to your door for free from Amazon!

CLICK HERE to see my pick for a spa pad on Amazon.

As long as the surface is uniform, solid, level, and can support the weight of the hot tub (remember to include the hot tub filled with water and occupants in your calculations) then you are all set to go. 

Haven’t bought your hot tub yet?

Read this recent article for 23 crucial tips you should know before purchasing your first hot tub! I cover every question you didn’t even know you had, including 2 that could easily double the total installed cost if you don’t check them out first.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about whether a hot tub can go on gravel?

Gravel pads are a great choice for a foundation to support your hot tub.

Gravel pads resist shifting, mold to your hot tub to ensure it is sturdier, and they promote drainage. They also do not end up cracking over time, like concrete pads.

Gravel pads are also very easy to install and are significantly cheaper than pouring concrete. They are also easy enough for almost any DIY-enthusiast to put in themselves.

Happy hot-tubbing!

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, hot tub lover, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market.

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