Set Up Your Own Outdoor Soaking Tub


Today I feel like writing about my “Poor Woman’s Hot Tub,” which I plan to get into right after I finish this blog. It’s a gorgeous, warm afternoon out there – perfect for kicking back in some steamy hot water, reading a book, and enjoying this weather.

In July 2002 I impulsively bought a 100-gallon fiberglass livestock watering tank with a drain plug, to put on my back deck. I’m so glad I did! The tank is perfect for relaxing soaks while communing with the chickadees and robins. The rim of the tub is nice and thick, so it’s comfortable for resting my neck and head. The sides of the tub are slanted, so they’re perfect for leaning back in the water.

When I drain the tub, the trees get watered. I love it! In fact, sometimes I add Epsoms Salts to the water, creating a hot mineral soak. Then when I drain it, it actually fertilizes the trees. Epsoms Salts are among the best fertilizers around.

This do-it-yourself hot tub has turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever done. Around here, it’s often too chilly and gray to be outdoors, unless you’re skiing or skating or snowmobiling, wearing tons of layers. I can soak out there in my deck tub almost any time of year…not as long when it’s cold, since I don’t have any device keeping the water hot, but that’s just part of the deal. To me, it’s worth it not having chemicals in the water.

I am amazed how much I enjoy just BEING out on my deck in the hot water, spending time watching and listening. One time in the winter, I was soaking out there and I happened to see a wedge of snow geese fly over my little backyard. They were flying pretty low. I was blown away. Most of the time we see Canada geese around here. Snow geese are much more rare, especially in town.

Anyhow, here’s how you set up your outdoor tub: make sure you have a standard-size water heater, and you’ll probably want to turn the water temperature all the way up for plenty of super-hot water; buy a long garden hose; I run a single garden hose from the washing machine’s hot water faucet through the house and out the back patio door to my tub; you might want to measure how far your hose will have to reach before purchasing, to avoid having more than one hose…this will avoid leaks; I bought a “Y” connector and put it on the washing machine hot water faucet; all I have to do is turn the valve on the connector, and the hot water gushes through the hose and into my outdoor tub; when the hot water has run out, the bath is cooled by the unheated water; after using your tub, you’ll know how high to fill it for the perfect soak. I just coil my tub’s hose into a basin and keep it in the utility room.

All of this for under $100.

Gotta run! Time for a soak on the sunny deck.



Maggie Plummer is a writer and editor who lives in Polson with her black lab Peaches. She likes to write about anything and everything. In fact, Maggie has just published her first novel about an unusual topic – 1650s Irish slavery in the Caribbean. Entitled Spirited Away – A Novel of the Stolen Irish, the book is available on in trade paperback and Kindle editions. Find Maggie’s author page at: