When planning where to put a spa outside, location is everything. For homeowners who don't have a deck or patio already built, there are several choices. Remember, the cheapest isn't always the best solution. The most important part is that the surface be sturdy, flat and even. The amount of space, grading and type of soil you have are all things to consider.

A common option is to put in a deck or patio, which can be time-consuming and usually requires municipal permits. Decks and patios can add value to your home, not to mention an extended area for lounging, cooking out and enjoying your hot tub.

Another solution is to use a decking kit. Leisure Concepts offers the Smart Deck, interlocking spa decking that creates an attractive surface for your hot tub. It comes boxed in four two-foot-by-two-foot sections. You can put together two or more packages if needed for larger spas. It corrects any minor imperfections so that the surface is flat and even and eliminates the need for a concrete slab or building a deck addition. The surface is textured and sturdy enough to hold a spa. It is easy to keep clean and doesn't hurt bare feet, a common problem with loose rock surfaces on a patio.

There is also a separate Smart Deck Trim Kit available from Leisure Concepts to create soft rounded edging and corners for a more aesthetically pleasing effect. Although this type of decking lasts for several years, it's technically a temporary structure which isn't anchored down by concrete and isn't attached to the house. This means you won't need a permit for it in most municipalities.