A hot tub hut created by an East Yorkshire landscape gardener in his spare time has earned the talented craftsman the title of Hot Tub of the Year 2021.

Lee Richards, of Thorngumbald, in Holderness, created a “Home-made Hut” with a difference that gained hundreds of public votes, marking out his design as the nation’s overall favourite.

Hull based hot tub supplier Outdoor Living runs the popular contest to find the top hot tub each year, and Lee’s creation, inspired by his wife Karine’s love of the seaside, has won the couple a two-night stay at Rocklands Lodges, in North Yorkshire – in the cabin complex’s hot tub suite, of course.

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Lee, who runs Grasslands Ltd, built the fabulous hot tub set-up over three weekends, with a new Outdoor Living J235 hot tub as its centrepiece.

More than 8,500 people scanned the entries for this year’s competition, which saw a total of 522 votes placed for the Richards’ stunning hot tub feature.

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Lee and Karine Richards with daughter Katelyn
Lee and Karine Richards with daughter Katelyn

Lee and Karine wanted a haven for the ultimate soak at their new dream home and upgraded from their existing “tired” inflatable tub in April, investing in a new acrylic hot tub, set in its own cabin with gorgeous rattan furniture and pull-down blinds to completely enclose the space when required.

Lee said: “Our budget, including the hot tub, was £10K and as we always had inflatable hot tubs over the years, we just thought it was time to spoil ourselves.

“I certainly didn't think we would win because there were quite a few incredibly classy builds others had done. I fully expected one of those to win.

“I can only thank all our friends and family who helped share it and all my work colleagues I deal with on my many maintenance contracts, that all helped too.

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“The fact that people liked my design so much is really nice. It’s a proper living space for us with everything in there.

“To win the competition is the cherry on the cake for us.”

Lee’s work as a landscape contractor means he is used to creating bespoke huts, sheds and pergolas for his customers.

But he decided to devote some of his down time to upgrading his own garden with a unique hot tub, using his own skills to complete it with mesh features and open beams in natural timber.

Lee, Karine and their daughter Katelyn love relaxing in their hot tub
Lee, Karine and their daughter Katelyn love relaxing in their hot tub

The long days, hard graft and aches and pains are soon forgotten when Lee and Karine jump into the hot tub.

“I have actually talked a few of my friends into getting a hot tub as the sheer delight of relaxing after a day’s work is just bliss,” said Lee.

“Opening a bottle of wine, setting off the jets and putting the world to rights with our daughter, Katelyn, is the best thing about the hot tub.”

As autumn approaches, the hut will continue to be a hive of laughter, cosy evenings and quality family times, in fact it will continue to be used throughout the year, according to Lee.

Lee Richards transformed the garden at the couple's Thorngumbald home
Lee Richards transformed the garden at the couple's Thorngumbald home

“I’d say we’re in it nearly every night. Our daughter Katelyn is 11 and a proper water baby, she gets her friends round and they sit in the hot tub.

"It's only a short run to the house from the hot rub if there's frost on the ground."

Lee’s winning entry followed the 2020 Hot Tub of the Year success of B&B owners Taryn and Ewan, of Dalmally, Argyll, in Scotland, who secured last year’s title with their “Highland Haven” hot tub set-up amid panoramic views.

Paul Margerison, sales director at Outdoor Living, said: “This has been another amazing year for our Hot Tub of the Year competition.

“There were some spectacular set-ups and the competition was tough.

Hundreds of people voted for the Hot Tub of the Year 2021
Hundreds of people voted for the Hot Tub of the Year 2021

“Thank you to everyone who took part. I can’t wait to see what next year brings.”

You can take a look at Outdoor Living’s gallery of entries for the 2021 competition here and perhaps be inspired how take your back garden to the next level with a hot tub.

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