What Is a Garden Tub? Things You Should Know

A garden tub is not always placed in a garden, although its original use is not far from that. What is a garden tub? It is basically a more luxurious person of a regular tub. If your regular bathtub has a generic-looking square shape with a shallow height, a garden tub is often round or oval with a deeper height.

A garden tub is more expensive than the regular one. Find out what to expect before you install a garden tub at home.

History of Garden Tub Bath

Garden tub was born in the 18th-century Europe, a trend that was started by aristocrats living in large manors. They love luxurious bath in a spacious bathroom decorated like a garden.

Sometimes, they constructed bathrooms with large windows toward the garden, creating a feel like they were bathing in nature. This trend gave birth to the name “garden tub”.

Garden tubs are often called “soaker tubs” because the water covers the entire part of the body. This creates a sumptuous feel, especially if the tub is filled with warm water, bath salt, or fragrant bath oil. The smooth round or oval shape is also hard to achieve, requiring extra efforts and therefore costs more.

A garden tub bath has the standard size of 5 feet long, 3.5 feet wide, and 2 feet deep (1.5 x 1.06 x 0.7 m). However, you can customize the size to fit the actual size of people who will use it. Some garden tubs have wide edges to hold soap dishes, bathroom product bottles, spa set, or even champagne flutes, emphasizing the luxury.

Should You Install A Garden Tub?

Make sure you plan carefully before buying a garden tub. Given the size and shape of a garden tub, you must consider several things before installing it.


Garden tub is unsurprisingly expensive, even before counting the installation and plumbing services.

The standard price of a garden tub starts from USD2,000, which can increase depending on the material and size you choose. With the installation and plumbing, the standard cost for a garden tub can add up to USD5,000.


A garden tub takes a lot of space, which is something you must consider regarding of the size. You must also think of the width of the door, since the workers must bring the tub through it before installing it in the bathroom. 

Bathroom Layout

Many bathrooms have showerheads above their tubs, which help to save the space in a narrow room. However, this configuration is not ideal for a garden tub. You must have a separate space for the shower area. It must be far from the tub to prevent splashes.

Once you consider the cost, size, and layout, you can think about other aspects, such as the materials and the types.

Popular Materials for Garden Tubs

Manufacturers have various material options to construct garden tubs. Each material has pros and cons, contributing to your personal property preferences and the installation budgets. Here are several popular materials to construct garden tubs.


Fiberglass is the cheapest and most popular tub material. It is sleek, light, and easy to install. However, it also brittles and gets scratched easily. The surface also bends a little when you sit or stand on it, resulting in unstable feeling.


Acrylic is a slightly more expensive option than fiberglass, but still quite affordable. It is light and easy to repair or install. It is also more durable than fiberglass. However, it looks cheap, and the surface gets scratched quite easily.

Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles give your garden tub a unique look. It also feels stable and can easily support anyone’s weight. Tiles come in various colors, patterns, and sizes, giving your tub a unique look.

However, the texture can feel a little weird when you are sitting in it. The installation is also more complicated because it must be done individually, with grouts.

Porcelain on Steel

Installing porcelain on steel gives you strong, stable support. Porcelain is also easy to clean, and the cost is inexpensive. However, porcelain surface on steel can get chipped easily, exposing the steel surface underneath. It can cause rust spots that make the tub look unsightly.

Cast Iron

Cast iron tub is heavy and expensive, but it is a perfect option if you want a “classic” look. The surface is durable, and it gives you a stable feeling when you are standing or sitting on it.

It also retains heat, giving you a comfortable water temperature when you are having a night bath. The classic look gives your tub an everlasting elegance.

Polished Wood

A polished wooden tub is stylish and unique, with an unusual beauty that will improve any bathroom. Polished wood is usually customizable, and you can order an asymmetrical shape that makes the tub a perfect bathroom ornament.

The common wood types for this tub are maple, cherry, or oak. However, this tub is really expensive and requiring a special maintenance.

Lava Stone

Another natural material with rustic beauty, lava stone is an attractive and beautiful material for modern bathrooms.

Despite is weight and expensive cost, lava stone is a great material that provides stability and comfortable temperature. This tub material is very popular at traditional resorts and villas in tropical destinations such as Bali.

Polished Stone

A favorite option among people with luxury properties, polished stone is elegant and expensive looking. A stone bathtub can be made of marble, onyx, or granite. Natural stones come in various colors and stains, so you can have a great design in addition to the large bathtub.

Garden Tub Design Options

Aside from the materials and colors, garden tubs may also come in various designs. Here are several common tub designs and their unique characteristics.

Clawfoot Tub

Clawfoot tub is ideal for giving your bathroom a vintage charm. There are diverse shapes of “claw” supports that you can pair with the tub designs. They are ideal for modern, traditional, and eclectic bathrooms.

Sunken Tub

A sunken tub gives your bathroom a seamless look, because there is almost no visible jutted structure on the floor surface. You can also get a “Roman spa” look, especially if you purposely choose a classic design for the bathroom. However, you must be careful about the edges, since they can provide an accident hazard in the bathroom.

Oval Freestanding Tub

Oval freestanding tub is a classic option that lasts into modern times; its smooth lines provide contrast with the square lines of the bathroom. It is one of the most favorite shapes for a garden tub. The smooth lines give luxurious and expensive look.

Round Freestanding Tub

Another popular shape for a sunken tub, a round freestanding tub is a perfect addition for a master bathroom. The round shape requires a large layout for the bathroom, since you need to give an extra room around it (a round tub cannot be placed on the corner).

Angled Freestanding Tub

Angled freestanding tub is slightly higher on one end, giving your back and head an extra space to rest on. The shape creates an elegant and even feminine look.

You can place it in the middle of the bathroom or slightly close to the corner. This bathtub also looks great to be placed near the window.

Corner Tub

A corner tub is the ultimate luxury sign. It takes up much space and can be very wide. You need to have a spacious layout to accommodate a corner tub, especially if you also install a showerhead. 

Japanese-style Tub

Garden tub may be identical with European aristocrats, but Japanese people have long used large, deep tubs to soak in. Traditional Japanese tubs are similar to wooden barrels, but many modern designs just adopt the tall, circular designs.

The difference between Japanese and European tubs is the size efficiency. Japanese people prefer to sit and soak themselves in chin-high water.

Regardless of the tub shapes, you can add features that make the bathing experience more comfortable. For example, you can install a whirlpool tub to enjoy comfortable warm bath with bubbling sensation. This feature is usually available for corner or sunken tubs because of the wiring and other electrical components. 


Having a large tub will turn a regular bath into a sumptuous, luxurious experience. Garden tubs are available in various materials, colors, and models.

You need to invest for the installation, tub cost, and special features. Despite the expensive costs (even for the smallest tub), having a garden tub bath is a great daily experience that will improve your life.