An outdoor shower is a luxurious addition to your forever home or your vacation home, especially if you’re near a beach or lake. There’s nothing quite as refreshing as rinsing off the heat and sand beneath a stream of cool water with trees and sky overhead and the sounds of nature right at your shower-step. Showering in nature is also a calming, enjoyable way to either start your day or end it, lathering up alongside a pink sunrise or under the stars at night.
An outdoor shower can be as rustic or as luxurious as you want it to be. Here, we take on the outdoor shower, giving you tips and ideas for creating an al fresco escape where you can get squeaky clean in the fresh air.
The Shower Setup
Most people who install an outdoor shower use their current outdoor water source, typically a spigot attached to the house. For those who want to be able to take hot outdoor showers when it’s cold outside–an invigorating endeavor–a plumber can tap in to the indoor plumbing and set up the outdoor shower. You can even use a lake, pond, stream, or pool as your water source by installing an inline utility pump and a marine battery to pull the water from the source to the shower head.
Using hose-to-pipe adapter joints, elbow joints, a ball valve, and a rain shower head, you assemble the shower and use C-shaped hangers or plumbing ties to hold the pipe upright. You can attach the shower head to a fence, tree, or post, or you can get super creative and hang it from something with a little more flair, like an old canoe.
You can find lots of tutorials online to help you assemble the guts of your shower. Then comes the fun part: decking it out.
Lay Down the Floor
The floor of your outdoor shower can be as simple as a few pavers laid in a couple of inches of crushed gravel or an easy-to-build two-by-four frame covered in reclaimed outdoor wood.
If you’re looking for luxury, consider a tile floor. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are durable and waterproof, and you can create any type of look with them, such as a rustic look with these wood-grain patterned tiles, a sleek, modern look with subway tiles, or a natural look with a pebble mosaic floor.
Deck tiles also make a great shower floor. They’re waterproof, and they come in numerous styles, including warm wood-look tiles, and hardwood deck tiles that offer a sleek, natural look. Deck tiles are interlocking and can be laid without glue or screws over most surfaces, including on concrete and directly on the ground.
Add the Siding
The walls of your outdoor shower shield you from the world, but they should reflect the fact that this is, indeed, an outdoor shower. You can make the walls shoulder-height or build them higher for more privacy. They can extend to the ground or have some clearance, like the kind of shower you’d find in a campground. If you’re building a frame for the wall, be sure to use outdoor-grade wood. If your design calls for a tile or stone veneer wall, use waterproof cement board for the backing.
For a rustic look, you can create a gorgeous stone veneer wall or install reclaimed wood planks to the frame, either horizontally or vertically. For a dreamy, relaxing vibe that mirrors sea and sky, create a wall using glass mosaic tiles in luscious blue hues. If you’re looking for a modern, luxurious look for your outdoor shower, consider hexagon ceramic tiles, which are simple, elegant, and classic.
If your shower is in a remote location where interlopers are unlikely, consider planting tall, flowering bushes or exotic tropical plants around your shower instead of constructing a solid wall.
Add Some Greenery
Plants add another layer of nature to your outdoor shower. Think about growing vines up one or more shower walls, or make your shower large enough to accommodate some shelves or stands for moisture-loving, low-light plants like ferns, aloe vera, or snake plants. Hang trailing plants, like spider plants, Boston ferns, and string-of-pearls, from overhead beams or hangers attached to the walls. Plant native grasses or other low-maintenance plants around the outside of the shower enclosure.
If you have the space, create a two-stalled shower so that you have an extra private room for undressing and drying off. Hang hooks on the walls for robes, towels, swimsuits, and clothes, and add a bench to make dressing easier.
Pave the Way
A pathway leading to the shower enhances your design and keeps your feet clean when you leave the shower.
A boardwalk path elevates you from the ground. Secure wood or composite decking planks to a simple wooden frame made of two-by-fours to create your path.
Tumbled travertine pavers make for a scenic path to the shower. They’re extremely durable, and they have an ancient, earthy look. Install them side-by-side to create a solid pathway, or lay them several inches apart in a bed of golden crushed rock.
If the conditions are right, you can grow moss on large, flat stones to create a lush, carpeted pathway to the shower.
The Sky is the Limit
Take some time to get to know the materials that will make your outdoor shower an oasis. Gravitate toward the ones that draw you in, and create a plan that’s uniquely you. Draw inspiration for colors, materials, and design from the surrounding landscape, and browse the Internet for creative design ideas. With solid planning and a couple days’ worth of work, you can have your new outdoor shower up and running well before the end of the warm