Jungalow Founder Justina Blakeney’s Ode to the Outdoor Shower

A Los Angeles designer known for her interiors overflowing with flora celebrates bathing en plein air.
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We put in an outdoor shower at the same time that we got a hot tub. We converted this little private alleyway behind our house in a very scrappy way. Our contractors dug a French drain, and then we put cement tiles over it. On one wall we added a shower stand connected to the inside plumbing, so we have warm water out there, which is key to having a really great outdoor shower. I hung some little reclaimed mirrors on the opposite wall so that when I’m washing my face or doing my hair, I have a vanity. It’s like the comfort of indoors meets the wildness of the outdoors.

I imagined that we would pretty much use it just to rinse off before and after we went into the hot tub. But what actually has happened is that it has turned into my primary shower. I shower out there every single day. And my husband and my eight-year-old daughter do, too. It’s so nice to throw off your clothes, run outside, and hop in. I air dry in the sun, and there’s something about the combination of sunshine, a little bit of wind or breeze, and water that feels thoroughly cleansing. I just feel so clean afterward.

During the pandemic, we’ve been spending so much more time indoors than we used to, and going outside to spend 15 minutes in the sun and get fresh air and a shower has been awesome. When I’m showering inside, I’m running through all the things I have to do that day. I’m thinking about the deadlines, the work calls, all that humdrum stuff.

Outside, I’m in a different head space. I’m taking time to look up at the clouds, and I’m looking up at birds flying by—or, if it’s night, looking up at the stars—and I’m connecting with nature in a very casual way instead of being really in my head.

It offers a sense of expansion, which I think is really important right now. 


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