DIY Projects

By Jodie Zhang -

How to Build an Outdoor Shower

Have you ever dreamed of adding an outdoor shower to your house? Why wait? Installing one may be simpler than you think. Here are some important factors to consider before embarking on your next project.

Material

A great outdoor shower comes in many shapes and sizes. The materials you choose can drive both the aesthetic and emotional tone of your project. Wood, a perennial top choice, gives off a feeling of warmth and earthiness. Simple, rugged, and practical, corrugated metal is another popular material for outdoor projects. Other great options include concrete, stone, and brick, which are durable and easy to clean. Finding a great combination of materials can also work beautifully.

Location

To find the ideal site for your outdoor shower, start by locating areas around your house with access to existing plumbing. Next, consider the bigger picture and think about its primary function. Will it be used as a rinse-off station, or as a luxurious retreat into nature? Use this information to help you determine where your shower should live on site. Lastly, for extra comfort, orient your shower so that it receives the warmth of the sun.

Privacy

The issue of privacy may factor largely or minimally into the design for your outdoor shower depending on its designated use, its location on site, and who the shower is designed for. The trick is in finding the right balance between feeling connected with nature and maintaining a comfortable level of privacy. A bit of online research will help you discover an array of creative options for your shower enclosure. Perhaps instead of being enclosed by four walls, your shower is oriented to showcase a particular view. Expanding your idea of how you think of inside/ outside space might take your design to an unexpected place.

Plumbing

You can quickly hook up a cold water shower by connecting your shower fixture to your outdoor faucet. If hot water is a must, we recommend working with a plumber to connect the shower to your existing indoor plumbing system. Hot water can be supplied by installing a hot water faucet next to the existing cold water faucet, and connecting with pipes. If you want the pipes to be hidden from view, direct plumbing may be your best option. If you live in an area with cold winters, direct plumbing will require necessary insulation to prevent from bursting.

Drainage

The simplest drainage option is to channel the graywater from your outdoor shower directly into your yard or grass. This type of drainage is best used if your shower is positioned a sufficient distance away from your house, to prevent water from seeping into your foundation. Also, this drainage method works best if your yard is adequately porous so that water can absorb quickly into the soil.

If your shower is positioned close to your house, a French drain is an effective and elegant solution. This type of drain is constructed using a perforated pipe topped with gravel, and laid inside a trench. A simplified version of the French drain called a dry well can also be used, and is made using only gravel. Whichever drainage option you choose, we recommend that you consult a plumber to design a system that best suits your needs.

Like

Get a Daily Dose of Design

Sign up for the Dwell Daily Newsletter and never miss our new features, photos, home tours, stories, and more.