Have you ever thought how handy it would be to have somewhere to get cleaned up after you’ve been gardening or mowing the lawn? Or to cool off after your morning run? Or after sunbathing on your rooftop terrace or balcony? Or even after a trip to the beach or the sandbox or after making mud pies? And how about those muddy paws that track dirt all over the house? And if you have a pool or hot tub, you’ve surely thought about how great it would be to have a spot for people to rinse and dry off rather than leaving wet footprints across your floor. Or who knows, maybe you just like being at one with nature?
For a fun little home improvement, let yourself be inspired by cottage and resort-styles and install an outdoor shower in your backyard for all those moments when it is more practical to get cleaned up outside while enjoying the fresh air.
• When choosing the location and features of your outdoor shower, think about grade, drainage, privacy, and lighting. You can keep it really low-tech and hook it up to a rain barrel or your garden hose but anyone who has run through a garden sprinkler knows how cold that water can be. Consult a plumber if you’d like something a bit more luxurious with hot water.
• To build your shower, you’ll want to use materials that will withstand the elements and high humidity, resist mold and which will not be slippery. Pressure treated wood is an option but the chemicals can leach out. Alternatively you could use cedar or composite decking materials as they will last a long time and require no regular maintenance.
• If the main purpose of your outdoor shower is to hose off dirty feet, clean off messy kids or muddy paws, a detachable showerhead would be ideal. But, if you plan on lounging and enjoying the outdoor shower experience, a rain showerhead is perfect for giving you that “singing in the rain” feeling. Whatever you choose, a low-flow showerhead is a must so that you aren’t using excessive amounts of water which will need to drain somewhere in your yard.
• While we’re on the subject of draining, check to find out if there are any county regulations or permits required before installing an outdoor shower. In some cases, you may need to have a plumber come install the pipes and fixtures and connect the drain to your sewer.
• If you live in a cold climate, don’t forget to turn off the tap from the inside before winter sets in or you’ll end up with burst pipes.
• Decorate your outdoor shower area with waterproof cabana-style fabric, some clothes hooks and weather resistant chair. Be sure to always have clean flip-flops, big fluffy towels and a bathrobe on hand. Having eco-friendly soaps and shampoo will add the final touch to this fun outdoor retreat.