An outdoor shower can be a very simple or elaborate addition to a home, depending upon its use and location on a property. Simple mobile outdoor showers that connect to garden hose are available, as well as custom made showers built into a wall with enclosures, seating, and other accessories. With proper installation and maintenance, an outdoor shower can be just as useful as any traditional shower.
An outdoor shower can be a great convenience for any home. Outdoor showers are chosen for many different reasons. They can be a decorative and practical addition to any pool or yard. People use them simply to rinse off after swimming, while others build showers to clean up after working in the garden or exercising. Some outdoor showers are used by guests, and some are built for the homeowner's use only. The function of an outdoor shower depends upon the space and resources available and personal preference.
Outdoor showers are generally either stand alone or mounted to a wall. Stand alone outdoor showers can be moved and attached to hoses. This can include a basic outdoor hose or custom tubing purchased at a store. If a single hose shower is chosen, it will probably be very mobile, but only provide cold water. Double hoses usually come with tower style showers, and can provide both hot and cold water from an outdoor plumbing source, with more temperature control. Tower showers will be more expensive but are also mobile. Because wall mounted outdoor showers are not mobile, it is very important to decide the function of the shower as soon as possible. Wall mounted shower models can also use an outdoor water source, and are generally built against or into the wall of a house. Plumbing can be less expensive and more easily hidden in a wall mounted outdoor shower.
Privacy in an outdoor shower should be kept in mind. If a shower will be used for rinsing purposes only, a hand made fence or rigged shower curtain can suffice. For full use showers, store bought enclosures can be purchased that include space and accessories for shampoo, towel racks, soap, and a seating. A changing area can also be built into enclosures. If an outdoor shower is placed near a kitchen or bathroom, it may be possible to tap into both hot and cold water lines. Outdoor showers installed further away from a home will need either a hose or a pipe running through the yard, and may not be as aesthetically pleasing. When deciding what fixtures to use in the shower, keep the decorative scheme in mind, as well as practical considerations. Copper and bronze can age well, but anything very shiny will eventually dull. Rust resistant stainless steel is the most commonly recommended material for outdoor shower fixtures, especially in salt water climates, and is easy to clean with warm soapy water; just be sure to dry well with a towel.
An outdoor shower can be just as elaborate and elegant as any indoor shower if the proper time and care is taken when installing it. Different shower heads are available to make the shower experience as luxurious as desired. Some of the features for different models have different settings such as rain-style, can be hand held, and spray water from different locations throughout the pipe to provide a full-body wash. The floor of an outdoor shower can also be more comfortable. Wood floors similar to deck floors can be ideal, but should be treated on a regular basis to avoid water damage. Rock floors are another decorative option, as well as custom teak mats. Lighting can also be added for night use.
If an outdoor shower is built in a cold climate, there is a chance that the pipes might burs. All pipes and hoses should be frost proof to prevent damage during winter months. An easily accessible shut off valve should be available in case of an emergency. To prevent mold and mildew, make sure there is proper ventilation in any enclosures and place the outdoor shower in the sun if possible to help keep it dry naturally. Scalding can also be a concern if hot water runs through the outdoor shower pipes. An anti-scald valve that regulates temperature is highly recommended.
The location of a shower should also be important, not only for aesthetic purposes but also for drainage consideration as well. While most outdoor showers drain into stone beds or the ground, building codes should be referenced to make sure this is not in violation of any water quality regulations in the community. A dry well can be built to prevent this using a liner and rocks. If absolutely necessary, the waste water can be rerouted into a sewer system.