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6 Smart Tips for Outdoor Showers

Stop dirt, sand, and more at the door.

Outdoor Shower at Coastal Timber Home


Photo: Pottery Barn

 An outdoor shower is perfect for gardeners, fishermen and swimmers to keep dirt and sand outside where it belongs. Assuming you don’t live in an area governed by a home owners’ association (or, if you do, that you’ve checked with your HOA to ensure they’re allowed), check out these six tips to ponder when designing an outdoor shower for your timber home.

 

Plumbing

Unless your outdoor shower is going to be as simple as suspending a hose from a hose bib, before you even think about its design, plan the plumbing. It’s very likely you’ll need a permit. Go through the proper channels so that you don’t have to tear your shower out because it’s not legal.
 

Location

Choose a spot on your home’s exterior that gets a lot of direct sunlight. Not only will this create a more enjoyable experience, it will enable the area to dry faster, reducing the chance for mold or mildew. In relation to the house, position the shower near a door — ideally near a mudroom, laundry area or other utilitarian space — so you don’t track water into the house and can drop wet towels in a place that makes sense.
 

Drainage

Make sure the floor is sloped or even raised off the ground so water won’t pool. Even a little standing water can cause you to slip or become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
 

Materials

It’s tempting to use your house as the back wall of an outdoor shower, but this isn’t recommended, especially in a home with as much exposed wood as a timber home. Instead, self-enclose the shower in a material meant to withstand that much moisture. If you want to continue the wood look, cedar, teak and cypress are species that can handle the humidity, but consider manmade materials, like cement board, as options, too. For flooring, look to durable materials like wood planks and concrete or brick pavers, paying attention to Tip #3.
 

Privacy

Some outdoor showers are an enclosed box with a door. Others are an open wall, separated by curtains. It all depends on your location and your comfort level. Make sure your enclosure (especially if it’s fabric) is designed for outdoor use.
 

Amenities

An outdoor shower can be as basic as a showerhead and spigot to rinse your feet. But some timber home owners go all out, designing the space as if it were indoors. Built-in shelving and niches for soaps and shampoos are common, as are outdoor linen closets to keep towels at hand. Wall hooks provide a convenient spot to stash clothes. A teak bench will allow you to sit while you spritz. And a few decorative touches will go a long way toward creating a luxurious experience.