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Enjoy Nature with an Outdoor Shower

By Brett Freeman
Enjoy Nature with an Outdoor Shower

Installing an outdoor shower can be a snap. For under $300 you can get a kit that hooks up to your garden hose and includes a faucet tower and shower head, soap dish, and towel rack. That setup leaves you short on hot water and long on exposure, but if all you want is a quick rinse when you're going in or out of the pool or coming back from the beach, it's all you need.

If you're looking to savor the au naturel shower experience, however, you want to add amenities--hot water, a screen or walls, and cabinets for storing towels and robes. Ask yourself how and how often you use an outdoor shower to help determine how luxurious or how basic it should be.

Location, Location, Location

If you're planning to include a hot water line for your outdoor shower, consider a location that abuts your kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room. Having a nearby hot water line to tap into can significantly reduce the amount of plumbing work that needs to be done. Also take into account the view, both from the inside and the outside. If your property has a dramatic garden or natural views, try to situate your shower so that you can enjoy them while you stand in the warm spray. At the same time, try to avoid giving your neighbors an equally dramatic, if considerably more awkward, view of you and your guests in the buff.

Setting a Screen

Your shower's location helps determine what type of screens or walls to install. If your shower is going to be on a deck or somewhere else where space is limited, consider using retractable screens that can be stowed out of the way when the shower isn't in use. If you decide on something more elaborate, take care that your shower's walls don't inhibit your views or encroach on your sense of being outdoors. And remember to use pressure treated lumber or wood such as cedar or teak that can stand up to the weather.

Comfort and Common Sense

Choose a comfortable bottom surface for your shower, something that is easy on the feet. Smooth paving stones set into tumbled river rock, for example, provide comfort and traction while allowing for good drainage. When buying fixtures, make sure your salesperson knows you are installing the shower outside. Stainless steel and copper fixtures are a good choice because they can endure outdoor weather. And consider a detachable nozzle, which makes it easy to rinse your hands and feet when a full-body wash isn't required.

Source: This Old House, Outdoor Showers, by Nancy Beiles

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