Summer brings forth many thrills, but in many places, the heat waves are making outdoor life almost unbearable. The good news is that you are not without means of defying them. Aside from pools, outdoor showers are probably the next best thing and they are also much more affordable. They come in so many varieties and styles. What is more, there are several key elements to consider, such as plumbing, fixtures, drainage, and privacy. So, take a deep breath. Here is how you can easily add an outdoor shower and create a soothing ritual of refreshment in the open.
1. Choose the right stage
First off, you need a spot for the shower. Bear in mind that it is highly advisable to use a firm, level surface, which is able to withstand water and heavy foot traffic. In other words, decks, patios, gravel driveways, and stone paths can be good candidates. Secondly, the area you pick should have access to plumbing, unless you want to maneuver around this requirement with a garden hose. In any event, once you select a suitable location, you can proceed to plan other aspects.
There is no shortage of creative options and projects to explore. They add both prime functionality and great appeal to the backyard. Some of them are quite simple and take an hour or two to set up. Others demand a bit more investment of time and money. Let us start with an easy one— a watering can with a pull string. Ok, maybe that is too simple. How about a setup that involves a backyard tree to hang a hose on and a ladder to hold your towels?
2. Enclosure options
Of course, these quick-to-assemble showers lack one thing and that is privacy while enjoying a rejuvenating shower. If you want to stay out of sight, you cannot just think about the sunlight exposure and the view (that being said, a sunny area is a sound choice because it prevents mold and rot buildup). Luckily, there are many DIY shower enclosures that could fit the bill. I am a fan of the one that is made from two hula hoops with fabric sewn in between them.
For a more sturdy solution, go for something like corrugated galvanized metal panels. When bolted to wooden frames, they are quite stable. Moreover, they look good and are quite resistant to rusting. Wooden solutions also do the trick. Take apart pallets and create a makeshift barrier. For this task, you would need a pair of thick work gloves, eye goggles, and a tool such as Duckbill Deck Wrecker to take the nails out safely.
Another neat option is to reclaim and repurpose an old wooden door or a garden gate. On the other hand, those who wish to bring some extra flavor with bold textures and colors should use shower curtains or other outdoor fabrics. One can easily hang them on bendable or half-oval shower rods or a bendable metal rod. You will have a nice enclosure that pops up in the backyard.
In case you have or are prepared to build a trellis, pergola or arbor structure, you are blessed with a great platform for mounting shower fixtures. You have a lot of free building plans online that can serve as a project roadmap. And when it comes to fixtures, there is again a creative idea galore. Drill tiny holes through the bottom of a soda can or a wooden bucket. Simply mount them using a large L-shaped bracket.
4.The plumbing options
Plumbing is an essential element that ensures everything works like a charm. We mentioned before garden hoses, which are an alternative to fixed pipes. Your basic options are to install cold water hose plumbing, hot and cold outdoor faucets, or fixed plumbing pipes. They all have their pros and cons you should weigh. For instance, a cold water hose is the easiest solution, but it means only cold water. Note that depending on the complexity of the project, a professional plumber may be required.
While at it, consult with the contractor or municipality to see if you need a permit for gray-water runoff system. Most solutions are as simple as having pitches of land that direct water away from the structure. In general, to find the most viable option, you should speak with drainage professionals. They can help you build a direct garden drainage, French drain/dry well, or a fixed drain.
All that is left are some bells and whistles, and you can let your inspiration go wild. So, there you go, it is time to beat the heat in the best way possible, with outdoor water bliss.
Every summer day a vacation
As you have seen, there are lots of simple and practical ideas to entertain. If you also want to go a bit more elaborate, be my guest. Just do yourself a favor and plan ahead of time. Take into account the purpose of the shower, and also how often it’s going to be used. Pick a perfect spot and then take your time figuring out staples of a shower setup— fixtures, plumbing, and enclosure. Put your DIY skills to good use, but for complicated setups, work with the plumbing and construction professionals.