A basic outdoor shower is easy to rig up and the look opens up a natural world of creativity.
Two years ago, while visiting our daughter in Michigan, we watched the contractors install a basic outdoor shower on the back deck that leads to the pool. The entire project took most of the morning and by afternoon the little ones were rinsing themselves off after a swim. Adding a basic outdoor shower isn’t as complicated as it looks and it isn’t necessarily expensive either.
Apart from the irony of a working shower attached to a tree [top], showers don’t get more basic than this one. In fact, the presence of a detachable hand shower — in addition to the rain shower head — makes this set up more complicated than many people have indoors. But with a hand shower, flexibility is key. These components are from the Canadian plumbing purveyor Riobel at efaucets.com.
I borrowed Bob Vila’s handy diagram to show how simple a basic outdoor shower can be. It also suggests the overall shower height of 7-feet with a breakdown of component measurement, valve height and bracing for the main pipe. As we saw with the most rustic set up in our Modern Outdoor Showers, raw copper plumbing pipe and a standard hardware store on/off valve can be used if the shower is to be a cold-water-only set up. Otherwise a pressure balance valve — and access to cold and hot water — are needed. A pressure balance valve has a single lever and mixes hot and cold water. How it works is explained in my post on Shower System Intelligence.
A professionally constructed and landscaped deck in a California home was built by outdoor specialists Frank & Grossman. The Brazilian ipe wood deck houses a large Bradford hot tub. Off to one side is a simple looking outdoor shower but one that’s decidedly luxurious. Not only are the main post and shelf constructed from ipe, a hard-wearing tropical wood that’s the architects’ wood of choice for wet locations, shower pipe and fittings are stainless steel. Stainless steel always boosts the cost of plumbing fixtures but it’s an ideal material for outdoor showers as it’s the most durable and essentially corrosion free.
Glossy black planking is a standard Scandinavian treatment for building exteriors. A Swedish house boasts a simple shower with a bridge mixer that has separate cross handles for hot and cold water plus a rain shower head. A a piece of stone acts as the base with drainage rocks all around to disperse the water run off. This basic chrome-plated brass system is a hot and cold water shower from the Outdoor Shower Company. American-made (who knows how it got to Sweden) It comes with stainless steel wall brackets. A variety of shower heads and options are shown on the website.
Another approach to outdoor showers is modular. Here’s a clever, portable Cascade unit from Tradewinds that connects directly to a garden hose. The shower is made of galvanized steel with an acacia wood base. The head is a tubular rain shower and there are even nylon glides on the bottom so it can be moved easily. For me, this is a genius cold-water only solution to an outdoor shower designed by a Belgian company.
An eco-friendly cabin on an island near Vancouver boasts an outdoor shower attached to the side of the deck. For anyone who wants to interact with the outdoors, this hand-shower and basic spigot set up functions like a rustic outdoor bath — which may be just the ticket for some summer vacations.
(Source: House&Home, bobvilla.com, Frank & Grossman, Hus&Hem, Apartment Therapy, Dwell)
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