bathroom designs

Outdoor Shower - Naturally!

Having an outdoor shower can give you a truly cathartic feeling as well as being sensuously liberating and 'being one with nature'.

Typically a garden shower may be used poolside, to rinse off sand and sea or to cool off on a hot day. There may be no need for privacy because you'll be wearing swimwear.

outdoor shower

However, our focus here is on having your garden shower as part of, or an extention to your bathroom where you have total privacy and the freedom to take a shower in the nude.

The elements used to create privacy could be wholly natural and from natural materials. So think bamboo blinds, linen curtains, wood fabric screens, tall shrubs ...and so on.

Outdoor showers are open to the sky and showering at night under the starlight sky will be a unique experience!

Just take note: If you have tall buildings overlooking your outdoor shower area, opt for a lattice or trellis "ceiling" with colorful climbing vines.

Plumbing for Garden Showers

Regular outdoor showers don't require any special plumbing fixtures. In fact, installing a garden shower costs almost the same as an indoor shower.

The distance from your hot water heater to your outdoor shower must be short so that there is little or no energy wastage. Instead of using your existing hot water system, you can hook your shower to a solar water heater (that you can build yourself!). Not only will this turn out to be super cost effective, but it will also utilize all the available sunlight to give you hot water at your command.

Fix a second set of plumbing controls at a remote, but insulated, location. This is important if you live in a cold region. Learn how to drain the water pipes to get the maximum use from them per season.

Shower Drainage

You have to consider the local building codes and regulations as well as the design to ensure that drainage is not a problem. After all, when you use hot water, soap, and shampoo, the resulting waste water needs to be engineered into a septic tank or a dry-well system. And out of sheer respect for your environment, collect the gray water and use it for watering your garden and plants.

outdoor shower ideas

A suitable location for gray water dispersal is one that inclines away from the house. A more detailed route may need to be worked out to encourage proper drainage of waste water.

Design Note: An idea for a free-standing outside shower is to create it in the form of a shell/spiral. This will ensure total privacy without having to enclose the shower area entirely.

The waste water then drains into a buried holding tank which overflows into a rock-filled trench and soaks away.

outdoor showers
  • Use recycled materials to give your outdoor shower a new dimension! Take something that's fulfilled one purpose of its life and give it a whole new purpose, save money, and indulge yourself like never before!
  • Flooring material should offer comfort and be slip and decay resistant. Options include stone, millstones, limestone, pebble stones, bricks, and wood like cedar/mahogany.
  • Always use a pressure treated framework under the deck, while leaving enough ventilation space below for proper drying.
  • Ensure water doesn't spread around. Use rocks, bricks, and/or stones and drain the water onto quick draining or sandy soil.
  • Use only eco-friendly personal care products so as not to harm the plantings nor clog the drains.

The Ideal Opportunity for an Oasis
garden shower

With so much air and natural light available, you may choose to create your outdoor shower within a "forest". Just think of the variety of foliage shapes and colors and the odd exotic orchid or anthurium that you can play with!

If you have the space, but no access to the outside (e.g. upstairs) you can still create the look and feel of outdoor showers:

  • Add a skylight and windows to create the illusion of a solarium and fill it with lush plants. An opening skylight that provides airflow will further enhance the feeling of being outdoors.
  • A partial glass screen will keep most of the water within the shower area so there's no need for drainage within the plant area.

Some bathroom designs featured on this page are with the kind permission of
Sun Resorts Limited as per the copyright notices on the images.

If just having an outdoor shower is not enough for you, then take the concept further and go the whole way!
Visit our page on Outdoor Bathrooms for more ideas and guidelines.

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