The heat is here, making it an especially appropriate time to highlight a fresh housing trend – the outdoor shower – which I’m seeing pop up in more and more residences. Many homeowners are adding this amenity to wash off before or after a swim, and an increasing number of people are enhancing their master bathrooms with an open-air component.

In a world dominated by TV, smart phones and other forms of technology, nature and all its beauty often fade into the background. This phenomenon has inspired people to develop creative ways to incorporate the outdoors in their daily living environments. Installing a permanent outdoor extension of the master bathroom is an effective way to do so – for at least 10 minutes every day, an alfresco shower allows the a person to connect with nature in a most refreshing way.

Of course, as with any remodel, there are several important issues to consider. Before you launch into this project, let me help you think through the logistics.

Purpose

First, ask yourself a few general questions. Your answers will help guide the installation process and also clarify the more detailed design decisions.

  1. Do you need the shower to rinse of pre- or post- swims?
  2. Do you want the shower to be available to all family and friends, or to be exclusive to the master suite?
  3. Are you seeking to enhance the aesthetics of your backyard, or would you rather tuck the shower out of sight?
  4. What is the architectural style of your house, and what elements would you like to include in the shower?

Privacy

You will need to incorporate a screen to guard against nosy neighbors, especially if the shower is being installed in a suburban area with small lots. “Screen” may sound ugly, but there are many stylish options – bamboo or pergola, for example.

Try to avoid ceilings in order to amplify the natural light, and be sure to place the shower where there are no buildings peering over it. Also think about your view. Either place the shower where you can truly enjoy the existing surroundings, or landscape around the shower to add appeal.

People often choose to add outdoor showers on estate properties or more secluded second homes. In these instances, privacy is much less of a concern.

Plumbing

It is important to investigate the local building codes, because there may be regulations regarding drainage. The shower must be connected to a septic or dry-well system if shampoo and soap will be used. Homeowners should seek not only to enjoy the environment, but also to care for it with eco-friendly choices.

Materials

Durability is key, so designers usually veer away from tile and instead use stone or wood. Many people are deciding to recycle by using “found materials” such as shells, boulders or driftwood. These options are incredibly cost-effective and also eco-friendly.

I have gathered a collection of images to help you brainstorm and showcase the endless styles available. As always, feel free to contact me for further assistance.