Outdoor showers space what i look forward to many during our annual summer excursion to the phibìc Carolina shore. More than swimming in the heat ocean, curling up with a publication under the umbrella v my toe in the sand, or attacking a heap of peel-and-eat shrimp, it’s the ritual of showering in the open air that i love. “You room showering again, Mom?” is a familiar refrain.

You are watching: How to install an outdoor shower with hot water

Every year ns ask the exact same question: “Why don’t I have an outdoor shower in ~ home?” And, every year I return established to number that out. But then ns don’t know where to start. (Plumbing? Drainage? Privacy?) Well, enough. This year I took on a mission to discover out every little thing there is to know around installation. Here’s what i learned.

How do outdoor showers work?

Above: one outdoor shower head in southern Carolina. Photo courtesy of Heather A. Wilson, Architect. For an ext on this project, view Steal This Look: A Charleston pool Pavilion with an outdoor Shower.

Space demands aren’t as restrictive as I first assumed. Here’s what come consider:

You need a firm, level surface that deserve to withstand water and foot traffic. Good spots include decks (even an upper-level deck, if water can drain), lawns, rock patios, rock paths, and gravel driveways. Think around how girlfriend intend usage your outdoor shower. Come clean dogs and muddy feet? to rinse off after a day in ~ the beach? Or are you lucky sufficient to live in a warm climate wherein you can have your everyday shower outside? site the shower because that convenience. Privacy is key. I think my top deck would be a an excellent spot (for convenience, views, and sunlight), however my neighbors can not agree. A clear area is best, both for the user’s benefit and also to avoid mold and rot. Finally, the ar must be obtainable to pipes (see below for details).
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Above: one outdoor shower head on the facade that a farmhouse in new York, draft by architectural designer and also builder Tom Givone, supplies easy access. Tour much more of this Floating Farmhouse in Upstate brand-new York. Photography via Givone Home.

Can you have outdoor showers without plumbing?

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Above: the end showers with garden hoses need no plumbing; a stand-alone Manufactum Outdoor shower (€125) has actually a portable tripod base and a hand level to control water flow.

How carry out you add plumbing for outdoor showers?

Outdoor showers can be plumbed with a garden hose or with fixed pipes. Here are three options, from straightforward to more complex. Be sure to inspect with your contractor or jurisdiction about permits and also gray-water runoff requirements.

Cold-Water water tap Plumbing: The simplest setup entails running a basic garden hose between a faucet and a shower fixture. Yes, this way cold showers only. But that may be all you need if you’re using the shower only in hot summer month or to rinse off dogs or sandy feet.

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Above: An outdoor shower with a hose connection. To it is provided water, a garden hose is linked to the base of the Screw Coro outdoor Shower; £589 from made in Design.

Hot and also Cold the end Faucets: You can tap right into your home’s hot-water supply because that an outdoor shower. The easiest way is to have actually a plumber install a hot-water faucet alongside your currently (and cold water only) garden faucet. Then you can attach two hoses easily and quickly to the out fixture. Make certain to use heavy-duty hoses. For more durability, think about stainless stole washing-machine hoses. Installation is a breeze v this option, and it’s much less costly than long-term water lines. It also avoids frozen pipe in the winter, together you deserve to just detach the hoses and store them.

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Above: Side-by-side hot- and also cold-water faucets. Because that information and also prices the the company’s custom-built showers, see Cape cod Outdoor shower head Company. Photograph via Cape cod Outdoor shower Company.

Fixed pipes Pipes: Hooking as much as the permanent water present in your residence is one more option. Pipes deserve to be run a quick distance increase the side of the house to it is in attached come a shower head fixture that’s an installed onto the siding. Plumbing likewise can be set up to it is provided water to a shower positioned far from the residence via pipe that exit the house and also are hidden underground. While buried permanent lines are more aesthetically pleasing than hoses, they’re susceptible to freezing and cracking in cold climates and must it is in drained in the winter.

How do outdoor showers drain?

Outdoor showers don’t usually need complicated drainage systems, especially if the shower is mounted a street from the house, or if the pitch of the land directs water away from the structure. Here are some usual drainage solutions. (Whatever her situation, us recommend consulting v a professional around drainage.)

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Above: A basic outdoor shower in ~ a swedish Summer house by Lasc Studio drains straight into the ground. Is that a wooden palette together a shower stand? photo by Laura Stamer.

Direct Garden Drainage: The most common, easiest, and also eco-friendly means to drain is come let the gray water seep straight into your garden. Will this work-related for your shower site? If the floor is fairly porous, then the answer is yes, as long as the shower isn’t used too often and also isn’t nearby to her house’s foundation. You can test how easily water will seep right into the soil of a potential shower site by dumping a big bucket of water and timing exactly how long it takes to disappear. If the water stays on the surface for five or more minutes, you may want to take into consideration a dry well or French drain.

French drainpipe or dried Well: If her shower is walking to be on the facade that your home or nearby, you have to keep water far from the foundation. Know your existing perimeter drainage device to decide how finest to combine shower drainage. If you have perimeter French drainpipe pipes, be sure your shower head is positioned to take advantage of the existing drainage system. Alternatively, you deserve to install a basic dry fine (like a French drainpipe without the pipe) by digging a deep pit and also filling it with gravel to distribution water slowly into the neighboring soil.

Fixed Drain: Some an ext elaborate setups use resolved drains the feed into a house’s wastewater system.

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Above: photo courtesy of Ben Young see Architect.

An open-air shower should be simply that, claims Idaho-based see architect Ben Young: “You’re out there in nature, therefore why not experience that feeling of being in nature?”

For more, see exclusive Idaho: A Rustic Outdoor shower in sunlight Valley.

Additional Drainage Requirements

Shower Drainage Pans: similar to the shower pans on at home showers, drainage pans linked to a hose deserve to collect, direct, and drain water away from the house and also into the garden or an existing drain.

carry out outdoor showers need a shower base?

Yes, for the comfort and also stability of the human taking a shower. The base need to be a water-resistant product that is stable to was standing on and permeable for drainage. It can be an present surface, such together decking or a stone patio. Or, if an outdoor shower is installed in a location with a slippery or uncomfortable surface such together gravel, girlfriend can set a little base on peak of the surface.

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Above: A Pilotis outdoor shower head made of north pine logs has a madness to rotate on because that a foot wash and also a faucet to attach a watering hose; for information and also pricing, view Douches de Jardins.

How do you build an enclosure for an out shower?

This is a concern of placement and privacy. Just how much do you want to bare? Enclosures can range from a an easy shower curtain come a wooden stall through a hinged door. One enclosure must enable for wait circulation so it dries easily (to prevent mold and rot). Likewise consider the landscape: perform you have a hedge or row of trees that might screen the shower?

Martha Stewart supplies an the end Shower display screen Project because that freestanding showers.

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Above: from Belgium-based TradeWinds, a portable Fieldshow’r weighs 22 pounds and also has galvanized and powder-coated steel pipes and a foot pedal. It have the right to be converted into a foot shower and also connects come a conventional garden hose. Because that information and also pricing, contact TradeWinds.

How can I make an outdoor shower … or perform I need a plumber?

This depends on the intricacy of the project. If you’re trying to keep costs down, you deserve to purchase a straightforward hose-fed shower and be great to go. If you desire something much more permanent and are handy with a wrench, view Sunset’s accuse on How to do an the end Shower. For complicated set-ups, us recommend hiring a professional. In addition to plumbing, you might need to alter siding, develop an enclosure, or include a surface to stand on. If your projects require any or all of these, you can need a contractor fairly than a plumber. Numerous companies, including Manufactum, Tectona, and Coro, offer hose-ready outdoor showers.

For much more outdoor showers, check out 10 simple Pieces: instant Outdoor Showers. And, for particular resources see High/Low: rough Outdoor shower head Fixtures and Outdoor bathing Area ~ above a Manhattan Rooftop.

For an ext outdoor projects, browse every one of our Hardscaping 101 features.

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Finally, get much more ideas on exactly how to integrate and design an out shower v our Hardscaping 101: out Showers design guide.