Have you ever thought about installing an outdoors shower in your garden or back yard? Most countries in the world will have several months of sufficiently good weather to enjoy such a facility.
There are plenty of variations to choose from and it can be as inexpensive or as lavish an installation as you wish – it is totally up to you. We had a simple shower in our courtyard in Cape Town which my husband was happy to use winter and summer. There was nothing more invigorating or refreshing than enjoying the fresh air and feeling of being at one with nature while showering outdoors. Now that we have moved to England, he is busy thinking about how he can enjoy one here - at the very least for the summer months.
Outdoor showers are not just for those lucky enough to have a beach house or a cabin by the lake – they are a practical installation for homes in all locations. You just need a bit of a garden or courtyard and some plumbing close at hand.
Some of the benefits
- On a hot day and particularly if you don't have any other way to cool down, take a cold outdoor shower.
- Working hard in the garden, cleaning your car or returning from a cycle or jog? Take a refreshing out door shower and rinse your dirty clothes at the same time before they go to the laundry. After any physical exertion, an outdoor shower is the best way to rinse off sweat, grass clippings or dirt before entering your house.
- Spent the day at the beach and still seem to have sand lingering on clothes and body? An outdoor shower will wash away salt, sand and ocean or lake water before entering the house.
- Parents with small children will find an outdoor shower a fun way for children to clean up at the end of the day instead of bath time. And if they have been playing outside most of the day, your bathroom and home will stay clean! Showering first outdoors prevents dirt and germs from coming into the house on the children.
- For those with a pool or a hot tub in the yard, an outdoor shower, with an enclosure large enough for swimmers to change in, is an added bonus. A quick shower before getting in keeps the pool or tub water cleaner and rinsing afterwards takes away any chlorine residue. They can shower, dry and dress away from the house, meaning no more wet foot prints into the house. An outdoor shower helps keep the mudroom and entry ways to the house free of wet foot prints, towels and drips.
- Even dog owners may find an outdoor shower a welcome addition to the home. Washing your pet in the bathroom usually ends up a mess with shedding pet hair and dripped water everywhere. Bathing an animal outdoors is so much easier with an enclosure large enough for both the pet and the owner! No more wet clothes from bathing the dog! And the pets can get dry outside in the fresh air - especially on a warm day.
What are the practicalities?
If you don't want to go to the expense of installing a permanent outdoor shower, think about setting up a portable one instead. This can be quite a straightforward affair with the shower head hooked up to the garden faucet with the garden hose. If you want to get a little more fancy, you can create a little enclosure that will afford you some privacy while taking your shower. In most cases this would not be necessary with the principle aim being to simply have a brief rinse to remove any excess dirt or perhaps some sweat. These types of outdoor shower set ups are also handy for taking away with you on a camping holiday.
Ideally, an outdoor garden shower should be properly installed with a concrete slab and drain to help keep mess and excess water contained. Another suggestion is the use of a hand shower, rather than a fixed shower head, especially if you need to clean items such as garden tools or pets or wet suits and surf boards.
Readily available outdoor shower kits are easy to construct. Simply connect the outdoor water hose to the shower hose. For hot water in an outdoor shower, use a hose splitter to attach a hose to a cold water spigot and a warm water spigot. The plumbing fixtures in an outdoor shower should be made of stainless steel or nickel. These hold up better to salt air particularly if you live close to a lake or the ocean. Chrome will pit and brass will oxidize in sea air.
Hygiene is important too
Keep your outdoor shower clean by washing the fixtures with soap and water and a weak solution of vinegar. Rinse well with plain water. To clean an outdoor shower constructed of PVC, use the same solution and a soft bristle brush, washing down the entire shower to discourage and eliminate any algae. Keeping the outdoor shower clean is important as there is always a risk in places like warm and damp shower floors of picking up the HPV virus in the form of plantar warts
or contracting athletes foot
from others who might have either of these conditions.
With summer in the northern hemisphere not too far away, now is the time to plan your own outdoor shower so that you can have months of healthy enjoyment ahead of you.