Want to make your Outdoor Showers more functional, a little more summer-oriented? Have you considered an outdoor shower? These are good if you own an in-ground pool and want people to rinse off before they bring the stench of chlorine into the house or if you have a private, covered backyard where you need a personal space to enjoy outdoors.
Whatever your reason, a DIY outdoor showers are both possible and more straightforward than it seems. It’s such a great concept that we often think, “There’s no way I could do that,” when you can.
We’ll review a few tidbits of information here and guide you through an outdoor shower’s whole point and purpose.
Is it Hard to Make Your Own DIY Outdoor Showers?
It depends on you. If you are making one with plumbing that runs to the main home, a new tankless water heater, or containers to store sun-heated water to shower with, you’re going to run into obstacles.
The simplest form of a shower is a big tub with a slow feed down to a Outdoor Showers head, with no pressure other than gravity pulling the water down.
But that’s not aesthetic.
I wouldn’t need that barebones basic contraption in my back area, especially if I have it so people can rinse off after using my private pool. Instead, most people would go with an enclosure, which you can DIY with time and know-how.
Build the enclosure.
You don’t want your neighbors to see all your business, so an enclosure is a must for most outdoor showers.
You can get away with a half-wall partition without any issue if you’re a gentleman. It cuts down on material costs, saving you a ton of money.
We need to use durable but not expensive materials to build the partition. One go-to outdoor material is bamboo, so let’s look at why.
Bamboo is durable, affordable, and everywhere.
It grows quicker than wood, it’s cheaper, and it has solid aesthetics to boot. As an inexpensive choice for an outdoor showers enclosure, bamboo offers water resistance and holds up well against the elements.
You have to think that bamboo mainly grows in humid climates, so being subjected to water from the shower and the heat of the outdoors at the same time isn’t going to degrade it. Bamboo must be sealed to remain vibrant, but not as much as regular wood.
Cotton canvas is waterproof by design. But, unfortunately, you rarely get even basic-level canvas, and it’s not watertight to some extent.
The color grading systems for different tarps in the US define their thickness. So get something similar to this, and get a waterproof canvas cover with which you’ll feel comfortable.
Why do you need this?
You could make a wooden Outdoor Showers with it if you don’t need to go through the hassle of sealing off the wood, or you could use the canvas to cover your battery when it’s not in use. Otherwise, your fixtures will rust for kingdom come, and we don’t want that.
It would be best if you had traction. When your bare feet are on the bare pavement, you get a bit of footing that helps you stay steady and not slip. We’ve all declined the concrete near the pool, but when done correctly, it’s a very high-traction surface that you won’t be slipping on.
Keep that in mind, and you won’t be running or moving all that much, and you’ll likely be standing within a maximum of five square feet. Concrete works exceptionally well.
But are they laying down concrete?
That’s another storyline. You can get concrete tiles yourself since you’re not making a literal foundation here, and as long as they are fastened to the ground with steel rods or something of the sort, your enclosure shouldn’t fall or have any problems.
I recommend either going with concrete tiles and leveling the ground yourself (it doesn’t take too much know-how) or paying someone to professionally lay down a patch of concrete in your back area, typically for this outdoor showers. It’s not a big job.
Suppose you don’t want to use bamboo. It’s okay. You can use wood, but you must be smart about using it.
Wood needs to be sealed, mainly when used in an environment like this.
Usually, we seal the wood to protect it from damage caused by rainfall and storms, but your shower will constantly pelt the sides of this wood enclosure (or at least the wood frame for the section), and we don’t want it to rot.
A thick wood sealer quality on the outside and inside of your enclosure and frame would be best.
It acts like a rain jacket for the wood and needs to be applied every two to three years. Failure to do this will result in moist, slick-feeling lumber that isn’t a comfortable area where you’d want to shower.
One last thing: remember that you are making an enclosure out of wood, not a fence. There don’t need to be slats in between all the wooden panels that give you a
Can I Skip the Enclosure Part?
If you want to, you can skip it. However, I must warn you that you must keep this in mind if you’re not going to use a section in an outdoor showers.
Do not shower in the nude. Don’t do it even if it’s 5:00 AM and the sun hasn’t risen. Unless you have acres of land and you don’t share a fence with anyone relative close to your outdoor showers, make sure you’re showering while wearing something.
Outdoor showers are just for hosing down after a dip in the pool while keeping your bathing suit on. You are showering in them while naked. That does count as indecent exposure.
So, don’t skip the enclosure if you want to bathe and prepare for your day. Sure, it could be relaxing, but it’s not worth getting into trouble over (in your backyard).
Getting Water For Your Shower
You have a few options here, which give you a bit of versatility, but the most common one that everyone goes for is running a water line outside to be able to use your shower at will. So let’s take a look at each step.
- Bucket/Spout System: It attaches to the top of your outdoor showers and allows a few gallons of water to flow freely through a spout that simulates an indoor shower. You put water in, remove the cover of the fixture, and take your shower.
- A hardline is a copper or plastic pipe directly running from your water main to your outdoor showers. It is expensive, and while it’s time-consuming up front, it’s the most convenient option.
- The Kitchen Sink: You can attach a tube to your kitchen sink faucet to your shower if you want to. It takes minutes for the water to travel down the line completely, but it’s convenient since you can put the tubing away whenever you want and turn off the handle to stop the water flow.
You can get creative with that and have your water come straight from a solar water heater, use a rainwater collector, or whatever you’d like.
To make plumbing lines as cost-effective and straightforward as possible, consider running your outdoor showers directly off your home’s side instead of being a stand-alone piece in the middle of the backyard.
Increasing The pressure
If you use an easy bucket and spout to take a gentle gravity shower, you will notice that the pressure drops as you use it. So the first half of your battery life will be slightly more intense than the back half.
But if you’re running plumbing to your outdoor showers, you want to get the pressure right. For example, an excellent relaxing shower or a consistent rinse-off from the pool water begs for perfect water pressure.
It is where a pressure booster pump machine comes into play. These connect to your piping to help increase the psi, but they are costly. Sometimes they can drive you shy of a small four-figure price tag.
If you don’t need to dish out the cash on those, and I don’t blame you, you can inspect your pressure-adjustment screw. It is located on your water main and usually has a 50 psi rating.
Your new line could pull your psi down significantly if you added the new bar for your outdoor showers and didn’t toy with the pressure adjustment screw. On the other hand, increasing the pressure here will increase the tension in simple lines, so try this option before investing in a booster pump.
It is okay to use garden hose water.
Yes or no. You may hook up your garden hose to the top of your shower, lean your hose over the edge, and have that water go through a good sift or something to simulate that water effect. It’s possible.
But the reason is that garden hose water is terrible, and the whole “Drink from the Hose” generation encountered health issues because bacteria and pathogens thrive inside garden hoses.
Think about it: dark, wet space that is not under constant use – that’s not a very good combination.
Bacteria breed inside these tubes since the rubber doesn’t necessarily support bacterial growth and sits in still water. Then that water comes down and will be absorbed into your skin.
I don’t think anyone wants it. I would ignore using a garden hose at all costs; it’s not plumbing and will not maintain enough pressure to prevent all this bacterial growth.
If i Have A Well, Can i use it for SHOWER?
It’s okay to use healthy water to shower, but something still doesn’t sit right with me. Water can potentially be riddled with bacteria, so a softening system has to be put in place to prevent this bacterial growth.
You finish up with hard water, and for many people, the water irritates their skin in one way or another. It can cause some issues with eczema and plaque psoriasis, but most people don’t have a problem with it.
If bacteria enters my well, I don’t want it or water to penetrate my skin. That’s not clean. You can’t convince me that every bit of bacteria will wash off me and that none will cling to my body hair or pores.
So is it okay to use healthy water? Absolutely. Is it something that you should do daily?
Not sure. If this is used limitingly outdoors, like twice a week, you can use healthy water without incurring skin irritation. Otherwise, I would desire a different water source for your outdoor showers.
Options for heating water instantly.
We could run direct hotlines from your home at the water heater and run them up the tubing in the back of your outdoor showers—all that water needs to be heated, which you must pay for.
Instead, we can use indirect methods that don’t constantly cost you money. I imagine you will not be using this twice daily, so heating all that water would be costly for no apparent reason. So let’s take a look at a few alternatives to them.
If you need to finish the task, you can use solar panels to heat a water tank and use that as your shower. The good thing is that it’s not going to get much hotter than the temperature outside, so the risk of getting burned is relatively lower.
These can be used in flat-plate collectors, solar water heating systems, or active solar water heating systems—each one offers a different spin on what you can do. Some systems will be more complex and may require a professional to install them.
Why would you use a solar heating system for your outdoor showers?
Because it’s going to pay for itself in less time, solar panels last for 25–35 years, so you are essentially investing in something set for a longer term than your home mortgage. It is an investment.
Tankless heaters are on track to properly take over tank heaters because they’re ridiculously more efficient. So in every single way, a tankless water heater is better.
There is a low risk of fire, lower energy costs (by a considerable amount), and it takes up less space. While prices may vary, it’s nice not to have a giant tank of hot water that you or your child or pet can accidentally burn.
Tankless heaters are always going to be a good option. Instead of water in a big metal tank, it runs through a metal tube inside the unit.
The unit itself quickly heats the water while it’s in the pipe. Then, a cold line goes in, and a hotline emerges.
Usually, you can get about 2.5 gallons up to about 4.0 gallons of water every minute out of one of these units, and they don’t run out. Of course, they can overheat, but you’d have to constantly stress it, minute after minute, for days.
Tankless heaters are another option to consider for outdoor use. They come in discreet cases that can be quickly concealed behind shower walls or utility boxes, so the aesthetics of an outdoor garden are still fantastic.
It’s a rewarding but somewhat complicated piece of outdoor work.
ALSO SEE: Material To Use For Shower Walls in 2022
We will have a different experience when trying to install an outdoor showers. Some plumbing issues might crop up.