Sustainably designed outdoor showers
Imagine you start your day with the feel of fresh air on your skin, entranced by the sound of water cascading down you back in your outdoor shower, while you are basking under the vibrance of the sun.
You might think that you can only indulge in such beautiful experiences while on vacation, but we are telling you that this is possible at home, in your own shower.
What’s more exciting, you can turn this mundane task into an indulgence, while still lowering your carbon footprint.
So join us, as we go over all the details that you need to know to create a sustainably designed outdoor shower for your home.
We will start by making sure that you understand the utility of an outdoor shower.
Benefits of having a sustainably designed outdoor shower
Outdoor showers are essentially a luxury.
- If you install these showers close to plants or in your yard, your plants will benefit from the extra moisture.
- Your guests would love your home’s unique feature and enjoy their stay better.
- For people who have pool houses or live close to the beach, these outdoor showers also have considerable functional value.
- These outdoor showers allow you to clean your pets without bringing mess or bacteria inside your home.
Designing a sustainably designed outdoor shower
1. Choosing the perfect location for your outdoor shower
The most obvious option is to have a shower near your pool. Swimmers must shower first so that they can get rid of all the perfume, creams, and other substances on their skin that may affect the PH levels of water. This way, you will find it easier to main the cleanliness of your pool. Similarly, if you and your friends enjoy water sports, then you should place the shower near your entrance. This way you can desalinate before entering your house.
If you are designing this for aesthetics then your best bet is to locate the shower on your patio or your garden. Showering under the beautiful sky should feel like you are enjoying the rain every day. And with a little effort on decor, you can experience a little of the tropics from your home.
Some folks may choose to have the outdoor shower as an extension to their bathroom. So, if they want to bask under the glow of the beautiful skies, they just have to step out a little.
Plumbing and privacy might be some other concerns that you wish to address before locating your shower.
2. Choosing materials for your outdoor shower
Although you have plenty of options to choose from, we urge you to come up with a design that uses the materials you currently own since we want to ensure sustainability. Also, think about all the money you will save.
Now, we understand that there is a good chance that you don’t have a spare shower system in your house, but other decoration materials can be found in your storage. For example, you can use the leftover wood from your fencing project, or the marble you used to build your island; the goal is to up-cycle as much material as possible. If you don’t have these spare supplies then reach out to your friends or family; we all have stuff that we don’t want to use and plan on giving away, so it can be a good deal for both parties. If none of these options work then now it’s time to head to your favorite recycled goods market or thrift store. Honestly, you can find such gems in these places at throwaway prices!
You can build an enclosure using wood varieties like timber and cedar; this can give the appearance of a spa if you use good quality, well-cut out wood pieces. But, you must choose pressure-treated wood types; otherwise, you may lose your enclosure to termite infestation. To ensure that the wood you purchase is from sustainably derived sources, look for certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FTC).
Stone floors for your shower area can give it a more outdoorsy vibe while being easy to maintain. Just make sure that the stone you get feels comfortable to walk barefoot. This type of floor design works well with drainage systems.
Another option for flooring are interlocking floor tiles. We love these ones from Amazon.
If you want to go for a more posh feel, then brass, copper, and bronze look beautiful and are also corrosion-resistant. The same goes for stainless steel; it is durable and effectively resists corrosion from salty air if you live near the seaside.
Plumbing for Outdoor Showers
You have to pay attention to the drainage system for your shower.
When it comes to the disposal of gray water, local building standards differ. The gray water from the outdoor shower, however, typically drains to the lawn or garden. It is the most popular method since it is environmentally friendly; you water your plants with the water you saved from taking a shower.
But if you want to implement this natural drainage system, ensure that you incorporate eco-friendly soaps and shampoos in your shower routine. Or otherwise, the chemicals used in conventional products can kill microorganisms in the soil or disturb its PH level; harming it instead of doing any good. Organic and natural products not only make grey water irrigation effective, but they are also better for your skin. More importantly, such products are generally sourced from locally from ethical producers.
Use a dry well drainage system if your soil isn’t porous enough or if the shower isn’t in your garden. A layer of gravel known as a dry well is where the sewage must seep and filter. Again, to determine the permitted size of the well, you must consult your local code.
Water Temperature Control
If you to enjoy both cold and hot running water in your outdoor shower, then also invest in a pressure-balance valve to avoid scalding.
For people living in four-season climates, the biggest concern should be pipe drainage during the winter months. Water trapped inside can freeze and crack the pipes.
That is why you must winterize your outdoor shower before winter. First, you turn off the valves to cut-off the water supply into the pipes. Next, you turn the faucet on and let it run until you drain the pipes. Use a can of compressed air to completely blow out any excess moisture from the fixtures, valves, and pipes. This way the water pipes will stay unblocked when the temperature drops.
Use a solar-powered outdoor shower
Nothing is more relaxing than a nice hot, shower!
But if you live in a cold climate, having access to hot water is a must. But with outdoor showers, there is an eco-friendly way to heat our water, and that is using solar power!
Running the hot water lines to the shower area might be expensive or technically challenging. Solar showers offer an easy solution by using solar power to heat the water. These showers can hold enough water for several people to shower, depending on the length of each shower. The initial cost may be higher than a regular shower but you should realize that it is free energy. But for us, the lower carbon footprint is the real bonus!
Privacy for your outdoor shower
Consider your level of comfort with exposure when planning your outdoor shower and take your neighbors’ or visitors’ feelings into consideration.
Having garden showers makes this much more easily possible. You can use your plants and trees to create an enclosed space; so that you have aesthetic and privacy! But if the trees are deciduous, you may have to use another temporary barrier in the shedding season. A roll-up bamboo screen would look just as aesthetically pleasing while also serving our purpose. But we think that a freestanding folding screen is the simplest solution. This would work really well with multipurpose decks where permanent walls can take up too much room.
We are here for sustainable luxury!
We hope that we have inspired you to design an outdoor shower for yourself, but keep in mind that you must prioritize sustainability. Our luxury should not come at the expense of the environment. According to the EPA , each shower uses more than 16 gallons of water. That is an astonishing figure and something we need to collectively correct. We must install water-efficient shower heads both indoors and outdoors, and try to minimize our time in the shower. Standing under a hot shower might be relaxation for some, but this wastage robs other people of the water they need for their basic needs.
We love to see sustainable up-cycling, reducing your usage of fossil-fuel derived energy, and conserving water in all our projects. Explore Roomhints for more bathroom remodel ideas, Pink Tile Bathroom, and the 5 Best Towel Warmer Hints.