A well designed outdoor shower: A renovation essential

I don’t think that architecture is only about shelter, is only about a very simple enclosure. It should be able to excite you, to calm you, to make you think.
— Zaha Hadid
outdoor shower robert plumb

It wasn't that long ago when I used to think of an outdoor shower as something to be used when you got home from the beach.  A functional utility to get the sand off our feet and surfboards.  But now we've installed an open-air outdoor shower that has walls, a lockable door, a great showerhead and hot water,  I couldn't imagine life without it. 

We've done our share of renovating and hands down the best thing we've done was to really plan out our outdoor shower.   Showering at night, looking up at the stars, is one of my favourite times of my day.  It's neck and neck with rising early.

Everyone in our family of 5 uses it.  While we've got 2 showers and baths inside,  they rarely get used.  My son and husband shower outside every morning while my middle daughter and I shower at night.  We find our 6-year-old still uses the indoor bath a lot - she still loves to play with bath toys and pretend to swim.  

Create a unique space in your home

I love houses with unique elements.  With interesting places to escape to.  I've found our outdoor shower has done just that.  It's added another dimension to our home.  And it's made our home a bit more fun. 

You've got a big opportunity to create the home you want when you renovate.  If you do some careful thinking while you're in the planning phase you'll ensure you don't miss out on any important elements.    

If you're tossing up what to include in your renovation you might want to consider the benefits of installing an outdoor shower.  Here's my list of why it's the best thing we did when we renovated. 

7 benefits of a properly designed outdoor shower

1. Brings a feeling of holidays into your daily routine

A shower outside brings a holiday feel to your home.  I've always loved the feeling of showering outdoors when I've gone camping or been somewhere more tropical like Bali.  

Why reserve that holiday feel for times when you're actually away? You're at home a lot. 

2.  Saves cleaning time.  Saves cleaning products.  Eco-friendly

We have 5 people in our house.  Since renovating and installing an outdoor shower we've used our inside showers a handful of times.   Sure, we've had to be tough on ourselves on cold mornings and nights.  But it's a bit like jumping into a swimming pool - once you're in, you love it.

 Showering outside means no cleaning of showers or baths.  This means you reduce the amount of cleaning products you use.   And something I really love.  You have no soap scum, no bathroom hair and no mould. 

3. Keeps you in touch with nature

It's so easy to rush through your day without connecting to nature.  For a few minutes morning or night you can check in with the weather and the world around you.  

Whatever the weather, there's always something more interesting to observe outside than your boring bathroom ceiling.

Photo credit: Katie Heath, Pokhara, Nepal 1996. www.thoughtsonwhatmatters.com

Photo credit: Katie Heath, Pokhara, Nepal 1996. www.thoughtsonwhatmatters.com

4. Helps put things into perspective

You can put a whole lot of things into perspective when you shower outside and look up.  Day or night you feel pretty small in a massive world. It helps put your problems into context.  It reminds you to think of everyone else under that big sky.

5. Gives you a daily mini break

I love this aspect.  It's an anomaly really.  An outdoor shower is simple, yet at the same time indulgent.  

It's an out of the way cocoon that's peaceful and  private. For the short time you're there you can get away from chores, work, kids, housework and the rattle of the house.  

6. Greener plants

This works if you're committed.  Our plants are way greener since showering outside.  It's pretty simple.  Have a couple of buckets in the shower area.  They fill up pretty fast.  When they're full use them on your plants.

7. You get to see satellites

Once you know what to look for you keep spotting satellites.  It's kind of a mini-mission of mine to try and spot one when I'm showing at night.  

 If you don't know the difference between a shooting star, an aeroplane or a satellite you can read about it online.   Josh Barker from the National Space Centre gives really clear tips on how to spot a satellite.

The Design of your outdoor shower is critical 

A cold outdoor shower with no privacy is unlikely to do the trick.  You'll have to put some thought into your plans to make sure it gets used.  Take some time to think about how your family operates.  For example, our 2 older kids are at an age where they want privacy in the shower.   We knew it would be unlikely they would use it without walls and a door with a lock.   With that in mind,  we designed ours with camping style walls  - open air with a gap at the bottom.  It gives a feeling of space while retaining privacy.

 I'll be writing a post soon on my tips to help you design your outdoor shower.  In the meantime, you'll find a link below to my outdoor shower folder on Pinterest.  I collected these images to help design the shower we installed at our house

Outdoor Shower Resources

Outdoor Shower Inspiration: My Pinterest Page of  outdoor shower designs.

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