If you have a child, dog, and hard floors of any sort, then you probably sweep or mop every day, multiple times a day (or, you wish you could). My friend was in exactly this situation and the solution he hit on was surprisingly affordable: an outdoor shower enclosure. His version was just three walls and a door with a showerhead on a hose hooked up to an outdoor faucet. It’s perfect for hosing down canine and child alike, and since he has a pool, it’s a good way to wash the chlorine off after a dip without having to go to one of the bathrooms indoors.
My friend’s wife, on the other hand, loves the functionality of the structure but hates how it looks. My friend is an incredibly practical man, but, sadly, has the artistic sensibilities of a cinder block. If something gets the job done, its looks just sort of fade into the background for him–at least until his wife brings it to his attention often enough. He already knows how to build an outdoor shower enclosure, but what he needs to know now is how to build one that looks good.
It doesn’t take much to build an outdoor shower enclosure. The structure is literally just three walls with a door on the fourth side. Here are the basic components of an outdoor shower:
A shower enclosure can be as basic or as elaborate as you want it to be. Additional features, like a roof, pergola, or a half circle pergola design, are an option to dress it up and make it feel like an attractive addition to the yard. My friend built his as basic as can be with scrap lumber salvaged from a fallen fence, and the pickets are spotted with mold and mildew. His wife puts as much effort into not touching the walls as she does into washing the dog.
In fact, my friend’s whole shower, save for the shower head, is built from salvaged materials. However, just because outdoor shower enclosures are functional doesn’t mean they can’t look good too. My friend could have produced a more attractive, sanitary enclosure if he’d put more effort into planning. There are a lot of materials you can build a shower enclosure out of that last longer and are more pleasing to the eye than salvaged lumber. They also function a little better too.
For the walls of your shower enclosure, there are as many material options as your imagination can dream up, but easiest to work with, and the most practical, are wood and composites.
It is possible to use other materials for your shower’s walls like concrete and steel, but using these would bump an outdoor shower enclosure from a temporary structure that in most areas don’t require much (if any) permitting to a permanent one that would require permits.
Once you have your enclosure material chosen, you’ll need to find hardware that’s sturdy and can stand up to being repeatedly drenched without rusting. A high-quality standard gate latch and hinges that are meant for use outdoors and treated with hot-dipped galvanization and a powder coating will resist corrosion and let your shower door swing freely without an ominous creak. Generally, any situation that will leave you wet and naked should start without haunted house sounds.
Most people who want an outdoor shower enclosure want to use it to avoid tracking mud into their homes, and that means a floor of some sort. In my friend’s case, the shower’s posts are simply bolted to the concrete slab of his patio. If you don’t want to leave holes in your patio or pool deck then your best option may be picking up a few pavers from the local home improvement store. You’ll also want to grab a few bags of gravel while you are there.
Once the structure is up, it’s a matter of finishing it to suit your needs and your tastes. You’ll need to seal the walls if you use wood, but you can also stain or paint them. Metal inserts that fit into cutouts in the walls, like decorative hardware for wood gates, can also be an attractive addition. One of the easiest ways to make the structure look finished and professional is to use fasteners that are ornamental as well as practical.
There are many manufacturers of gate and ornamental hardware, but OZCO Building Products is one of a select few that put as much effort into how their hardware looks as they do to engineering it to last. Their Laredo Sunset line of wood ties and anchors hold timbers fast with 3/16 inch steel that has been hot-dipped galvanized, e-coated, and powder coated to resist moisture, corrosion, and fading from UV light. This is hardware that brings you the time-honored look of wrought iron using modern materials. Take a look at our locator to find an OZCO distributor or pro in your area.