How to Make an Outdoor Shower (DIY Project Instructions)

How to Make an Outdoor Shower (DIY Project Instructions)

Getting Down to Basics

The minimum space required for an outdoor shower is 3 feet square, but go larger if you can. A shower enclosure measuring 4 feet square offers a generous amount of elbow room. If an attached dressing area is in your plans, you’ll need a 7-foot-long and 4-foot-wide area for the entire enclosure. Creating a structure with roomy dimensions is, of course, just the first step. Smart design also requires paying attention to privacy, drainage, and weatherproofing.

1. Create privacy

Design your shower’s enclosure with the most demure bather in mind. Before breaking ground, stand in the spot where you’ve decided to build the shower and take note of all sight lines, including nearby decks, tree houses, and upper-story windows. Your design must block all of these views, and there are clever ways to do it without sacrificing the open, breezy feeling of showering in the great outdoors. Here are just a few:

  • Install an overhead trellis. Fast-growing vines on a trellis or a grillwork of beams can shield you from all bird’s-eye views.
  • Construct slatted walls. To build a slatted wall, nail 1x6s side by side to three horizontal 2x4s, leaving a couple of inches between each board. Then nail a second row of 1x6s to the other side of the 2x4s to cover the gaps.
  • Use offset partitions. This option is similar to the idea of constructing slatted walls, but it replaces 1×6 boards with 2-foot-wide sections of fencing.

2. Plan for good drainage

When it comes to installing a drainage system for your shower water (also known as gray water), home owners have several choices:

  • Install a French drain. Basic by design, a French drain consists of a hole (at least 3 feet deep) filled with crushed gravel (preferably ½ inch to 1 inch in diameter). This gravel bed provides a permeable shower floor and extends one foot outside the structure’s perimeter. To make the floor kinder to bare feet, place a wooden grate or 1-foot-square slabs of stone or tile over the gravel. Gray water drains into the gravel bed and is absorbed by the ground, so stock your shower with biodegradable soaps. This system, not surprisingly, won’t pass code in some towns, especially densely populated ones.
  • Take advantage of the municipal grid. You can connect your shower to the same drainage pipe that carries away the rest of your household wastewater. This is standard practice in urban locales, and you will likely need a licensed plumber to perform the job. If possible, situate your outdoor shower near a household drainage pipe. It’s always easier and less expensive to build close to water and waste access.
  • Use gravity-fed irrigation. If you want to reuse your shower’s gray water, consider fashioning a gravity-fed irrigation system. With this option, a tray beneath a permeable shower floor catches the gray water. A long, flexible hose attaches to the low point of the tray and routes the gray water into the garden. As with French drains, eco-friendly soaps are a must with this system. Also, never direct the hose toward a garden with edibles. It’s unsafe to ingest untreated gray water.

3. Protect your siding

Because the walls inside of a shower dry slowly, they need extra weather protection. If you are building a new house and an outdoor shower is in the plan, installing 30-pound (or 30-weight) felt paper between the wall sheathing and the exte­rior material of the house will create an effective moisture barrier. If your house is already built, however, there are less invasive weatherproofing options. For homes more than 20 years old, place a weather-sealed par­tition over the portion of the exterior wall that is inside the shower enclosure. For newer homes, apply at least three coats of a waterproof sealant to any affected exterior wall; there are sealants available for every type of building exterior.

TIP: Avoid frozen pipes

If you live in a climate where temperatures drop below freezing, you must drain your pipes before the first frost hits. Ask your plumber to show you how this easy chore is done.

—Ethan Fierro is a designer, builder, and artist and the author of The Outdoor Shower. He lives on the island of Maui.

20. Pick a Pallet

To minimize the installation work for your outdoor

To minimize the installation work for your outdoor shower, install it in a corner. That way you only have to build one outer wall instead of an entire enclosure.

In this example, the privacy fence is made from reclaimed wood pallets.

You can paint or stain them to reduce water damage. Leave gaps between your slats for quicker drying. Link the showerhead to your outdoor faucet.


3. Serve up Some Surf

Surfers are pretty attached to their boards, but y

Surfers are pretty attached to their boards, but you can probably find an old unused one in a  flea market.

If you live in a beach town, you may even find an old one washed up. Long-boards work best because they offer more height.

Use the surfboard as backing for your shower head. You can cut off the tile to build a shelf, and repurpose the surfboard fine into a towel hook.

8. Wood slats DIY Outdoor Shower Enclosure

A shower enclosure can be as simple as a wooden pa

A shower enclosure can be as simple as a wooden panel. Pallets are great options! ( Source: 8 )

If you are wondering where to find pallets, or how to take them apart, here’s an info-packed article all about pallets!

 All about Pallets
All about Pallets

22. Outdoor Shower Kit

These were made by a company whose website oborain

These were made by a company whose website is no longer active. I really want to share these inspiring photos because it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out how to build your own version!

Types of Outdoor Showers

There are two main types of outdoor showers: wall-mounted and freestanding.

Wall-mounted outdoor showers

These outdoor showers are stationary fixtures usually attached to the main house. They are usually more affordable than stationary standalone units. They’re also often cheaper to install if they’re located near a home’s existing plumbing lines, like on the other side of the kitchen or a bathroom.

Freestanding outdoor showers

These outdoor showers can be stationary fixtures or free-standing portables. Stationary fixtures are usually more expensive to purchase and install because they use dedicated water lines from underground water pipes or above-ground water faucets. Portable showers are often the cheapest because they cost little or nothing to install, hook up to an existing outdoor water supply (like a garden hose) and can be placed anywhere a water hose can reach.


  • Most outdoor shower plans need to be adapted to your specific location and geography, so feel free to play with the plans listed here to find what works for you.

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Site Selection

When selecting a site for your outdoor shower, consider its primary function. If you want people to rinse off before going in the pool, install the shower near the pool. For privacy’s sake, install it out of sight from neighbors and passers-by. If that’s not possible, you’ll need outdoor curtains or walls.

Another tip: Select a site that receives direct sunlight. That will help keep you warm on brisk days and will dry the area to prevent mold formation.

DIY Outdoor Shower and Bathroom



This awesome build was shown in a customer review by Byung from New Jersey. It’s an outdoor bathroom, complete with a running shower and toilet! 45 Degree Connectors and conduit support the sink, and the rest of the frame is also made from conduit and connectors with canvas attached. Be sure to check out the review for all of the pictures.The sign on the door of the structure is especially great. It’s a very impressive build that certainly pushes the limits of its materials. Thanks for the review, Byung! 


Episode 109: Shopping List Plants

Little kids have Christmas. Gardeners have spring. To us, this is the most wonderful time of the year. And with the start of the season come those inevitable trips to…


Check out this fabulous “HomeJelly Reader Replica” of our outdoor shower!

 HomeJelly reader’s rendition of our outdoor

HomeJelly reader’s rendition of our outdoor shower. source: Sr_33

Here’s what “Sr_33” had to say about this project:

“Have to finish the ‘floor’ yet, and I want to put up a privacy surround, but VERY pleased how this turned out! Since we live in FL, the water gets warm in the hose quite easily, so we didn’t feel the need to have hot/cold water. An added bonus? The soap “dish” is a shell that I dug up when I went to set the post!”


All photography by Skaie Knox (except noted), HomeJelly

Step 5

Add the water. Attach the hose to the coupler in the back of the shower. You may want to purchase a Y-splitter for your outdoor spigot so that you can run an additional hose for lawn and gardening tasks. Test the water, and enjoy!


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