DIY Outdoor Shower: 21+ Supereasy Hacks & How To (The Ultimate Guide!)

Looking for the easiest way to create your own outdoor shower that still has style to it? (Especially a smart yet simple DIY outdoor shower?) You’re in the right place!

I tried living without an outdoor shower.

I really did.

Turns out, it quickly soared through the ranks from “Wish List Item” to “Husband, I’m Sorry But You’re Going to Be Hearing About This 10x Per Week Until We Get It Done” list.

(If you don’t have one of those lists, you’re either not in a relationship or you’re a better person than I am!🀣 )

Outdoor showers don’t need to be just for people who have a pool or live at the beach! I’d argue that if you live ANYWHERE where you and/or your loved ones (including pets!), go outside and get dirty at any point, an outdoor shower is almost a must, by golly!

Below we’ll go over not only how to DIY your own outdoor shower (and our tips from doing our own + how to make it easier on yourself!), but we’ll also answer popular questions such as

  • “How expensive is it to build an outdoor shower?”
  • “What are the standard dimensions for an outdoor shower?”
  • “What is a good base for an outdoor shower?”
  • “Do I need an enclosure for the shower?”
  • “How do I make a simple outdoor shower?”
  • “Is it a good idea to have an outdoor shower?”
  • “Can outdoor shower drain into ground?”
  • “Did you have to install plumbing for your simple DIY outdoor shower?”

Let’s do it!

DIY OUTDOOR SHOWER

“Do I really need an outdoor shower, Jess?”

Outdoor showers are useful for so many situations! Let’s look at them quickly, lest anyone forget how many different ways you can use yours.πŸ˜‰

#1: THE OBVIOUS TIMES.

The “usual” times when people think they need an outdoor shower is when you’ve been outdoors in a pool, jacuzzi, lake, beach, or other body of water (or want people to shower before they get into said pool or jacuzzi).

#2: THE NOT-SO OBVIOUS TIMES.

  1. After gardening or yard work! Whether you’re gardening, mowing the lawn, or working with soil (hello weeding!), an outdoor shower can help you clean up without tracking dirt inside!
  2. After exercises or doing an outdoor sport! If you’re coming home from running, biking, hiking, or playing basketball, an outdoor shower can be a convenient way to refresh and cool down without subjecting the people inside your residence to your natural sweat scents. πŸ™‚
  3. After camping or RVing.
  4. For pets! Washing pets, especially after they’ve rolled in mud or encountered something smelly during a walk or playtime (we see a lot of this especially living at the beach), is often easiest while still outside!
  5. My #1 reason wasn’t our pool but it our little people! I encourage outdoor play, which often results in hands and feet covered with dirt, grass, mud…you name it. Even when they were just toddlers playing with the hose or running through sprinklers, somehow they still needed a rinse-off, so that’s where my desire for an outdoor shower was first born!
outdoor shower with chrome shower head, shelf, in corner with stucco

We placed ours near our outdoor kitchen and in-ground trampoline, but we’ll share more on how to choose your exact placement later!

DIY OUTDOOR SHOWER

First Step: Your Planning & Design!

Plan and measure twice, then you can just build it once, right? Of course right!

Before you begin building your DIY outdoor shower, you’ll need to think intentionally, plan and design the space with your needs (and capabilities) in mind. Consider things like:

Location:

You’ll want to make sure the area is relatively flat and has good drainage. If you’re not doing an enclosed shower, choose a location that is private and away from prying eyes.

WHAT WE DID: While we could have chosen a number of locations for our outdoor shower, I chose mine not only because of the easier water and drainage, but because it seemed to be the usual place I wanted a massive hot shower! (More on the cold vs hot below!) Most people might have put theirs right by their pool, but I believe that would have been limiting!

This way it was usable for not only the pool but all the other reasons (plus it was close to the main exterior door I liked to use, which went through our office/laundry/guest room! I know, as if you didn’t think that room had enough purposes, Jess will squeeze them in🀣, but hey man, it really worked for us)!

wooden outdoor shower in corner, outside

Drainage:

You’ll also need to plan for proper drainage to prevent standing water, which can attract mosquitoes and other pests, on top of just looking plain icky! (Or having your kids/pets go over and drink from it…blech.)

WHAT WE DID: We utilized our existing concrete pad (created during our backyard reno) that had a drain nearby. This is really the easiest way of all!

backyard with outdoor kitchen, trampoline, and outdoor shower

Privacy:

Consider installing a privacy screen (could be made out of anything from wood to stone or working up a shower curtain-type setup). You could also surround the area with plants or a fence perfectly measured to cover the important parts.πŸ˜†

WHAT WE DID: Maybe this will be controversial, but I decided we didn’t need a privacy screen. Mostly because I worked super hard to make our backyard as private as possible with plants, but also because I didn’t plan on being nekked in this shower most of the time. A screen would also have felt clunky in that spot (which has a main traffic way going through it). Even after going in the pool, we often would rinse off with our suits on, so it worked for us.

DIY outdoor shower plans with shower head and shelf

Simplify whatever you can! Sure, if I had a bigger space, I would have loved to design something more substantial as far as walls or an extra mini-building😊, but sometimes your site will determine things for you. Working within your constraints can actually be quite freeing, but that’s another post. πŸ˜‰

Materials:

You’ll always want to choose materials that can withstand exposure to the elements, such as stainless steel or a hardwood that you seal with a polyurethane. (Some people wills say you need to use teak only, but that’s not true! Any hardwood sealed properly will do!)

WHAT WE DID: We used a hardwood. (Poplar, to be exact, because we liked the simple grain of it!) Matt then sealed with this polyurethane. We liked that one especially because it also served as a stain for the wood to get the look we wanted!

Because we had the arbor above this corner, we attached the shower to this arbor instead of having to drill extra holes into the house itself. (Shown in this photo at the very top!)

backyard with DIY outdoor shower in corner and outdoor kitchen and patio in background

Plumbing:

You’ll need to run a water line from an accessible water line to your outdoor shower. Contrary to what others on the internet might tell you, this water line does not have to come from your house’s water main. So this could be from a hose hookup, where your sprinklers connect in, maybe you have a landscape or fountain water supply…you can get creative!

Speaking of creative, let’s take a closer look at how we created ours…

backyard shower made of wood with chrome plumbing fixtures and plants for privacy

WHAT WE DID: Because I wanted a hot water ability in our DIY outdoor shower, that made it a little more complicated. (If we were to hook up to a hose line, for example, that’s going to be cold. There are ways you can heat up that water at your outdoor shower, but it wasn’t ideal for me because it would add extra “stuff” and it felt more clunky.) So because we had a cold and hot water line in our garage, that was a double confirmation that the spot along the nearby wall was best. (As opposed to the other side of the house which might have been nearer the pool but we were using it for other reasons too, so this spot was best!)

Matt used the existing sink valves in our garage and ran pipe from those valves through the exterior wall of our house to our outdoor shower. (If you’re interested in doing the same, we’ll provide a materials list with links of exactly what we used further on in this post.)

OUTDOOR SHOWER PLANS

How to Build An Outdoor Shower (+ How We Built Ours!)

Once you have a plan in place and have pulled all your materials together, it’s time to get cracking on your DIY outdoor shower extravaganza!

HOW TO BUILD AN OUTDOOR SHOWER

Step 1: base & drain

If your outdoor shower doesn’t have a base (like ours), you’ll want to first create a base for yours. (We have a list of base ideas further on in this post if you’re not sure what you want to use yet!)

We’d also recommend that you install the drainage during this stage. Make sure that the drainage system is properly installed and will prevent standing water.

HOW TO BUILD AN OUTDOOR SHOWER

Step 2: plumbing

Install the plumbing. Run a water line from your home’s water supply to the outdoor shower.

outdoor shower fixture on house in corner, under arbor, made out of chrome

HOW TO BUILD AN OUTDOOR SHOWER

Step 3: frame

Build the frame. Use pressure-treated lumber to build the frame of the shower. Make sure to secure it to the base to prevent wobbling.

HOW TO BUILD AN OUTDOOR SHOWER

Step 4: showerhead

Install the showerhead. Choose a showerhead that is designed for outdoor use and can withstand exposure to the elements. Secure it to the frame of the shower.

HOW TO BUILD AN OUTDOOR SHOWER

Step 5: privacy

If you’re installing a privacy screen, save that bad boy for last. You’ll want to make sure it’s securely attached because I’m having visions of people slipping or pushing against it while rinsing of the bottoms of their feet, for example, so you don’t want that thing to topple over.

OUTDOOR SHOWER DIY

Bonus Tips and Hacks!

Here are some other DIY outdoor shower ideas:

  • You can use a solar-powered outdoor shower head to save on energy costs.
  • Add a hook or shelf for your towel and other essentials, or even a place to put your dry clothes if you’re going that route.
  • If you live in a hot climate and want to go super fancy, consider installing a misting system for an even more refreshing shower experience on hot days!
backyard corner with plants showing how to build an outdoor shower
  • Add plants or landscaping around the shower to make it look like part of its surroundings (or give it a “jungly,” natural oasis feel.
  • Make sure your walls, curtain or screen is made of mildew-resistant material to prevent mold and mildew buildup, because nothing ruins the fun of having an outdoor shower like having to add extra cleaning time in your life! πŸ™‚

OUTSIDE SHOWER

DIY Outdoor Shower Pros and Cons

As with any home improvement project, there are both pros and cons to building a DIY outdoor shower.

outdoor SHOWER pros & cons

5 Pros of Outdoor Showers:

  1. It’s useful! As discussed earlier, there are so many different uses for an outdoor shower that will make your life easier!
  2. It adds value to your home! An outdoor shower can be a desirable feature for potential homebuyers, especially in warmer climates.
  3. Saves indoor space! If you have a small indoor bathroom, an outdoor shower can be a practical solution for rinsing off and saving that indoor shower for the “cleaner” times.
  4. Some can save energy! An outdoor shower can help reduce your home’s energy consumption by providing an alternative to using the indoor shower.
  5. Refreshing! There’s just nothing quite like a refreshing outdoor shower on a hot summer day, and you can’t beat that!

3 Cons to Outdoor Showers:

  1. Time: It’s going to take you time to figure out the best place and way to do this, but if the pros outweigh the cons for you, this is just what Matt and I call a “temporary Con.”😊
  2. Privacy concerns: Depending on the layout of your property, you may need to install a privacy screen or wall, and that’ll take more time and money.
  3. Cost: Building an outdoor shower can be a significant investment, especially if you’re not DIYing it and you’re hiring professionals for plumbing or electrical work.

Speaking of money, let’s move on to the most popular DIY outdoor shower questions!

OUTDOOR SHOWER QUESTIONS

“How expensive is it to build an outdoor shower?”

First we’d ask you, “How fancy do you want it–and where do you want it?” πŸ™‚ The cost of installing an outdoor shower varies depending on several factors, including the complexity of the installation, the materials used, and the location. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Plumbing and water supply: If you already have existing water lines and drainage in the desired location, the cost may be lower. However, if you need to extend or install new plumbing lines, it can add to the expenses.
  2. Fixture and materials: The cost of the shower fixtures, including the showerhead, valves, and handles, can vary depending on the quality and design. Additionally, the choice of materials for the shower enclosure, such as wood, stainless steel, or tile, will also impact the overall cost.
  3. Labor costs: Hiring a professional plumber and potentially a contractor or handyman to install the shower will add to the total cost. Labor costs can vary depending on the complexity of the installation and the local rates.
  4. Permits and regulations: Depending on your location, you may need to obtain permits or adhere to specific regulations for outdoor shower installations. Factor in any associated costs or fees.
  5. Additional features: If you want to include extras such as a privacy screen, hot water supply, or a drainage system, the cost will increase accordingly.

Given these variables, it’s challenging to provide an exact cost without specific details. However, as a rough estimate, you can expect to spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars for a basic outdoor shower kit to several thousand dollars for a more elaborate setup.

We spent $295 on ours! (Will share the breakdown + materials list down below!)

Outdoor shower made of wood and chrome shower head, with shelf below with towel, shampoo and soap

DIY OUTDOOR SHOWER

“What are the standard dimensions for an outdoor shower?”

If you’re cool with a non-enclosed shower like we did (which we love the simplicity and how easy it is!), you don’t have to worry necessarily about “size” other than making sure your surrounding objects don’t impede use of the shower.

If you absolutely, positively want it to have an enclosure, just use the same standard you would for an interior shower! (But add a few feet if you’re getting even fancier with a bench or a “dry” area for changing.)

In general, a small shower can be as small as 32″ x 32″ or you can go up to 60″ x 36″ (or more!) if you’ve got the room!

OUTDOOR SHOWER

“What is a good base for an outdoor shower?”

While we used our existing concrete, there are other ideas you can utilize for your outdoor shower base:

  • Gravel or pebbles: This is a super-easy DIY option that drains well! (I recommend testing your final choice barefoot first, though!😊 Not all rocks are created equal once you’re standing on them in bare feet).
  • Composite decking: This is great if you don’t want the mess of rocks and don’t have existing concrete to use. This decking is resistant to moisture, mold and mildew and can also give you a slip-resistant surface. (Unlike using old tiles or even some bricks, which we don’t often recommend!)
  • Natural stone: If you had leftover stone from a patio or pathway you created in another project, this could be a cool shower base with some mossy plants growing between, or even setting them in permanently (or using rocks/pebbles if you don’t want permanent).

Personally, if we hadn’t had our concrete option, I’d have loved to use something for a base like THIS! Looks very spa-like and would be super easy to just buy and call it good. πŸ™‚

DIY OUTDOOR SHOWER

“Do I need an enclosure for the shower?”

A popular question! As you can see demonstrated in our own private home, we say no! You do not! Take into consideration its location and your privacy needs, by all means, but there is no requirement to do this.

Simple outdoor shower cost with wood and chrome shower head and plants for privacy

OUTSIDE SHOWERS

“Can an outdoor shower drain into the ground?”

Yes. We recommend at least using some rocks or one of these pre-made for ease and keeping your feet clean. πŸ™‚

OUTDOOR SHOWER

“Did you have to install plumbing for your outdoor shower?”

Yes, you’re going to need some sort of water line to it, otherwise you won’t have the shower! πŸ™‚

But don’t let the term “install plumbing” make you think this has to be super complicated. The simplest version of this would be to basically hook up a hose (or hose-like material) and mount it where you’d like the spray to come down. (See earlier notes on types of heads you can attach.)

Sure, if you also need to use a landscape hose from this point sometimes, it’s not a big deal. You can just flip back and forth between what you need OR add an extra hose bib like this one.

DIY outdoor shower in backyard corner with plumbing and hose and plants

diy outdoor shower

Final Materials List + Cost!

DIY outdoor shower in corner, made of teak and shower fixtures

Pipe $90

Shower head and valve $90

Wood $10

Stain $15

Pipe Cover $50

Valves $40

Total = $295

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outdoor pool shower in backyard, turned on with water spraying and plants

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