An outdoor shower: Transforming my life

It [an outdoor shower] changed my life.

Brian Pontolilo, The Fine Homebuilding Podcast, Episode 5

One of my more unorthodox design decisions for the cottage was putting the shower outdoors. I’m a proponent of separating the toilet from the bathing area. However, with 200 square feet that’s difficult to accomplish unless you remove the shower altogether.

Some benefits of the outdoor shower

1) Reduces humidity in the house. Showers put a lot of moisture into air which can lead to mold. Most bathrooms are covered in non-vapor permeable materials so if you don’t have proper ventilation then you could have issues. With and outdoor shower there’s loads of ventilation.

2) Makes plumbing easier. In our case the the shower water disperses through a gravel bed and waters a nearby tree.

3) Easy to clean. Being open air the shower dries pretty quickly so mold doesn’t get a foothold and ultraviolet light from the sun kills bacteria. A couple of times a year I use a leaf blower to get out the leaves. You can’t use a leaf blower to clean an inside shower.

Cold weather presents an issue but we don’t have much of that here in central Texas. I finished work on the shower in September and used it almost everyday until we got a few days of freezing weather in January. If I had to use the outdoor shower in cold weather I imagine a small space heater would provide enough warmth for a quick shower.

Here are some stills of the construction and finished product: