How to Build an Outdoor Shower (with Pictures)

DIY Outdoor Shower Ideas on our List for the Ultimate Backyard Oasis:

  • Add fencing to create privacy.
  • Paint walls, hose, and utilities to blend in.
  • Add rain showerhead.
  • Create “flooring” with painted tiles and drainage with stones.
  • Include storage with shower caddy and DIY hooks.
Transform your everyday garden hose into an immacu

Transform your everyday garden hose into an immaculate shower experience… outdoors!

How to DIY an outdoor shower with a garden hose:

Connect the showerhead to the showerhead extension arm. Where the arm would attach to the wall, instead thread to the 90-Degree Female Adapter Push Fitting (elbow). Use sealant tape to prevent leaking when threading the showerhead to arm and arm to female push-to-connect.

Using a 1/2” copper pipe (cut to height, if desired, and sanded) connect with the elbow at the top. At the bottom of the copper pipe, connect to the Brass Garden Valve with Drop Ear.

Attach this copper pipe and showerhead to your outside wall (you could attach to a fence or post, as well) with one-hole straps.

Connect your garden hose to the Brass Garden Valve with Drop Ear and test!

Once water is running fine and there aren’t any leaks, paint it all to match the wall, if desired.

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How do outdoor showers drain?

Outdoor showers don’t generally need complex drainage systems, especially if the shower is installed a distance from the house, or if the pitch of the land directs water away from the structure. Here are some common drainage solutions. (Whatever your situation, we recommend consulting with a professional about drainage.)

 Above: A simple outdoor shower at a Swedish Summe
Above: A simple outdoor shower at a Swedish Summer House by Lasc Studio drains directly into the ground. Is that a wooden palette as a shower stand? Photograph by Laura Stamer.

Direct Garden Drainage: The most common, easiest, and eco-friendly way to drain is to let the gray water seep directly into your garden. Will this work for your shower site? If the ground is reasonably porous, then the answer is yes, as long as the shower isn’t used too often and isn’t close to your house’s foundation. You can test how quickly water will seep into the soil of a potential shower site by dumping a large bucket of water and timing how long it takes to disappear. If the water remains on the surface for five or more minutes, you may want to consider a dry well or French drain.

French Drain or Dry Well: If your shower is going to be on the facade of your house or nearby, you need to keep water away from the foundation. Know your existing perimeter drainage system to decide how best to integrate shower drainage. If you have perimeter French drain pipes, be sure your shower is positioned to take advantage of the existing drainage system. Alternatively, you can install a simple dry well (like a French drain without the pipe) by digging a deep pit and filling it with gravel to distribute water slowly into the surrounding soil.

Fixed Drain: Some more elaborate setups use fixed drains that feed into a house’s wastewater system.

 Above: Photograph courtesy of Ben Young Landscape
Above: Photograph courtesy of Ben Young Landscape Architect.

An open-air shower should be just that, says Idaho-based landscape architect Ben Young: “You’re out there in nature, so why not experience that feeling of being in nature?”

For more, see Private Idaho: A Rustic Outdoor Shower in Sun Valley.

When to Build Your Outdoor Shower

As might be expected, building an outdoor shower involves an extensive amount of outdoor time. So, in the interest of comfort, you may want to wait until warmer months before building. But plumbing an outdoor shower does involve some indoor work, too, and this can be done at any time of the year. Working on the indoor part during cold months is a good way to get a head start on the project for spring.

Step 3

Install the shower. Dig a 12″ deep hole with a post hole digger, and insert the 8′ 4″ × 4″. You can use concrete to secure it, or just fill the hole with dirt. Place the shower base next to the upright 4″× 4″, mark its location, then remove the base and cover the ground with pea gravel or small stones to help with drainage. Place the base on top of the gravel.

Outdoor Shower Cost and Installation

The cost of purchasing and installing an outdoor shower can range from about $250 to several thousand dollars. Expect to pay between $100 and $500 for a wall-mounted outdoor shower, between $500 and $2,000 for a standalone and $50 to $300 for portable showers.

Installation cost also differs considerably and can range from $500 and $8,000. Naturally, outdoor showers that require more complicated plumbing and incorporate added features (like an enclosure and drainage) will be more expensive to install. Fortunately, experienced DIYers can do most, if not all of the installation.

15 16. Free Standing Outdoor Shower Kits

These outdoor solar showers with base can save a lot work if you can’t wait to enjoy a hot shower outside 🙂  Find them here!


  • 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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Do outdoor showers need a shower base?

Yes, for the comfort and stability of the person taking a shower. The base should be a water-resistant material that is stable to stand on and permeable for drainage. It can be an existing surface, such as decking or a stone patio. Or, if an outdoor shower is installed in a location with a slippery or uncomfortable surface such as gravel, you can set a small base on top of the surface.

 Above: A Pilotis outdoor shower made of northern
Above: A Pilotis outdoor shower made of northern pine logs has a tap to turn on for a foot wash and a faucet to connect a watering hose; for information and pricing, see Douches de Jardins.

Plumbing for Outdoor Showers

Hook up an outdoor shower much like you would an indoor one. If you want both cold and hot running water, This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey recommends adding a pressure-balance valve to prevent scalding.

“And for those who live in four-season climates, by far the biggest concern is having the ability to drain pipes when the temperature drops,” cautions Richard. Water trapped inside can freeze and crack the pipes.

Shutoff valves should be located in the house with pipes traveling on a downward slope. An exposed riser and a shower head that both unscrew ensure that every drop is eliminated.

Drainage is also an issue when the shower is in use. Local building codes vary about the disposal of gray water. But for the most part, outdoor showers simply drain into the ground. A drywell consisting of an earthen pit lined with landscape fabric and filled with gravel can be placed underneath the shower floor to help disperse the flow. More complicated, but required in some locales, is routing wastewater into the sewer system.

Protect your shower in the winter

Not many people remember this, but your outdoor shower will be exposed to the winter months when not in use. This means you will need to protect it from cold temperatures, depending on your location. The most important thing to do is make sure your shower is completely drained of water to prevent freezing and cracking to the supply hoses and shower fixtures. If you bought a freestanding shower, things are easy for you. Simply remove the garden hose and put away the shower for the winter.

If your shower valve is installed on the wall and connected to a heater, turn off the water supply, put away the hose, and open the shower valves and leave them open. Also, make sure to remove the showerhead and valve from the faucet so that any residual moisture can escape.

The actual shower enclosure will also need to be protected during the winter. When you are ready to close the shower for the season, thoroughly dry the inside and cover the enclosure with a tarp, making sure the tarp is tied securely. If you did not build an enclosure, then cover the shower pipes.

Pros and Cons of an Outdoor Shower



  • Requires regular cleaning;
  • May not be usable year-round;
  • Some can be expensive to purchase and install;
  • Possible lack of privacy.

31. Stone garden shower

This shower is not easy to DIY, but I love the ide

This shower is not easy to DIY, but I love the idea of creating a window at eye level to enjoy the view out. ( Source: 31 )


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