Beginning an Outdoor Shower

johnorangeJuly 10, 2013

I am beginning an outdoor shower project and welcome input. I'm currently building the cinder block inner wall.

Later I plan to make the outter wall from 4" limestone I have. I have not decided what if anything to finish out the inside. I could stucco it but I'm concerned about it being wet all the time and the effects of bleach cleaners. I'm also considering marble or ceramic tile or a graveled mortar layer...embedding gravel in a layer of mortar spread like stucco. This is my first project using mortar so I'm learning on square blocks before I begin the limestone which is natural and not as regular. So far so good!

This post was edited by johnorange on Thu, Jul 11, 13 at 11:02

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rafor

How cool! I've always wanted an outdoor shower and vow to eventually have a house that has one :)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 4:44PM
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FmrQuahog

That looks like a great start, John. We included an outdoor shower in the design of our upcoming build, and when it starts to take shape (probably not 'til October), I'll share a couple of pics. Our enclosure will not be masonry like yours; it will be fiber cement (to match the house).
Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 9:10PM
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johnorange

Thanks for the encouraging words. I live in SE Texas and really try to watch the humidity level in the house. I run dehumidifiers during the spring and fall when temperatures are mild and I don't have to run the air conditioner. Taking a shower inside subjects the bathroom to high humidity even running the vent fan. In the summer it's not uncommon to take several showers, one in the morning to refresh and wake up, one at noon before coming inside for lunch, and another in the evening. I'm looking forward to keeping all the sweat, grime, and steam outside!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 12:42PM
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johnorange

Some topics I would like to solicit more imput on include how to use exraordinary items for the showerhead. I want it to be very practical but maybe there are some fun ways to create a shower spray that would be fitting for the setting. I have seen a flower watering pot with a hose running to it so water runs out of the spout. This is a nifty outdoorsy option but would be more of a sprinkiling. I want some pressure on the spray. I plan to add some large potted evergreen plants, maybe some hanging ferns or climbing ivy to green up the interior. The slab is 10' x 10' so I have some extra room in the corners. I would like to include a bench to sit and a place to hang dry clothes. The tradeoff is there will be places for mosquitoes and even snakes to take refuge. I may roof it with cedar shakes or some other breathable material but I would prefer to leave the roof open.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 12:53PM
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FmrQuahog

I like the idea of creating a unique/fun shower spray system! We went the safe & boring route and purchased a basic outdoor fixture with a handheld head. Since our shower will also be a dog washing station, the handheld rig makes the most sense.

Here is a link that might be useful: outdoor shower fixture

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 4:28PM
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johnorange

Hmmm, good to know they make stuff specifically for outdoor installation. I have never been wild about removable shawer wands but it WOULD be critical for bathing the dog. I wonder if there is a lawn sprinkler I could mount overhead and direct down.....

By the way, I don't plan to run electrical wiring for obvious reasons. I might run some low-voltage wiring though if I include some lights under the overhang created by the cap stone I'll run around the top layer of the wall.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 5:20PM
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mongoct

Had an outdoor shower in WI, for that one the shower head was three pieces of sprinkler head, the metal arcs from this type. They didn't oscillate.

Gave a good strong spray.

I have an outdoor shower up in Maine, but it's a standard Speakman shower head. Strong spray for beach sand, etc.

I do recommend adding the option for a hand spray. Good for nooks and crannies. And pets.

For your construction, the only thing I would have recommended would have been to leave out a few of the blocks (or leave out a few half-blocks) in the first course of block. It would have helped with ventilation and drying. But you do have varmint, so maybe a mesh grid could have been used in those open spaces.

I prefer an open lattice-type of structure overhead, a pergola type. Then grow some vine up the walls and overhead.

Don't forget about winterization if that is an issue. I'll connect the shower valve to the supply tubing with unions. Unthread the union and bring the valve inside for winter freezes, etc.

Good luck with your project.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 5:58PM
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johnorange

Good input Mongoct. Just today I bought a fancy version of a garden hose spray nozzle. It has lots of spray options and I can connect it to a short coil of garden hose that will allow for washing dogs and cleaning out the shower. I'm sure I can develop a way to secure the spray nozzle overhead for the shower. I can bring in hot and cold water with supply control handles prior to joining the supply line to the hose bib. That will give me a way to protect my shower during the winter. We don't get much of a winter so I hope to use the shower during most of the winter but I can disconnect the hose on freezing nights.

The ventillation ports along the bottom would have been good.

I looked at some cattle panel at the local Tractor Supply store. it has a heavy gauge ware mesh that will make a nice arch over the shower and I think growing grapes or other cover vine would work great. It is stiff enough to cut and shape into a peaked roof or an arched roof.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 6:07PM
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johnorange

Here is an update photo. I'm just beginning the limestone. I'm having to power wash the limestine since it's accumulated a layer of dirt and algae since I bought it. I'm debating on whether to knock out the last piece of limestone on the right. It's out of sequence with the corner overlap pattern.

Anyway, so far so good but it's frustratingly slow since I'm not really a....mortician.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 4:19PM
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johnorange

I finally have running water!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 9:39AM
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mongoct

"Anyway, so far so good but it's frustratingly slow since I'm not really a....mortician."

Yer killin' me john, yer killin' me.

Stone work can be a bear. If you're anything like me, you'll get good at it just as you're finishing up the top course of stone. Almost makes you want to star working from the top down so you can be good from the start! lol

I like the details with the watering can, etc. Nice touch.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 10:46AM
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johnorange

Here is a recent update photo. I added a header over the doorway and another row of cinder blocks. Total height is about seven feet. I mortared in the shower fixtures and am working on the limestone outter wall. I'm a little faster with mortar now but still struggle to keep the motar in that fine line between too dry to work and too wet for strength. Now that I have four rows of stone, I plan to change the pattern for a wainscot look using a row of smaller stone. I have to change anyway because I'm running low on the larger size. I may use brick to frame out the doorway. If so, I may run a layear of brick before I add the next row of limestone. I need to inventory remaining materials.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 2:25PM
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johnorange

Outside

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 2:26PM
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johnorange

Here is a quick update on the shower project. I'm still slowly making progress putting up stone around the outside and I'll try to post an update on that soon. I spent one Saturday recently sprucing up the inside and added some planters. This is closing in on the look I want but I'm still pondering ways to liven up the inside walls. Does anyone have brainstorming ideas you can share? I have some white marble tile (12x12) that I could use but I want this to be an easy environment to keep clean. A growth of algae on concrete might look rustic and outdoorsy but probably not on marble. I have some limestone veneer I could scatter randomly over the walls but not enough to cover them. I could also just smear a thin layer of mortar over the wall to cover the cinder blocks....stucco style. All input appreciated!!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 4:41PM
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johnorange

Update on the ouside work...

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 10:56AM
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enduring

This is beautiful! I love the detail of the ledge. What about the rest of your house? It looks like you are redoing it too.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 12:00PM
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lotteryticket

It is so cool looking!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 12:46PM
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annemouse

Love the shower with that plant, it makes everything so much friendlier. How about adding a "minigarden" or some wall planters?

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 3:13PM
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johnorange

Thanks for the good words...and the planters suggestion. I would like to add enough greenery for it to feel more garden-like and less like a cinder block room. I have seen some planter brackets that can be added along some of the walls later. I have also pondered lining the top of the wall with planter boxes and letting ferns/ivy go wild. I had some peppermint I needed to move so that's what I have now :>) The larger plant is a miniature date palm. Hopefully it will grow up to about 7 ft.

Yes, I am also redoing the house. I replaced cedar and plywood exterior siding with hardi-siding. Also tore down and re-did the porch. The interior is almost entirely remodeled. I have just about forgotten how to use a fishing pole!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 2:04PM
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johnorange

Here is an update photo. The exterior is just about finished. I plan to add a cap stone along the top of the wall and do some minor work over the doorway.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 9:40AM
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johnorange

I'm applying scattered limestone veneer to the interior walls to liven them up a bit.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 9:44AM
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