How to Build an Outdoor Shower

This weekend project is made for those who know outdoor fun can get a little messy sometimes.

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Build an Outdoor Shower

Whether spending a day at the beach, exploring the forest or working in the garden, outdoor living gets dirty pretty fast. Instead of tracking the outdoors into the house at the end of the day, this outdoor shower is a luxury that is surprisingly affordable. Offering enough privacy to shower or change and convenient enough to be used to hose off feet, kids or pets, this weekend project can be built anywhere a garden hose will reach using basic lumber, corrugated tin and a simple plumbing assembly.

You Will Need

six panels 25-1/2-inch x 72-inch corrugated tin / four 4-inch x 4-inch x 9-foot posts / six 2-inch x 4-inch x 46-1/2-inch planks / six 2-inch x 2-inch x 65-inch planks / two 5/4-inch x 6-inch x 57-inch planks / one 5/4-inch x 6-inch x 46-1/2-inch planks / one 3/4-inch x 46-inch galvanized pipe / two 3/4-inch galvanized pipe flanges / one box 3-inch deck screws / one box #12 x 1-inch roofing screws / 1 quart wood stain or paint / shower plumbing assembly / 72-inch shower curtain / 1 square yard #57 gravel (optional) / posthole digger / drill with Phillips head screwdriver tip / measuring tape / level / paintbrush

Establish Location

Find a flat site with good drainage on which to build your outdoor shower. Choose a spot to establish the rear right corner of the enclosure and dig a hole 24 inches deep and 6 inches in diameter using a post-hole digger.

Measure and Dig Post Holes

Dig three more 24-inch-deep post holes spaced at 46-1/2 inches to create a square. The 2-inch x 4-inch x 46-1/2-inch lumber to be used in later steps may be placed on the ground as spacers in lieu of measuring tape. Place the 4-inch x 4-inch x 9-foot posts in the holes.

Level Posts

Make sure posts rest firmly in the holes and use a level to square and level. All posts should stand at a uniform height of 7 feet. Nail or screw temporary wooden stakes to adjacent sides of each post to hold in place. Although all posts are theoretically level and perfectly placed, using the stakes instead of filling the holes in at this time will make it easier to make necessary adjustments as framing is installed.

Attach Top Rails

With a helper, span the space between the posts on the right side with a 2-inch x 4-inch x 46-1/2-inch, using clamps to support it. Center and align the the wood flush with the top of each post. Confirm rail is level (making adjustments as needed) and secure with two 3-inch screws at each post. Remove clamps once secure.

Attach Remaining Top Rails

Repeat the process shown in previous step to place secure top rails at the back and at on the left side of the enclosure (leaving the front open).

Attach Bottom Rails

Mark a spot 12 inches from the ground on each post. Working with one plank at a time, place 2-inch x 4-inch x 46-1/2-inch rails between posts using the same method used to secure top rails. If the ground is not perfectly level, adjustments will be needed to make sure bottom rails are level before attaching using two 3-inch screws at each post.

Attach Vertical Braces

Place 2-inch x 2-inch x 65-inch rails at each post between the top and bottom rails. The fit will likely be snug—vertical braces may be tapped into place using a rubber mallet or block of wood. Attach vertical braces to posts using 3inch screws and attach to top and bottom rails by driving screws in at an angle. The now-completed frames are used to hang the walls and also help stabilize the structure.

Attach Top Cap

The cap is primarily decorative, but also helps stabilize the enclosure. Place a 5/4-inch x 6-inch x 57-inch plank on top of the right-hand posts with the back end and inside edges flush with the posts. The front of the top rail will overhang by about 1-3/4 inches. Secure to posts and top rail using 3-inch screws. Place a 5/4-inch x 6-inch x 46-1/2-inch plank on top of the back edge of the enclosure, butting the end against the installed side and flush along the inside edge. Secure with 3-inch screws and then attach another 5/4-inch  x 6-inch x 57-inch plank to the top of the left side of the enclosure to complete.

Fill in Post Holes

Use a level to check all sides one last time to confirm enclosure is level and square. Make any necessary adjustments, then fill in post holes with dirt and pack firmly. In locations where weather can be severe or where soil is sandy, the holes may be filled with concrete instead of dirt to offer added stability.

Apply Paint or Stain

Using paint or stain is an inexpensive way to add style to even the most basic structures. Here we use a rosewood semi-transparent stain.

Lay Gravel (Optional)

Gravel will help with drainage and prevent some locations from becoming a mud pit after extended shower use. Although this step is optional, its clean look and functionality go a long way.

Attach Temporary Support

Attach a 2-inch x 4-inch to the bottom of a bottom brace using wood clamps affixed from the inside of the enclosure. This temporary brace will help hold the tin siding in place while it is attached.

Attach Siding

Place a 25-1/2-inch x 72-inch panel of corrugated tin vertically in the first frame, supported by the temporary brace. Make sure it rests level and sits flush against the frame edges and against corner post. Use roofing screws to attach tin to top and bottom rails securely.

Attach Siding

Once first panel is secure, add a second panel to complete the side. Expect an overlap of 1-1/2 inches at the center. Attach second panel and repeat the process on the back and opposing side of the enclosure to complete three-sided enclosure.

Assemble Plumbing

Shower assemblies may be purchased as a kit or put together using inexpensive parts. Our assembly uses one 1/2-inch x 30-inch galvanized pipe, one 1/2-inch x 5-inch galvanized pipe, one 1/2-inch ball valve, one hose to 1/2-inch pipe adapter, one 1/2-inch pipe straps and a shower head with flexible hose.

Attach Plumbing to Enclosure

Using pipe straps and 3-inch screws, attach plumbing assembly to the post in either corner of the enclosure. Make sure the hose attachment extends below the bottom edge of the siding and the valve is easily reached.

Attach Hose

Attach a hose to the bottom of the plumbing assembly. If the shower will be used infrequently, the hose may be attached on days when it will be used. For a shower that will see regular use, make sure the hose is secure and doesn’t present a tripping hazard.

Attach Shower Head Clip

Use a 3-inch screw to attach the holder for the shower head to the enclosure frame. Turn on the water to make sure there are no leaks and the holder is well-aimed. Although a rigid shower pipe can be used, a handheld fixture comes in handy for hosing off dirty feet, sand-covered children or muddy dogs.

Attach Shower Curtain Rod

This sturdy rod doesn’t just support a curtain, it helps add significant stability to your new structure. Measure down 2 inches from the top of the enclosure and affix a 3/4-inch x 46-inch galvanized rod across the entryway using 3-inch screws to affix two galvanized flanges.

Finishing Touches

You can now add a shower curtain, pavers or other materials to act as a shower floor, additional hooks for hanging towels and your shower is ready to go.

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