Is an outdoor shower a good idea? 6 designers on why they added one to a project

Experts explain why an outdoor shower was a must in their design

(Image credit: RailiCA Design; Choeff Levy Fischman Architecture + Design / Kris Tamburello; LaGuardia Design Group / Anthony Crisafulli)

Think an outdoor shower is a worthwhile addition to a backyard? It’s certainly a luxurious feature, but you might wonder if it’s something you’ll actually make good use of.

After all, it will need to be factored into the budget for planting and landscaping, and you’ll want it to complement your interior design, too.

To answer the question of whether it should be part of backyard ideas, we asked design professionals who have included an outdoor bathroom (and shower) in one of their projects to give us the lowdown on why it was a must, and this is what they told us.

6 times an outdoor shower was a good idea

Outdoor shower ideas are practical and they can be gorgeous, too. Like the designs for the inside of your home, outdoor bathrooms can include fabulous materials that make them great to look at as well as to use.

An outdoor shower can make it easier to enjoy yard space that includes features such as a pool, hot tub, or tennis court, as well as being convenient to use after spending time on the beach if your home is by the coast.

There’s plenty of inspiration below as designers explain why an outdoor shower was the right choice in all these backyards.

1. Exclusive space

Outdoor shower on terrace with raised planting and large planters and bench

(Image credit: Choeff Levy Fischman Architecture + Design Photograph: Kris Tamburello)

An outdoor shower can be an appealing alternative to using an interior bathroom in the right climate.

‘For this 11,724 square-foot tropical modern waterfront home in Bal Harbour, Fl, we designed the upstairs premier bedroom boasting a sprawling bathroom with its own private terrace and outdoor shower,’ says of Ralph Choeff, founding principal of Choeff Levy Fischman Architecture + Design. The materials used for the shower include Italian travertine, brass fixtures, planters, and lush landscaping.

‘There’s nothing like showering outside with nature,’ he adds. ‘It’s very Zen and in South Florida, very refreshing on a typical warm day. This particular outdoor shower has an open-air top yet the walls and the landscaping are high enough that they provide privacy.’

Ralph Choeff
Ralph Choeff

Ralph Choeff is the founding principal of Choeff Levy Fischman Architecture + Design. He is a graduate of Pratt Institute where he earned a bachelor of architecture. Upon graduation in 1978, he moved to Miami where he launched his firm in 1983. He has since established himself and the firm as leaders in south Florida’s tropical modern architecture.

2. Focal point

Outdoor shower with seat and swimming pool and tub beyond with trees and lawn in background

(Image credit: Belgard)

An outdoor shower can be a focal point as well as a practical one.

‘Outdoor showers can be a great addition to an outdoor living space, especially if you have other backyard features like a pool or hot tub’ says Joe Raboine, vice president of design, Oldcastle APG.

‘They are also useful if you live close to the beach or areas where you may track in excessive amounts of dirt or sand. From a design standpoint, outdoor showers can add a sense of ambiance to your backyard and become a focal point with interesting design and product selections.

‘For this particular project, located outside of Fort Worth, Texas, the outdoor shower was one of the key elements the homeowners wanted to include in the design. The cobblestone-style hardscapes used for the flooring are reminiscent of an indoor shower but with a more natural look and feel. Concrete panel systems were used to separate the shower area from the pool and remaining outdoor spaces, as well as offer built-in seating. This outdoor shower added both functionality and beauty to this amazing outdoor living area.’

Joe Raboine
Joe Raboine

Joe Raboine is vice president of design at Oldcastle APG, and oversees the Belgard residential program. He strives to promote the idea that outdoor living is not only a good investment for homeowners but can also fundamentally change lives for the better by bringing people together. Joe started his career as a contractor over 25 years ago.

3. Double up

Outdoor shower and adjoining changing room with slatted screen on raised paving and with surrounding planting

(Image credit: LaGuardia Design Group Photograph: Anthony Crisafulli)

This design shows an outdoor shower can be incorporated with another space to make the most of outdoor living.

‘This shower enclosure acts as both a changing room and a shower for the pool area and for surf trips from the nearby beach,’ explains Chris LaGuardia of LaGuardia Design Group.

‘The mahogany enclosure ensures good airflow and privacy. The design also mimics the siding on the pool house. A surfboard rack is integrated into the design.’

Chris LaGuardia
Chris LaGuardia

Chris LaGuardia is the founder/principal of LaGuardia Design Group whose mission has always been to merge architecture and landscape through the lens of artful design and environmental science. By means of creative grading, planting native species, and stitching structures into the natural rolling contours of a space, the distinction between structure and nature appear to be one and the same. LDG specializes in restoration, preservation, creating ecosystems and biodiversity, all the while designing spaces that invite, inspire, and captivate.

4. Nautical notes

Outdoor shower in brass finish on blue building with black door

(Image credit: Historical Concepts Photograph: Tim Lenz Interior designer: Bryan Graybill Builder: Ocean Building Corp Landscaping: Hooten Land Design)

Adding an outdoor shower can be convenient for guests as well as a homeowner. ‘The owner of this private residence in East Hampton, New York, with a background in hospitality and interior design, wanted to create a boutique hotel experience for his many guests,’ says Andrew Cogar, AIA, president of Historical Concepts.

‘To create a sense of discovery, we incorporated the pool and a “cocktail cabana” (pool house) into the landscape, reminiscent of a 1780s potting shed and water garden. Alongside the pool house, we tucked a chic, but unassuming outdoor shower, with design details borrowed from the nautical influences of teak and brass found elsewhere on the property.

‘Mahogany privacy screens playfully interact with whimsical, irregular siding painted in historic Narragansett Green (by Benjamin Moore). These colors and tones help the outdoor shower harmoniously blend into the landscape, while at the same time, providing direct access into the pool house. Here you can see a salvaged door was painted a dark, glossy black (Railings by Farrow & Ball). This created a sense of drama via highlights and shadows giving the door a “wet” look, appropriate for the shower.

‘With this charming outdoor shower as a complement to the “cocktail cabana,” the homeowners and guests can spend an entire day lounging, resort-style, by the pool, with everything they need to enjoy summer in the Hamptons.’

Andrew Cogar
Andrew Cogar

Andrew is president of Historical Concepts, a traditional architecture and planning firm. Remaining true to the vision of the firm’s founder, James L Strickland, he and his partners practice precedent-based design, creating homes that range from the highly traditional to imaginative reinterpretations of historic forms. 

5. Natural feature

Outdoor shower with curved wood screen and changing room with privet hedge beyond

(Image credit: LaGuardia Design Group Photograph: Antoine Bootz)

As well as being a great addition when there’s a pool or hot tub in the yard, an outdoor shower can be teamed with features such as a tennis court.

‘This shower was situated in a garden setting mostly out of view from the main sitting areas,’ says Chris LaGuardia. ‘Its primary use was as a changing room for the pool and tennis area as well as a shower.

‘The material for the changing room is ipe, a tropical hardwood that is highly resistant to moisture and rotting. The design allows airflow into the enclosure and to help keep it dry yet also provides privacy.

‘The showering area is formed by a carved-out tree log stood on end. This is further enclosed by a privet hedge to add a showering-in-the-garden quality.‘

6. By the beach

Outdoors shower on raised plinth a back and side of white house

(Image credit: RailiCA Design)

For those who live near the ocean, an outdoor shower is the perfect way to keep the house cleaner.

‘In so many of our California projects, the ocean is nearby, and we install outdoor showers to keep the salt and sand out of the house,’ says interior designer Raili Clasen of RailiCA Design. ‘Coming straight out of the Pacific Ocean into a hot outdoor shower is a treat all in itself.’

Complement an outdoor shower and make your yard the perfect venue for entertaining by following outdoor decorating trends. And if your home needs a refresh pick one of the exterior paint colors that make a house look more expensive. The rules designers follow to find the best exterior paint will help you select the shade to suit your setting.

Sarah Warwick
Contributing Editor

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously executive editor of Ideal Home, she’s specialized in interiors, property and gardens for over 20 years, and covers interior design, house design, gardens, and cleaning and organizing a home for H&G. She’s written for websites, including Houzz, Channel 4’s flagship website, 4Homes, and Future’s T3; national newspapers, including The Guardian; and magazines including Future’s Country Homes & Interiors, Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living, and Style at Home, as well as House Beautiful, Good Homes, Grand Designs, Homes & Antiques, LandLove and The English Home among others. It’s no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house renovator.