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Designing and Installing a Backyard Shower

Backyard Shower: Tools and Materials

Before you begin, research designs for outdoor showers online and in home and garden books and magazines to determine which style of outdoor shower will best suit your needs. The tools and materials will vary depending on your design decisions. But here are some you might need on hand:

Plumbing -- You'll need PVC pipes (for cold water) to start, and CPVC (hot water) pipes if you decide warm water is a must. The amount of piping you'll need depends on how close your outdoor shower is to the house. Choose shower fixtures made of bronze, copper or brass; these materials won't lose sheen over time. Purchase pliers, glue, PVC cutters, thumb and pipe wrenches to install pipes and fixtures. Of course, consult your local home improvement store to make sure you have the right materials on hand. (Many people opt to hire a plumber to handle this part of the project.)

Shower back wall -- If your shower abuts a wall of your home, you may be removing siding to position the new plumbing then replacing that portion of the exterior wall with a 4-foot (1.2-meter) wide by 10-foot (3-meter) tall shower wall. For this, you'll need a cement backer board, a cutting implement such as a circular saw, and thinset for adhering the decorative tile to the wall.

Shower walls -- If you don't need privacy, this will be simple; you can build a border at the base (read on for more about borders) and leave the outdoor shower open on three sides with no walls. But if you want privacy, there are a few options: glass block walls, free-standing privacy screens and wood stalls made of weather-resistant materials like cedar, teak, or some of the new treated-wood or fabricated wood solutions. (In this article, we'll focus on the glass block option.) Or, you can create a less expensive private enclosure by simply installing a semi-circular shower curtain rod with shower curtain.

Flooring -- Outdoor shower flooring is typically made of concrete, so you'll need concrete mix and gravel to lay down before you poor the concrete. If you decide to add a decorate surface the floor, purchase ceramic, stone or rock tiles.

Extras -- For comfort, consider shelves or hanging caddies for soaps and shampoos, and pegs or hooks for washcloths, towels, clothes and robes.