An outdoor shower can be both fun and practical. If you don’t want kids, pets and other adults tracking dirt through your house, an outdoor shower is a great way to keep the great outdoors where it belongs: outdoors. Below are some of the biggest trends in outdoor showers, along with tips from experts on how to incorporate them into your outdoor space.

Turn a boring backyard into a relaxing retreat with an outdoor shower. Image: Pearl Remodeling

Tips for installing your outdoor shower

“Outdoor showers are a nice feature for pool owners or beachfront homes,” says Jarret Acevedo, a master plumber and owner of Jarret Acevedo Plumbing and Heating. However, depending on how low your temperatures drop in the winter, you’ll need to take precautions with your shower. “Care is definitely needed to plumb it properly to protect from freezing if it’s an area with frigid temperatures,” Acevedo warns.

Placing your shower strategically kills two birds with one stone. “Depending on your layout, you can punch through the shower wall and build a shower that opens up to another rain shower outside,” says Jonathan Self, a real estate broker for Center Coast Realty.

Cleaning and maintenance for outdoor showers

Even if you don’t have a pool, an outdoor shower can still make a backyard area feel like a private retreat. When constructing your outdoor shower, keep in mind the materials used. “Using materials like smooth river rock helps to hide dirt and sand and keeps the area looking clean so you’re not constantly cleaning after every shower,” Self says.

While outdoor showers aren’t terribly hard to build, Self warns that it’s easy to get them wrong. “Make sure the water from your shower is being drained away from your house,” he recommends. “You’ll also want to make sure the water isn’t collecting when you’re done, as you don’t want the shower to become a mosquito trap.”

Environmentally-conscious outdoor shower construction

That water runoff also has potentially negative environmental consequences, so keep in mind the products you use. Melissa Rappaport Schifman, editor and sustainability thought leader at Rise, recommends soaps and shampoos that are made from all-natural, biodegradable ingredients, particularly if your shower water soaks into the ground. It’s worth checking that your plans adhere to your local municipal codes.

It’s also important to choose an efficient showerhead. “A low-flow showerhead will help reduce the amount of water used without sacrificing comfort,” Schifman says. A standard showerhead uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute, whereas one with the EPA’s WaterSense Label uses two gallons per minute — or less.

In addition to a water-saving showerhead, Schifman recommends using a solar hot water heater in order to save money. “It can be as simple as a suspended bag that absorbs the sun’s heat (good for camping), to a simple outdoor tank, painted black, to more complex systems with solar tube collectors.”

Check out some of the hottest trends in outdoor showers:

This poolside shower is ideal for entertaining outdoors. Image: CG&S Design Build

Make your outdoor shower feel integrated by matching exterior wood designs. Image: Coast View Construction Inc

A concrete shower offers total privacy and is one of the easiest to clean. Image: Rockefeller Kempel Architects

This tropical pavilion shower has a cut-out for soap and other essentials. Image: Maxa Constructions

Consider adding areas to store objects so they can remain dry. Image: David Rolston Landscape Architects

When communing with nature, be a thoughtful guest and choose all-natural products. Image: BE Landscape Design

A shower on the porch (and next to the laundry room) prevents mess throughout the house. Image: Rethink Design Studio

These double doors create a seamless transition from the luxurious drop-in bathtub to the dual outdoor showers. Image: GM Construction, Inc.

Did any of the above outdoor shower ideas inspire you?