8 invigorating outdoor shower ideas

The ultimate outdoor accessory.
Outdoor shower in a tropical style garden on the Gold Coast(Photography & Styling: Louise Roche)

An outdoor shower may sound like a superfluous addition to a backyard, but if you live in a coastal area, have a backyard pool, love getting your hands (and boots) dirty in the garden or have pets, it’s actually an extremely versatile and useful thing to have! It’ll keep you clean and prevent sand, dirt and mud from entering your house, too. 

Expert landscaper, host of Selling in the City and founder of The Scape Artist, Paddy Milne, recently won an award for an outdoor shower he designed for a garden in Castlemaine, Victoria, so it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about setting one up and making it look good. He says there are five main things every backyard outdoor shower needs: a connection to the surrounding landscape, well-considered plantings, quality material selections, privacy, and a sensible place to hang your towel and robe.  

Now that we’ve misted over the basics of outdoor shower design, let’s dive into the nitty gritty and take a look at eight stunning outdoor shower designs we’ve collected from the pages of Home Beautiful

beach house back deck outdoor shower
Chris returning from a surf. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jamee Deaves)

What drainage is needed for an outdoor shower?

In Australia, drainage requirements (also known as the Legal Point of Discharge or LPOD) for outdoor showers vary from state to state. In Queensland, for example, if an outdoor shower has both hot and cold water, it must have a roof and a grated drain that connects to the sewer. In NSW and Victoria, outdoor showers must discharge to sewerage. These states do not allow run off from outdoor showers to be  directed to the stormwater drain or to the garden. 

“If there’s flexibility with your legal point of discharge, then natural stone pavers can be installed with surrounding surface pits or sun surface drainage,” says Paddy. “Groundcovers can then be planted around these drains to help disguise them.” 

Paddy says you might even have to get creative with outdoor drainage, if a lower drainage point isn’t feasible, “Consider a bath on a deck or elevated platform.” 

White home exterior with weatherboard cladding and lush landscaping and lawn
(Credit: Photography & Styling: Louise Roche)

Outdoor shower privacy ideas

Paddy says it’s important to consider how private you want the outdoor shower zone to be before you begin to install it. “Is it an ‘after pool’ shower, or something more intimate that requires screening from neighbours and other household members?” 

The next thing to think about is where to place the outdoor shower. “The space to be openly celebrated, or a quiet retreat?” If you live in an urban area, he recommends scoping out the site of the outdoor shower for any upstairs neighbours who may be able to look down into the shower zone. Once you’ve identified all the aspects you need to shield from prying eyes, he says you can get creative with a variety of screening options: 

  • Laser cut screens
  • Vertical blades 
  • Shower curtains
  • Walls or timber screening

“Planting can also play a big role, but generally requires time to establish to be effective,” says Paddy.

Best flooring for an outdoor shower 

The most important thing to think about when selecting a base for your outdoor shower is the slip-resistance of the surface. Then it’s really just a matter of aesthetics.

Paddy tends to favour natural stone. “Natural stone feels right under foot, even if it’s just the ‘landing spot’ under your shower head.” He says timber is another great option, but may require more long-term maintenance. “There are some stunning composite timber options on the market now or you could consider a natural timber that’s left to silver and grey, saving oiling twice a year.” 

Outdoor bathtub on deck of a coastal weekender.
(Credit: Photographer: Marcel Aucar | Styling: Wendy Bannister)

Best plants for an outdoor shower

Which brings us to the next point: the best plants to surround an outdoor shower with. Paddy says that while tropical plants are popular and work well, you don’t have to be restricted to just tropical selections. 

“Any garden and planting style can include an outdoor shower – the key is matching the shower design to the style of the garden. Our stone and corten feature sits perfectly within a bush setting, but imagine a more ‘Roman baths’ style in a formal clipped garden; a rustic tub in dryscape setting of succulents and perennials, a clawfoot bath under a pergola of grapes or a minimalist feature in a sleek modern landscape of architectural plants,” says Paddy.

How to make your outdoor shower water efficient

“As with all water use, efficiency is paramount,” says Paddy. “Consult with your plumber on opportunities for using rain water for your hot and cold water supply and incorporating a waste water recycling system. If reusing the water is an option for you, be mindful about the shampoo and soaps you use.” 

(Photography: Rebecca Lu | Styling: Rachel Peters)

Outdoor shower lighting

Outdoor lighting is important if you plan to use the shower in the evening, but it can also turn the shower into a feature of your garden.

If you can see yourself showering under the stars regularly, then ensure the pathway to the outdoor shower is well lit, says Paddy, who recommends investing in bollard lights or subtle lighting hidden within the landscaping. 

Backyard outdoor shower ideas

(Image via @thescapeartist on Instagram)

Rustic outdoor shower

The award-winning garden feature

Paddy Milne’s award-winning outdoor shower, designed for a native bush garden, features bespoke vertical Corten steel panels contrasted against a natural stone wall. “It shows man-made and mother nature working together,” he says.

All white exterior weatherboard outdoor shower
(Photography and styling: Louise Roche)

Contemporary outdoor shower

Surrounded by low-maintenance OzTurf

Located strategically between the swimming pool and the house, this outdoor shower in a Gold Coast garden designed by Denise Staffa of Outside In is the perfect place to rinse off before heading back indoors. “It works so well, the kids use it for their evening shower after a swim,” says homeowner, Amanda. While much of the garden features Sir Walter lawn, in this zone, OzTurf provides a maintenance free solution that is also incredibly practical in a rinse-off zone. The shower head is from Reece. 

hamptons outdoor shower
(Photography: Suzi Appel | Styling: Michelle Hart) 

Hamptons style outdoor shower

With the right accessories

What better way to complete a slice  of urban paradise than with a sleek outdoor shower? At this home in Melbourne’s inner east, a Milli ‘Inox’ outdoor shower from Reece is tucked into a quiet corner. The outdoor is accessorised with a drum stool, which provides the perfect spot to throw a towel. 

outdoor brass showerhead
(Photography: Jody D’Arcy)

Poolside outdoor shower

Surrounded by low-maintenance plants

The makeover of this backyard included the installation of an above-ground swimming pool, the construction of a heated cabana, an L-shaped pond, low-maintenance native plants and an outdoor shower, of course! The outdoor shower area is framed by colourful plants including spreading succulents (including blue chalk sticks and fire and ice). Cassa Blue and iopmoea sweet light green add to the pretty palette. 

Outdoor shower and stone dining table.
(Photography: Ess Creative) 

Tropical outdoor shower

Hidden by greenery

No beach house is complete without an outdoor shower, the first line of defence against wayward grains of sand. In this tropical Sydney garden, smart landscaping keeps the shower zone private, with the broad, spectacular leaves of elephant ears (Colocasia) fanning out to provide a barrier between the garden and shower zone. “Having a pool gives the house a fun and active element where the boys can play while I barbecue,” says homeowner Chris. 

(Photography: Rebecca Lu | Styling: Rachel Peters) 

Beach house retreat

Featuring a weatherboard backdrop

This recently renovated two-bedroom granny flat and holiday home is located just five minutes from the ocean, so it was essential to create a place for guests to rinse off upon their return from the beach. Weatherboards painted in Dulux Silkwort provides a neutral backdrop to the shower zone and soon enough, a fledgling frangipani tree will provide plenty of dappled shade and privacy. 

(Photography: Louise Roche | Styling: Kylie Jackes) 

Combined outdoor shower and bath

Enclosed by decking

Why settle for just an outdoor shower when you can have an outdoor shower and and outdoor bath? At this coastal home in northern NSW, the owners had the genius idea to close off a courtyard and turn it into a heavenly outdoor bathing zone. “Britt wwas keen to extend the space outside and create an enclosed deck with a bath, where visitors could enjoy a cup of tea or a glass of wine in the tub under the stars in privacy.”

Sam and Snezana Wood home swimming pool
(Photography: Natalie Jeffcott) 

White outdoor shower

For an elegant ‘barely there’ effect

Look closely and you’ll spot an elegant white outdoor shower nestled between flower beds right beside the pool at the home of Sam and Snezana Wood. It’s a great spot to cool off after an intense gym session or to rinse off after a swim in the pool. The couple and their kids are very active, and weekends are often filled with “sport, more sport and more sport!” 

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