Tucked into our homes during the early months of the pandemic, many of us found home improvement projects a lot more appealing. For some, there was more time for long overdue updates; for others a DIY project, especially a substantial one, was a smart way to channel restless energy. Now many of us are looking at our houses with new interest, feeling like a project here and there could not only make our homes more functional, but more aesthetically pleasing too. That weather-beaten outdoor shower with no towel hooks or benches and the door half-off its hinges is a perfect target.

For J. Powers Shepard, energetic even in normal times, a deck rebuild during the pandemic made perfect sense. Once he completed that major project, he turned his sights to the outdoor shower that he shares with his family of six in East Chop. The old shower had a nice feel to it, “And my kids didn’t want me to mess with it,” J. said.

But once the new shower was finished, J. noticed there were longer and longer showers happening, favorite tunes playing and no complaints heard.

The features J. considered when designing the shower fall loosely into three categories: function, aesthetics and convenience. In the build-out, each of those considerations is evident.  

While personal style and the location of your shower might affect your choice of materials and modifications, the features in J.’s shower provide a good roadmap it you’re planning a shower refresh or redo any time soon.


Function, Good Looks and Convenience

J. started with three imperatives for an outdoor shower: good drainage, a generous amount of ventilation and privacy, of course.

The enclosure is just tall enough to provide privacy, while leaving plenty of space above and below for good air flow. Landscaping around the shower complements and frames the structure. A floor pad made of wooden slats is comfortable and non-slip; stone drainage captures runoff. A decorative lattice against the wall of the house improves looks and still provides good air flow when it continues around an open side.

J. used vertical-grain Douglas fir for its good looks; cedar is also a long-lasting option for outdoor showers.

Brass fixtures lend a handsome, nautical look. The built-in bench is the perfect height for leg-shaving. Towel hooks and built-in wooden shampoo holders provide room for essentials. A porthole mirror is available for the four face-shavers in the family.

A second wooden shampoo holder is a great idea for a family of six. J. added the roll bar to prop a leg up when drying off. The custom razor holder is a winner too.

Every outdoor shower needs a touch of whimsy. J. is an avid gardener, so room for flowers from his perennial and annual gardens was important. Other families might add sea glass, shells or heart rocks.


Susie Middleton is editor of the Vine.