At its most basic, an outdoor shower consists of a garden hose or outdoor tap. At its most elaborate, it's part of a complete outdoor bathroom facility.
If one lives near the beach, an outdoor shower can be a way for people to clean off sand and mud before entering the house. For pool owners, a swimming pool shower allows bathers to rinse off the chlorine before dressing. Also, having people rinse off lotions, body oils and other dirt and debris before they swim will help keep the pool filter running well.
Design considerations for an outdoor pool shower include the location, the plumbing and the type of enclosure. A simple pool shower may be best located near the pool, while a more complex bathroom or outdoor shower house may be better situated elsewhere on the property. Convenience and privacy are the main factors that will determine placement.
High-end outdoor showers are plumbed for hot and cold water. Local codes may dictate that they drain to sewer lines. Many people are installing such showers simply for the joy of showering in the outdoors; however, it can be costly to extend water lines to be in proximity to the pool.
Simpler outdoor showers may run cold water only and be used for quickly rinsing off when entering or exiting the pool.
Another option is to use the sun to heat your pool shower water. Low-end solar showers consisting of a black vinyl shower enclosure fed by a garden hose can be purchased fairly cheaply from retail camping outlets. More elaborate solar pool showers can heat between 5 and 80 gallons of water and are designed to add to your yard decor.
Don't forget to consider drainage when plumbing your outdoor shower. No one likes standing in a slimy puddle of water to shower. A simple drain in the center of the floor should be sufficient, but there are more elaborate design options if you want something a little different.
If people will be showering without bathing suits, they'll need privacy. Some people may even feel uncomfortable rinsing off in a bathing suit in public view. How much privacy is needed for an outdoor shower is really a matter of personal preference. A simple curtain may be sufficient for some, while others may prefer solid walls and perhaps even a roof.
Numerous prefabricated outdoor showers are available, and many pool houses include showers as part of their plans. Of course, you always have the option of designing your own outdoor shower enclosure or pool house to meet your specific needs and fit your home and yard decor.