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Summer weather report: Outdoor showers

There are bath people and there are shower people. Just like people who own a cat and a dog, there are people with baths and showers. My back could be gnarled with sprung muscles, and I’d still prefer the shower. A few years ago I stayed with friends in Hawaii and they had an outdoor shower. You could smell the plumeria and hear the cascading waves just across the hedges.

On hot summer days growing up in California, we used the garden hose to rinse off chlorine from the pool and changed outside. An outdoor shower with the fresh air all around is heavenly. And for those who are bath people, outdoor showers are incredibly useful in protecting your skin, your bathing suit, and the indoor carpeting in your home.

For less than you pay for designer coffee each week, you can put up a simple spray shower in your lawn, or patio. And for a little more cash, you can have all the hot water you need to warm right up. Don’t be surprised if, before long, you find yourself showering out in the garden each morning.

On the bucket list

Photo by Taylor Hawkins

Photo by Taylor Hawkins

Starting simple, you can set up a shower for pennies. Since you fill the pail yourself, you can control the temperature of the water. Cost: $, Utility: pool rinse only.

Bare basics

Photo by Nabuzz

Photo by Nabuzz

The next step forward is to eliminate the job of the bucket-filler. This stand-alone outdoor shower mounts at your tap. If you have basement windows, be careful where you place this fixture! Cost: $, Utility: pool rinse and shower (exposure warning).

The sun also rinses

Photo by Solar Fizz

Photo by Solar Fizz

The Swiss have invented an outdoor shower that uses solar panels to heat the water up to 158 degrees (you may prefer cooler temperatures). The makers of Solar Fizz say you can set it up in one minute by connecting the gizmo to the garden hose. These inventions suit my idea of outdoor improvements: you unpack them and screw them in. Cost: $$, Utility: pool rinse and shower using green or sustainable soaps (extreme exposure warning).

Build your own

Photo by Rona

Photo by Rona

If you want to download the plans for building this partition shower, visit Rona. Finally, for the shy, here’s a shower with panels that offers true privacy, and note the low shower head for your feet and toes. Cost: $$$, Utility: pool rinse, pet shower, human bliss zone.

I may have painted bathing preferences with a broad brush. For those who are too conflicted to choose, try this:

Photo by House Interior Design

Photo by House Interior Design

Outdoor home improvements strictly for the birds

The idea of a birdbath – the idea itself – sets my mind loose on sociology-politico judgments galore. For heaven’s sake: they just look good and help out our two-winged buddies. Still there’s a back story to birdbaths, class snobbery and our European heritage. Bah! Where I grew up in Brooklyn, the pigeons were lucky to find an open fireplug, and mind the force!

Traditional avian amenities go green

Photo by Bird Baths

Photo by Bird Baths

No wonder this is the number-one seller at Bird Baths. The traditional look of The Smart Solar Kensington Gardens 2-Tier Solar Bird Bath Fountain is paired with on-demand solar heater powered by built-in panels. The recirculation system keeps the water fresh and warm in cold climates for your beaked best friends.

Outdoor improvements with flair

Photo by Make Mine Mosaic

Photo by Make Mine Mosaic

Canadian artisans have created stained-glass decorated birdbaths. Check out other inviting designs at Make Mine Mosaic.

Terracotta be me!

Photo by The Bird Nerds

Photo by The Bird Nerds

If you’re a bird, this is the place! Part-amusement park, part-community bathhouse, this multi-tiered fountain will attract nearby daredevil fowl and hunched-up herons that, frankly, need a bath.

Everybody out!

Photo by Doughboy

Photo by Doughboy

This is the bird bath my family enjoyed during the 1960s. Birds generally detest the chemicals used in swimming pools. When we weren’t using our birdbath, we pulled over a tarp which doubled as a bombing range for the local flock. Considering the amazing inventiveness of birds (today I spied a crow carrying a plastic juice bottle in its beak), I think that we install birdbaths to benefit our own emotional hygiene.

Birdbath population planning

Photo by National Geographic

Photo by National Geographic

There is a direct connection between cats, birdbaths and tragedies (well, not for the cat.) If anyone knows how to keep Old Mouser out of a fountain, feel free to post your feedback. It seems easier to patrol the peace between in-laws.

Recent Comments

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    Hey Woodrow,

    You've put together a great post here. Hardwearing and long-lasting bedroom furniture is so important when you have young children, and choosing pieces which can handle the rough-and-tumble that comes with having little ones is key!

    Best wishes, Alex.

  • Awesomely Oddball Lawn and Garden Accessories

    I plan to do this. What was your process in painting the bottom...outside portion of the tub?

  • Poor staging can crush your home sale

    Woodrow, you have once again 'nailed' the essence of the issue of staging your home for sale with easy to understand pics and words. These are definitely rules to live by, oh wise one! I know I"m soaking up the knowledge you share--- now excuse me while I wring myself out. Can't wait for the next issue.

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    We've recently bought a house which needs A LOT of work and I'm trying to convince my other half to let me build a "room of my own" for the house, one where I can put my games console and beer fridge. She's not gone for it yet though. The most I've managed to get is an office I can work out of ... not quite the same ... LoL.

    Mine would certainly be like the car boot room in the first image :)

    Ben

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    I wonder how far the folks in the Rock House are able to drive in their car? Maybe down to their boat? It's so true that home is where you are at the moment.