Building an outdoor shower in the woods!
Updated: Feb 25
First, We had to move the RV home. We have officially started Airbnbing our RV that moved to our property at the end of the season last year. After a few years of Seasonal camping at a Beautiful Trailer Park 3 hrs away, we discovered we now had everything we needed for relaxation and fresh breathing space once leaving the city. Just add some good friends and wine and we are ALL set! Also both our children were getting ready to go off to school in two different directions, and there would be no time for travelling 3 hours when we would want to be travelling to see our kids. Moving our >10,000lb RV over 3 hours to get home and then maneuver it around the well, the septic, the 3 generation Maple trees, the chicken pen, and the neighbours retaining wall - was NO EASY task. But there she sits!!
Where exactly do we put it?
We have learned a lot about the space over the past two summers. That the previous owner had planted many many trees over the 8 yrs he lived here to help create this lot, and the privacy. We realized that there is an entire half acre that is secluded from the other, in terms of trees and bushes. This created the best naturally division for our trailer, literally nestled in the woods surrounded by lake, bush, trees etc.
The plans for 2020...OH WAIT!
We would get the area ready or the fall, do some maintenance and build the deck in the spring, hire the port-a-potty company we contacted in the fall for a separate bathroom and hand washing station...It would be perfect - Except enter COVID-19! Bam! Just like that, travel was suspended, Airbnb was suspended, the port a potty company was no longer reachable, and we could never host anyways because there was no toilet paper, or cleaning supplies, or gloves to be found as people across the world hoarded and stockpiled. The nice linens I had planned to order, would never arrive in time, SO many things that were against us. Than a few things happened, I thought about "off-grid", we could technically be off grid, but I did not like the idea of guests not being able to wash their hands, I mean we are in a pandemic, and they are strict rules to follow. Just when I thought we would lose the entire season, something shifted, the city was entering stage 2, Airbnb was starting to open back up, we are able to start purchasing supplies again...
What about a shower?
The only thing we were missing was the bathroom. We already had a wonderful composting hemp outdoor toilet, that we almost made the previous owner remove before closing. Glad we didn't push that issue. Knowing that the RV came with an outdoor shower, I started looking into ways to make THAT functional, I came across a simple and functional "outdoor shower" video. Theres seemed much more complicated for what I was looking for, but the style, size and dimensions were definitely going to work with what were able to pick up. So we spent some time travelling and calling around, and we got our supplies. But this time, the build was going to be different. The last couple of videos I watched were women making the projects. I had never really made anything before, I usually design and then leave on the list of projects for my husband to do. This was something I was determined to make myself from start to finish...ans guess what it- it works, and it is lovely. the only thing I had to skimp on was the cedar. I desperately wanted cedar planks for the walls - I thought the smell would be SO heavenly - but in the end I decided that I could get that same sensory experience by creating a cedar bench for the shower. So we bought one really nice looking piece of cedar - We have yet to make that bench though :)
I can do this...
...With a little help from my friends. Our little Pastel Calls were very curious as to what I was doing, they follow me everywhere :)
3x 4"x4"x10' cut in half, so 5' high
5x 2"x 4" x 8' pressure treated
14x 1"x 6" x 12' pressure treated
7x 4x4 deck blocks
2 1/2' deck screw for corners into 4x4'
1 1/2' deck screws for 1" privacy boards.
Total cost I believe was just under $200 for lumber.
The original plan was to make it 6' long on the far side, 4 feet wide on both ends, 3 ft wide leading up to the walk in door area and 2ft for the small inside wall.
I made both the 4ft ends first. I placed the bottom 2x4 about 30'' from bottom (around knees), and the top one around 5 ft so that you could still see above it, but were well covered no matter your height. My original plan was to stagger the inside and out side 1x6' on either side of the 4x4, however no matter how tight I made them you could still see inside, in the end I chose to build the slats closer together on one side only with minimal spacing in order for their to be privacy. This saved me a bit of time, and money on materials. So I welcomed the change of plans.
Once the two panels were in place, I levelled them (with extra hands), and added my top and bottom 2x4s to the long side of the exterior wall. Then I cut the rest of the 12' 1x6's to fit
We decided to add a few things to make it more "spa" like...
- couple of hooks
- an outdoor shower mat
- Hanging metal rack to hold toiletries
- towel bar
- gravel for drainage
This was definitely a physically labour intensive project, but was completed in just a few hours over two days.
I absolutely love it and knowing I built the entire thing with a bit of help from my girls, was a huge success. In time I may stain or paint, add more gravel. the outcome, and hope to do more of these builds in the future.