The outdoor shower at our lake house is one of the best things about the advent summer. It is tucked behind the cabin next to the bluestone patio we extended a few weeks ago (more on that later). Guests love it. And the best part, you don't have to feel guilty about wasting water during a long, luxurious shower because you're also watering the plants.
Several years ago, we added a collection of bog plants that could handle the wet soil and mixed them with native ferns. This year I stuck in a few sinister 'Bowles Black' violas and some mint. The biggest of the large, prehistoric-looking plants is petasites (I know it can be invasive but I planted it before I knew its reputation. Luckily in our heavy clay soil ours hasn't moved in four years). I also planted the almost as large—and equally non-native—Astilboides tabularis. Given the opportunity, I would definitely start again with native bog plants just in case these escape after I'm gone (or when I'm not looking).
Some things to think about:
•Pay attention to how your water drains. You want to avoid creating pools of standing water (mosquitos!). The water from our shower drains very well into the sand and gravel substrate under the bluestone. It's also sponged up by the moss we placed in the cracks.
•With all those lovely plants around, make sure to use biodegradable soaps and shampoo.
•Buy a mildew-resistant shower curtain. Cotton canvas might be beautiful but in a wet climate it will quickly start blackening up.
•You can buy the outdoor shower as a kit from many online places. Chad had the rounded curtain rod made by the metalworker he uses in his lighting business.
•In cold winter areas, disconnect and open up all the plumbing valves so that the pipes don't freeze and burst.