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For The Garden

Outdoor Showers

Author: Terri Feder
Issue: July, 2014, Page 38
Layers of earthy Gold Rush ledger stone define this organic Contemporary-style shower wall. Designed and built by Enchanted Garden Landscape Inc., the wall features cutouts framing views of the landscape, built-in planter boxes on its backside and hidden compartments for soap and other toiletries. The shower’s surroundings include a planting bed filled with sun-loving horsetail reeds and a border of black pebbles.



Fun and functional, outdoor showers are making a splash

Liberating, exhilarating, magical—all are terms enthusiasts of outdoor showering have used to describe the experience. Today, alfresco sudsing is no longer reserved for the beach, island resorts or remote cabins. More and more homeowners in the desert Southwest are adding showers to their bevy of outdoor amenities and for good reason. They offer the relaxation that comes from bathing in a natural setting—ideally with great views—along with practicality, especially when you live in a region where warm, arid climes define much of the year. Those in need of a post-swim rinse as well as grimy gardeners, the “pool-less,” and anyone wanting to commune with nature can reap the benefits of an outdoor shower. Whether a simple tiled wall with a showerhead or of a more elaborate ilk, these splash zones are fast becoming a must-have element.

This open-air shower’s hand-painted Mexican tile, along with manganese Saltillo tile flooring, complement the home’s Spanish Colonial architecture. Designed by the lady of the house—chef Sydney Dye—and located near the pool and a covered patio, the shower makes for convenient post-swim rinsing. An antique iron balcony piece from Europe serves as a towel rack.

Located between two guest suites at a Phoenix home, this shower was inspired by ones that its owners saw while traveling in Bali and Thailand. Designed by Kristin Austin-Jacob, it has thick adobe walls, a built-in bench, a bronze rain showerhead, and a mural of hand-painted tiles from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
This shower at a Scottsdale residence was fashioned from a riveted antique iron frame that formerly belonged to an industrial storage tank. The owners unearthed the piece in France and had it converted into this bathing beauty. Tumbled nonslip pebble tile clads the floor and ceiling. Arabesque-shaped glazed terra-cotta tiles dress the wall. Lending a patina of age are reproduction hot and cold controls made from bronze castings of an antique European handle.


Cerulean-hued tiles and white walls define this outdoor shower. Designed by homeowner Caren Siehl to evoke the casual ambience of a home in Provence, and built by Jed Bechtel of Grand Mesa Remodeling, it features a built-in bench and a showerhead cleverly hung from a chain. Set in a “secret garden,” the shower is surrounded by fragrant jasmine-covered walls. Showering in it is, per Siehl, “like bathing in a secluded paradise.”
This dramatic alfresco shower, designed by the lady of the house, interior architect Denise Link, features glowing LED lights in its rain showerhead as well as its base. Glass tile clads the floor, and a bed of river rock surrounds the perimeter. At night, the shower casts a monochromatic glow that the homeowners liken to glistening blue stars. As for their delight in showering in plein air, the owners say: “Water is just so soothing, and its iridescent effects really cool us off.”

With its arches and striking tilework, this Arizona shower was inspired by images of old Moroccan mosques. Designed by Bouton & Foley Interiors Inc., in collaboration with architect Mike Higgins and Berghoff Design Group, it is part of a pool ramada. The surround is composed of reclaimed Spanish bricks; antique French pavers add character underfoot. A sun-resistant curtain is both ornamental and functional, lending privacy when drawn.

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