While the original idea of an outdoor bathroom was an outhouse and a pitcher pump, some drastic improvements have taken place. As more and more people install hot tubs in outdoor locations, the idea of installing an entire bathroom on a deck, in a garden, or partially attached to a house has become popular. The results are not necessarily rustic and the bathroom designs are as varied as the people who build them.
There may be an actual need for an outdoor bathroom at a cabin in the woods, but today's homeowner or designer may feel an entirely different need: to bathe and relax outdoors in a natural setting. Architects have for years designed bathrooms with extensive windows screened with plants and trees. In the 21st century, the trend is to move the entire bathroom out into a place exposed to sunlight and stars, perhaps away from the house. Decks, pool surrounds, formal and informal gardens are popular choices as long as the necessary privacy and plumbing can be planned.
Privacy is an important concern when designing an outdoor bathroom. The entire arrangement may be dependent on careful placement of landscape elements: trellises, screens, and hanging plants. Within the outdoor bathroom, separation of the functions may be accomplished with stone walls, wood partitions, or screens. A great deal can be done with the careful placement of trailing or climbing vines. Any privacy elements should be as natural as possible so bamboo blinds, hemp or linen curtains, and woven wood screens are some suggestions
An outdoor bathroom requires a bathtub, perhaps a large one, if it is to allow the homeowner to relax and enjoy a long, spa-like soak. Incorporating a hot tub somewhere in the bathroom's design is an additional possibility. Combining regular porcelain or acrylic tubs with stone or wood exteriors is a choice. Using a galvanized feed trough is an adventurous idea too, but whatever is chosen must be able to withstand exposure to the elements.
Showers, Toilets, and Basins
Outdoor showers have long been used as rinse-off locations as swimmers come and go from the water, but an outdoor shower can become much more if it is incorporated into a complete bathroom. Installation of a rain-shower fixture is the first suggestion; surrounding the shower with a beautiful stone or brick wall is another. For locations where water and plumbing are available, a standard basin and toilet will suffice, but even for places without plumbing and sewer, environmentally friendly alternatives may be installed.
Color and Accessories
Adding accessories makes the difference between ordinary and beautiful, so select a theme and stay with it. Antique hardware such as curtain rods, soap holders, and mirrors will add charm to any bathroom, and distressing those accessories will probably fit really well. Plants and flowers belong in an outdoor bathroom in any color, but painted walls and/or accessories in sky, water, and tree colors will add to the ambiance. Exposed plumbing is sometimes a part of the design.
- Photo Credit bath image by anna karwowska from Fotolia.com
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