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A hot way to cool down

In our super hot summer, outdoor showers are the only way to go, Helen Raine writes.

Where you choose to put your shower will depend on your current plumbing arrangements.Where you choose to put your shower will depend on your current plumbing arrangements.

If you’ve ever stood in the altogether under an outdoor shower with a red-hot sun counterbalancing the cold water, you don’t need me to tell you how good it feels. If you haven’t, you’re missing out. Malta is the perfect place for showering al fresco, and it’s easier than you think to create one. If you get it right, you might end up making your indoor shower redundant.

Location, location… location

Where you choose to put your shower will depend on your current plumbing arrangements; if possible, try to stick with what you have got. If you want to be fancy, you can connect pipes to the shower, but usually your garden tap and a line of good quality hose pipe will work perfectly. Try to find a spot where you’ll have full sun for most of the day. You also want somewhere you can access easily with sandy feet,to keep the sand out of the indoor bathroom (and the rest of the house).

Heads up

With an adapter kit, you can connect your garden hose to a standard shower head, which means that you can use any shower fitting from the bathroom store. www.etsy.com also have a particularly gorgeous ‘flower shower’ head for €71.30 (listing 228299897).

If you don’t have anywhere to attach the head or want to create something free standing, there are several designs that supply a base, support and showerhead in one. They work perfectly and take all of the work out of a sleek look. Try the Activia Wooden Garden Shower, (€105, amazon.co.uk) or the ‘Monsterbathrooms poolside shower’ for (€208, www.ebay.co.uk).

Screen it

A decent shower stall is essential unless you have a very private garden or rooftop. If you can, sink a frame with four uprights into concrete and then decide on your covering.

Wooden slats make for a nautical look. If you want to be able to ring the changes, opt for a waterproof fabric covering that you can change.

Corrugated iron painted in bright colours works well too and if you’re a DIY expert, you can get a rustic feel by using old pallets.

Some people have even opted for a garden fabric with pockets where you can plant ferns or flowers. A low tech but effective option is to erect a circular shower curtain rod and pick a bright curtain.

If your location doesn’t lend itself to erecting a support frame, you can buy outdoor shower stalls ready made, although they don’t come cheap. Try www. etsy.com/listing/223573918 if you have €3,000 to spare.

Hotting up

Cold water on a hot day is heaven, but as the temperatures drop off in autumn, you might find you want to mix a bit of hot with your cold. Ask your plumber to link up the outdoor shower with your solar water heater if you have one. If you don’t, now is the time to get one; you’ll cut your electricity bill and heat your outdoor shower at the same time. Alternatively, get a shower that combines a solar component, like the Aquamarin 35l option (€129, amazon.co.uk).

If your location doesn’t lend itself to erecting a support frame, you can buy outdoor shower stalls ready- made

Water, water, everywhere

Malta is one of the top ten countries for water scarcity according to the EU Life+ Investing in Water Project. Building your new outdoor shower is a great time to look at recycling some of that waste water to irrigate plants, especially since you’re in the garden or on the roof anyway.

You’ll need to buy a shower tray with a drain; mount the tray so that you can fit plastic piping underneath it and then direct the outflow pipe into some guttering with holes drilled in. Simply lead the guttering to the areas that need watering. www.instructables.com has the details. Or you could go low tech, and shower into a large trough, then fill your watering can from there, post-wash. Lugging the water round the garden counts as part of your work-out. To make things even simpler, just plant flowers and rushes around the shower itself to make use of the water that flows off the base.

Outside deco

For finishing touches, try attaching boat rope cleats as hooks. Driftwood also works well – paint it with some seashore slogans or nail it to the frame as is. Finish up with a bamboo shower stool from www.signaturehardware.com (€147, shipping costs on request).

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