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  1. #1
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    Outdoor shower drainage?

    Now that I've beaten up myself and our finances renovating our kitchen and bathroom, I've decided to waste the remainder of the summer turning the backyard into something cool, which will inevitably be finished only in time for the first snows.

    We have about a 10' x 25' area between the flat back of our house and a stand of beautiful oak trees, so I'm hoping to do a pea gravel patio throughout, fire pit on one side, and an outdoor shower on the side closest to the driveway both for outdoor shower's sake (esp. surfing/biking) and to use one wall as a privacy screen from the neighbors and the street.

    Every hole I have drilled in this project I have had to repatch, repaint, and redrill, so fuck it! Might as well keep this up.

    For those who've done outdoor showers, my question is this:

    The spot to do this is in the corner of lawn closest to the driveway. We have sandy soil here in coastal Maine which I understand drains well. I did have a wet basement multiple times this winter when the snow melted, but there are several spots where the slope of the driveway and slope of the ground around the foundation is flat or heads towards it (a WAY less fun project that I will tackle in the fall once my mood has been elevated by a summer outside). I know I need to do some regrading work around the foundation, but what kind of drainage system do I need for an outdoor shower that might get used a few times a week? I'm hoping the answer is either:

    A) Nothing. Let it spill into the grass
    B) Dig a pit a few feet straight down and fill it with gravel I intend to steal from the side of railroad tracks nearby
    C) Dig a trench angled downhill 0.25 feet for every foot away from the house for, I dunno, ten feet or something. Add stolen gravel and then cover with dirt
    D) I am too cheap to consider other options but go for it

    Gratzi
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  2. #2
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    Build yourself a nice cedar platform to stand on and keep your feet clean and enjoy! [until you forget to unhook it in the fall and a pipe bursts.] It's way less water than a good thunderstorm.
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  3. #3
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    Wouldn't RR gravel be full of creosote, oil, and metal shavings? Sounds like a wonderful way to save $50 jong.

  4. #4
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    Built a few outdoor showers that saw heavy summer use and always dug a pit angled away from the foundation, trimmed the edges with bricks, back-filled with pea-stone for drainage and topped with a cedar platform. Outdoor showers are a fun way to wash off salt, sand and sweat after a day doing fun stuff.

  5. #5
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    Big pit lined with filter fabric filled with gravel should be sufficient. The hd filter fabric is the key, otherwise your gravel fills up with silt/sand and doesn’t drain. You could always tie into it later and add a trench and secondary pit if needed. But with that wicked sandy Maine soil, should be plenty bub

    For the gravel- bonus points for spending that much time stealing gravel from the railroad. But gravel should be anywhere from $30-60/ton delivered? You probably need 2 tons at most.






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  6. #6
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    Currently moving three yards of 1" to 3" gravel into a french drain I cut with my friend's backhoe into the clay that is pretty much impenetrable here, then landscaping for a pea gravel finish, deck, hot tub, shower.
    And 140' of new fence. Because the drain is where I park my rv at the end of the driveway, I'm going to top it off with road base. 1"-3" was $34 a yard.

  7. #7
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    Stone is not expensive..

    If I was doing this project myself, I'd dig a pit 3' deep under the shower and slope it down a few feet over a run of ~10'. Lay some 40MIL HDPE liner in the bottom, geotextile up the sides, and backfill the entire pit with AASHTO #57, stopping 1' from the top of the pit. From the shower side of the pit backfill the last foot with AASHTO #8 for 4-5'. For the rest, lay down some geotextile and cover with topsoil (you don't want the soil washing down and choking the stone).

  8. #8
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    Been thinking about an outdoor shower for our backyard. Yes, I’m CO but outdoor showers are cool. Our sewer line and 4” clean out is ~5’ from where the shower would be. Would it be idiotic to tap into that a few feet underground?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ski-wpk View Post
    Been thinking about an outdoor shower for our backyard. Yes, I’m CO but outdoor showers are cool. Our sewer line and 4” clean out is ~5’ from where the shower would be. Would it be idiotic to tap into that a few feet underground?
    Yes, and probably illegal. I don't know where you like but sewer districts generally hate treating infiltration from hot tubs, sumps, sprinklers etc. Think about what happens when it rains on your outdoor shower.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    Yes, and probably illegal. I don't know where you like but sewer districts generally hate treating infiltration from hot tubs, sumps, sprinklers etc. Think about what happens when it rains on your outdoor shower.
    Nothing compared to wildlife excrement impact. Nanny's like this are why I'll never buy property anywhere that requires HOA membership. How is an occasional outdoor shower any different than kids playing in the sprinkler? Just go easy on the soap, or don't use any soap and nobody should care..
    Go that way really REALLY fast. If something gets in your way, TURN!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SumJongGuy View Post
    Nothing compared to wildlife excrement impact. Nanny's like this are why I'll never buy property anywhere that requires HOA membership. How is an occasional outdoor shower any different than kids playing in the sprinkler? Just go easy on the soap, or don't use any soap and nobody should care..
    Has nothing to do with HOAs or soap etc. It is about volume. Same reason storm drains don't go to the sewer. Where does that water from the sprinkler go? If you live in the city, it will just be a drop on the bucket. I was just trying to explain the concept of why it is not a good idea.

    The more I read your post, the less I know what the fuck you are talking about. Keep fuckin that chicken.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    Yes, and probably illegal. I don't know where you like but sewer districts generally hate treating infiltration from hot tubs, sumps, sprinklers etc. Think about what happens when it rains on your outdoor shower.
    Hah. It’s the opposite here. By code, outdoor shower should have septic connection. But no one pulls permits, and just drains on the ground, sandy soil.
    The problem I see with sewer connection is the trap. Water will freeze and break the pipe.

    To the op, you have good drainage. Gravel over sand is fine.
    No need to dig deep.
    And as others have said, build a platform. Cedar, ipe, or pressure treated wood to get above the gravel and make a nice platform.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    Yes, and probably illegal. I don't know where you like but sewer districts generally hate treating infiltration from hot tubs, sumps, sprinklers etc. Think about what happens when it rains on your outdoor shower.
    Huh... it's probably illegal to drain it any other way. Even if it is illegal as you say, the municipality will never notice the added load during a rain storm... So many combined sewer/storm drains that go to sewer: gas stations, loading docks, trash compactors, etc...

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  14. #14
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    Honestly totally forgot that I started this thread. Thanks for the tips! Will give the pit a go, and then post my wreck of a DIY project on here for all to judge.

    And yes, on second thought given cost of gravel, not worth the hassle and will just get it delivered.
    "We're in the eye of a shiticane here Julian, and Ricky's a low shit system!" - Jim Lahey, RIP

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  15. #15
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    poly 55g drum, drill holes, fill with gravel, wrap in cloth, bury

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    Keep fuckin that chicken.
    I'll give it to you when I'm finished.. for dinner..
    Go that way really REALLY fast. If something gets in your way, TURN!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Core Shot View Post
    Hah. It’s the opposite here. By code, outdoor shower should have septic connection. But no one pulls permits, and just drains on the ground, sandy soil.
    The problem I see with sewer connection is the trap. Water will freeze and break the pipe.

    To the op, you have good drainage. Gravel over sand is fine.
    No need to dig deep.
    And as others have said, build a platform. Cedar, ipe, or pressure treated wood to get above the gravel and make a nice platform.
    Yeah we just got a solid dousing last night from.a thunderstorm and no issues in the basement and yard soaked it up. Will go with this.

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  18. #18
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    I think there wouldn't be enough water to create an issue from just a shower. I have an outdoor shower that drains into some gravel with no issues.

  19. #19
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    Pebbles and cedar platform all the way. But don't skip the platform... the pebbles get gross really quickly

  20. #20
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Just finished mine today!

  21. #21
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    Nice!

    ... But, where's the glory hole?

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  22. #22
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    Outdoor shower drainage?

    Not DIY but finally got my outdoor shower dialed. Added plumbing and privacy screen to an unused covered porch that has access to the master bath. I might never shower inside again.

    Too bad the beach is 1200 miles away.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ski-wpk View Post
    Not DIY but finally got my outdoor shower dialed. Added plumbing and privacy screen to an unused covered porch that has access to the master bath. I might never shower inside again.

    Too bad the beach is 1200 miles away.
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    Technically, that’s outdoors.

    But ideally, you should have no roof. The sun should be shining on parts where the sun don’t shine.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.”
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrkbrnblm View Post
    Pebbles and cedar platform all the way. But don't skip the platform... the pebbles get gross really quickly
    Yes, I have a mahogany platform.
    Quote Originally Posted by Core Shot View Post
    Technically, that’s outdoors.

    But ideally, you should have no roof. The sun should be shining on parts where the sun don’t shine.
    Agree...unless the second story neighbor will call the cops

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