Taking it outside: bathrooms in the garden

Phantom Screens / May 1, 2015

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More homeowners are making the most of their outdoor living spaces by creating unusual rooms in nature, and now bathrooms are part of the trend. Before you plan your next remodeling project, you may be curious about why bathing outside has become so popular and how you can make it happen. Here’s a look at the latest in indoor/outdoor living:

Why bathrooms?

You’ve probably seen outdoor kitchens (if you don’t have one already) or media rooms. These designs are great for entertaining, especially if you live in a warm climate. You can prepare meals outside while your guests mingle on your beautiful deck. But why connect an indoor bathroom to an outdoor space? Luxury seems to be the motivating factor.

Indoor design trends have seen homeowners turn their bathrooms into spas, complete with huge showers, saunas and heated floors. The next step in creating a retreat within the home is to invite the outdoors in. If you have a gorgeous garden or great view, then laying in the bathtub while peering out would be relaxing. Sound nice? Here’s how to create an indoor/outdoor bathroom:

Scope out a bathroom

Because you’re transforming your bathroom into an indoor/outdoor space, it should have access to your yard. For most people, this means choosing a bathroom on the first floor of your home that has an exterior wall. You may also choose to build an entirely new bathroom. If you do so, remember that you’ll need to plan electric and plumbing systems. These kinds of changes will also require you to procure a building permit.

Add large openings

Turn one wall (the exterior one) into a large opening outfitted with glass doors. These huge entries can be closed when the weather gets cold or be opened to create the illusion that you’re bathing outdoors! They can also be opened to create the illusion that you’re bathing outdoors. You’re bathroom will be similar to a covered outdoor space, as you’ll get natural ventilation in the form of a breeze.

There are many door options you can choose from, including sliding, bifold, stacking and French.

Create privacy

Maintaining privacy is the most obvious consideration when building an indoor/outdoor bathroom. This is the space where you bathe and prepare for your day, so you’ll most likely want to keep that routine to yourself. The outdoor space surrounding your bathroom should be separate from the rest of your yard and secluded from surrounding lots. You may consider building a private courtyard attached to the bathroom. In that case, you’ll have a small walled-in garden only accessible through the bathroom (though you can add a gate). Light will still stream in from above and you’ll have plants to enjoy.

Of course, closing in a courtyard may defeat the whole purpose of your indoor/outdoor bathroom if you have a great view. Rather than blocking that image while you bathe, consider using alternative privacy options. For example, motorized retractable screens can maintain your view while limiting sight from outside. You can keep the doors open and the screens down to get that natural ventilation while you bathe or shower.

Support flow

Because this is an indoor/outdoor space, you want to be sure to blur the barrier between outside and inside. To do this, consider using the same materials for the exterior and interior of your bathroom. The wood floors you have inside can stretch to create a deck, or the stone wall outside may also be found as a bathroom wall.

Consider installing lighting both indoors and out, as it will help both areas feel like a single room when you use the space after dark. Place several potted plants in the bathroom or decorate with other organic elements, such as rocks or flowers.