For shower floors, walls, and fixtures, choose weather-resistant materials. Enclosures made of pressure-treated wood, cedar, teak, Brazilian ironwood, even salvaged window shutters will hold up well outside. When buying imported wood, look for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification, which means the boards were sustainably harvested. Wood is also suitable for floors, but like most decking materials, it should be treated periodically to prevent mildew and fading. A stone floor requires less maintenance, but be sure to get a type that's comfortable under bare feet, such as bluestone or tumbled river rock.

Beau Clowney recommends bronze or copper fixtures because they develop a natural patina as they age. Brass also works well, but avoid anything too shiny, because the gloss will fade. In seaside locations, where salty air can pit most metals, corrosion-resistant stainless steel with a 304 rating is typically the best choice. To keep stainless looking new, wash it down every couple of weeks with warm soapy water, rinse, and then wipe it dry with a soft cloth.

The amenities you add to your shower will play a big role in how it feels and how frequently you use it. They also add to the price, which ranges from about $200 for a basic hose-connected shower to upward of $20,000 for a lavish bathhouse with a changing area and built-in seating. Among the simplest add-ons are hooks for hanging robes and wet bathing suits, and shelves for shampoo, and extra towels. A slatted teak mat will feel better on your feet than standing directly on a drain. Other options play off the natural setting. Homeowner John Brown used deer antlers as a towel rack in the shower outside his 1920s log cabin in Folly Beach, S.C. And then there are indulgences, such as an oversized rain-style showerhead to amplify the feeling of being out in the elements, outdoor speakers (some are disguised as rocks) to pipe in music, and low-voltage lighting to illuminate an evening shower. But of course, the best amenity of all is nature itself.
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