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View a Soothing Backyard Bathhouse Born From a Salvaged Tub

After a lilac tree died in Sloan Schang’s lawn in Portland, Oregon, the summertime, it left behind a blank corner. Additionally, it provided him with a chance. A secluded backyard spa appealed to Schang, a writer and creative director, but the6,000 bill required for the necessary electrical work and a new spa sounded less than agreeable.

So Schang constructed his own yard bathhouse — in under a week and for under 1/6 the price — with a salvaged claw-foot tub. “My wife was appropriately skeptical when I suggested placing a bathtub in the garden,” he states, “but she was pleasant and trusting enough to just let me run with this.” Let’s see just how he did it.

Job at a Glance
What: Backyard bathhouse
Location: Portland, Oregon
Size: 7 by 10 ft
Budget: $750, such as labour and materials

Website Preparation

Schang cleared from the deceased lilac tree in addition to some ornamental grasses to prep the website. He dug a hole 5 feet wide, 7 feet and 6 inches deep, attaching it with pressure-treated 2-by-6s.

He closely packed 1/4-inch-minus gravel into the mat to prevent the cast iron tub from sinking. The tub sits atop the compacted gravel without further anchoring.

The deck is framed with pressure-treated 4-by-4s, resting lengthwise on the gravel. The decking itself is recycled cedar fence boards left over from another house improvement project; Schang cut and nailed them straight to the 4-by-4s. While he states the deck was level and protected already, he also anchored it with foot-long garden stakes, pounded into the ground and bracketed into the deck frame.

Before Photo


The claw-foot tub was a steal at $100, and the catalyst for this backyard project. It was already in great condition, only requiring an application of paint. Because it’s protected from the elements by the pergola, Schang didn’t prep the tub in any other way.

He hired a plumber to install a new outdoor hot water bib, tied into existing pipes in the couple’s basement laundry area. Often it’s possible to substitute an exterior hose bib with one which that may tie into a hot water line, but that was not an option here. Schang was pleased to pass this off section of the undertaking. “If there is something you are uncomfortable doing yourself — like plumbing, for me,” he says, “absolutely hire a professional or request an experienced buddy. The peace of mind is well worth the extra time and cost.”

Schang ran a long rubber hot-water hose 60 feet from the exterior hot water faucet into the tub website. He hid the hose in mature landscaping rather than burying it.

The hose rests on a bamboo bet; the flow is controlled with a single-handled faucet. The water temperature is controlled by the bib at the side of the house. “We rarely ever use the cold tap, except in the summer when we use it as a cool-off pool with our son — and generally just fill it with hot hot water,” he states. On colder nights that the water stays warm for 20 or 30 minutes, longer in summer.

Schang secured the overflow hole and preceding faucet holes so he can fill the tub entirely.

The tub drains into a 15-foot-long ABS drain pipe, extending aboveground out into the planting beds. Like the hose, the pipe is hidden by plants and drains on the vegetation via perforations.

Before Photo


For backyard privacy and shield, Schang built a pergola that’s 7 feet wide, 10 feet long and 8 ft tall.

“If you’ve ever built a fence or a deck, then you can handle this,” he states.

If this is the first home improvement project, though, be cautious, be methodical and do not hurry through it.

“All I will say is measure, measure, measure,” Schang advises.

Here’s how you can construct a pergola how he did:
Measure and dig the locations for the four posts.If you are sloping the roof, cut the rear posts to length.Set the posts and cement in 2-foot-deep holes.Cut and hang the exterior box frame for the roofing. (Schang bolted heavy lag bolts right into the post.) Cut and hang the joists. (Schang utilized using joist hanger mounts) Cut sheets of corrugated metal roofing to the ideal size with heavy tin snips, then attach them to the joists and frame them with screws.

Light Fixture

Schang built and made the lighting fixture himself. He drilled out a area of holes in the base of a soap box he purchased on Etsy and stapled a series of lights to poke through the holes in the box. Schang calls the mild “a cross between an old-timey Lite Brite and a kind of mild shower.” String lights already drape the perimeter of the lawn, therefore Schang only had to attach an extension cable.

“Night soaks are silent and calm,” he states, “and on clear nights we get glimpses of the stars throughout the trees” One of the favourite things about the tub is how drastically the encounter transitions from day to night. “At the morning and late afternoon, the tub gets some choice moments of sun, and birds and squirrels are continuously popping in to see what’s happening.”

“The result has exceeded both of our expectations,” he states, “and that I can’t ever imagine getting tired of the space and the simple magic of an outside soak. It’s all somehow rustic and luxurious at the exact same time, quite Swiss Family Robinson.”


Structure and decking — $225:
Six 10-foot spans of 4-by-4 pressure-treated wood posts for the pergola and deck frameEight 8-foot spans of outside 2-by-6s for the roofing frameSix bags of easy-mix concrete to the postsThree sheets of corrugated metal roofingHardwareBamboo solitude shadeTen 5-foot-long cedar fence boards to the decking20 cubic feet of 1/4-inch-minus gravelDecorative river rockPipes — $475 (including hired labour):
Hose rated for sexy waterFaucet to control circulation at the tub (mounted onto a cedar stake)Faucet to control water at the side of this houseOverflow corksABS drain pipeClaw-foot tubLight fixture — $50:
Soap crateStrand of Christmas lightsExtension cordOther substances:
Clear outdoor protective sealer for all wood that’s not pressure treatedRepurposed materials for bathroom fittings (cedar decking shower caddy, tree stump side table, towel hooks)More: View a trendy office in a greenhouse | More salvage style ideas

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