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Transforming a Tiny Yard: Outdoor Shower, Surfboard Shed, and More!

Got a small yard and feeling stuck for inspiration? Think small spaces can't be epic? Think again! Let me show you how we transformed our cramped side yard into a multifunctional paradise with an outdoor shower, surfboard shed, and more!

If you have an underutilized spot in your yard, this is your sign to transform it into something spectacular.

Modern concrete walkway with a white surfboard shed on the right, outdoor shower with wood deck on the left and lots of tropical plants.
This side yard has been a dog run, garden space and now a post-beach haven..complete with shower on the left and my dream surfboard shed to the right.

I'm a big believer in making the most of your space. "How do you plan to use your yard?" is one of the first questions I ask my clients.

When my kids became teens, our needs changed, and we wanted a yard that was fully functional for our family—no more cluttered garage or sandy floors!

We turned our attention to the side yard and squeezed the most out of every inch of this small space. Now, it comfortably fits an outdoor shower, surfboard shed, and AC unit, with room for future pool equipment. It's become one of my favorite spots outside the house.

In this post, I'll share all the FAQs, materials, and budget-friendly tips to help you transform your wasted yard space into an outdoor haven!

Read on for answers to your most Frequently Asked Questions:

Outdoor shower with wood deck surrounded by palm trees against a white coastal house.

Such an amazing job! Would love a source for the outdoor shower fixture!

Hands down, the shower was the best addition to our yard reno! I purchased this outdoor shower from SGO Outdoor Showers, created by Australian landscape designer Mon Palmer, before we even started demo. And now that's installed, we use it almost daily.

Yes, we use it a ton to wash off sandy boards and feet (check out that clever foot faucet). But as a landscaper (that's always coming home dirty) there's nothing better than a warm post-work rinse!

The fixture is a mix of brass and copper with a foot tap that I use all the time! Most showers don't offer that feature but now that I have it, I wouldn't recommend anything else.

Do you have warm water added for the outdoor shower?

Yes, the shower is plumbed for both hot and cold. I worked with my plumber during our exterior reno to place the pipes here. My master bath is on the other side of the wall so it worked out perfectly.

Outdoor shower head against a white coastal home with palms fronds underneath

What do you put under the shower?

There is drainage under the ipe deck. It consists of a catch basin and pipe that leads to the street.

What kind of wood was used for the outdoor shower? And does it need a sealant?

The wood is ipe and I left it natural (no stain). Ipe is a hardwood that's known for naturally resisting water. Because I didn't stain it, it has faded to a beautiful driftwood color over the last year or so.

White shed with vertical siding and roll up door flanked with lush tropical landscaping.

I'm trying to find slabs like these. What are they called?

These steppers were poured in place but we install pre-cast step stones all the time.

If you want a custom touch, we highly recommend hiring a professional hardscape contractor. But if you're looking for a budget-friendly option, pre-cast step stones are the way to go. Sometimes you need to make decisions to make the most of your budget. We can help you decide where to save and where to splurge.

What size steppping stones are those?

Poured in place concrete. 31" x 31" and 31" x 48". Top cast 3 finish. 6" spacing.

Top cast basically is a process where the concrete aggregate is exposed a bit. I think it's a much more modern finish than your traditional broom gray concrete finish.

Modern black landscape lights lining a pathway with plants, palms and rock.

What's the name of the rock? What size? I think I got mine too small.

Mojave .5" - 1.5". This neutral rock style has good mix of grays and tans and was the perfect choice for the coastal vibe I was going for. I did go back and forth deciding on the size at first. Mojave also comes in a smaller 3/8" version but the larger size is better for high traffic areas.

How would you prevent weeds from coming up?

I used a pre-emergent (like Preen) after I completed the side yard. It sterilizes weed spores so they don't germinate. But, some weeds are inevitable, so make sure you keep up on maintenance. You wouldn't install a new kitchen and never clean it, would you? Same goes for your yard. Also, I never use weed fabric! I have a blog post why here.

White shed with vertical siding, lush tropical landscaping and stacked surfboards inside.

Love the shed! Can I ask what the dimensions roughly are?

The shed 12'l x 4'w x 8'h. Perfect size to fit my quiver of boards, wetsuits, lawn chairs, coolers and shelves for all our outdoor pool toys. I also bought these tool holders from

Amazon and have all my yard maintenance supplies tucked on the wall in the corner.

What door did you guys use for the shed?

I bought a roll up door from Roll Up Doors Direct. I picked it up from their warehouse in Orange County, CA, but they ship nationwide. Lots of colors and sizes to choose from. I installed it myself but got a little too excited and broke a spring. I had my garage door guy come out and fix it for me. So, even if you are a diyer, I definitely recommend hiring someone for the install.

A modern white shed with colorful surfboards, beach chairs, fins and cooler neatly inside.

Need the details on what you used to build your surfboard rack!

Ok, so I kinda scimped here. I researched a ton of racks and after the reno they just seemed a little out of budget for me. I ended up using 2"x4"s, wood dowels and foam insulation for water pipes from Home Depot and, after a couple coats of paint, it looks sweet and holds my boards great. I'll put together more details of the build in a future post.

A modern vertical cedar gate opened to reveal a white shed with vertical siding and roll up door.

What siding is that?

I used the leftover siding from my exterior renovation (see more here) for the shed. It's a composite siding called Boral TruExterior Siding.

What's the exterior paint color on your home and shed?

I used Benjamin Moore Simply White paint on both the shed and exterior of my home. I actually also used it as interior paint. It's a great true white that many designers recommend.

You guys do the side gate/fence too?

Yes, see more of our front yard renovation here. The fence is made of 2"x2" cedar pickets. We ripped these from 2"x4"s, but if I did it again, I would have sprung for the S4S pickets (sanded all four sides) like my insta viral front yard fence instead. Also, there is no stain on this fence.

A modern black landscape light and plants at the base of an outdoor shower deck

Please tell us what plants were used. Just perfect!

The shower is flanked with Giant Bird of Paradise which is great for privacy. They've grown pretty high over the last year so I can shower without my neighbors getting a show, lol! Sansevieria zeylanica, lomandra breeze grasses and acacia cousin itts line the walkway. And I have a beautiful mix of giant birds, snake plants, leopard plants with one statement palm tree to the right of the shed.

Small side yard with lush tropical landscaping and rocks.

What is the name of that palm?

I wanted something special for this side yard. This side yard isn't seen by guests much so it was really for my own plant nerd pleasure when I decided to go with a Dioon Spinulosum. It's slow growing (I didn't want too much maintenance here) and gives that tropical vibe I was going for in this space.

Concrete steppers in a side yard walkway leading to a modern vertical cedar fence.

Wet outdoor shower and deck with a giant bird of paradise beside it.

Now that you've seen how a little creativity can transform a forgotten space into a functional paradise, it's time for action. Whether you're dreaming of an outdoor shower, a surfboard shed, or simply maximizing your yard's potential, do it! You won't regret it.

Hit me up on Instagram if you have any more questions! Or, if you're ready to start your project, browse our design packages here.


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