Relax in a garden bath on a balmy summer evening. Here are step-by-step instructions for making an attractive enclosure for your outdoor bath.
Difficulty rating: medium
Time needed: 2 days
- 4 or 6 treated blue-gum poles for the uprights (we used 2,4m lengths)
- 8 to 10 bags of readymix cement
- treated pine planks as supports and cladding (we used 76 x 12 x 1 800mm and 76 x 12 x 3 000mm lengths)
- chipboard screws
- exterior wood varnish
- 2 tape measures
- wheelbarrow (in which to mix the cement)
- spirit level
- piece of string or rope (used to check levels)
- cordless drill
1 Decide where you wish to place the bluegum poles. Plant a stake where the first pole will be placed (the back corner of the structure). Measure the distance from this stake to the other back corner. Plant a stake. Measure the distance for the position of the first front pole. Use another tape measure to check that the position of the first front pole is at 90 degrees to the back poles. Plant a stake. Measure to find the position of the other front pole, use the tape measures again to check that the corner is at 90 degrees to its corresponding back pole, and then plant a stake to mark this position. If the structure is going to be particularly large, you may wish to add an extra upright on each side between the front and back poles.
2 Once all the positions have been determined, dig 40 x 40cm holes, at least 40cm deep, for the poles.
3 Mix the cement with water in the wheelbarrow. It should be fairly runny.
4 Pour some cement into a hole, place a blue-gum pole firmly in the centre and then fill the hole with cement. Use the spirit level to make sure that the poles are completely upright.
5 Periodically check that the poles remain upright while the cement sets.
6 Mark the positions for the top and bottom horizontal supports on an upright pole. Tie a piece of string or rope to the pole at both of these points and then string each piece to the next upright to find its corresponding point, using the spirit level to ensure that the line is level. Make a mark. Repeat this process around the entire structure for both the top and bottom supports.
7 Use the chipboard screws to fix the supports to the uprights using the marks as a guide. This completes the framework.
8 Screw the planks to the supports, as shown, to form the cladding. TIP: Use a smaller piece of wood as a spacer block to ensure that the space between each plank is the same.
9 To finish: Finish with varnish or wood oil. We sank the bath slightly into the ground and laid a new stone floor around it. If you wish to have warm water in your bath you will need to hire a plumber to help. An alternative plan is to use a donkey geyser that you can stoke behind the screen just before bath time.