When working in my backyard which has a small vegetable garden and a few fruit trees and some ornamental plants, I often need to repeatedly wash my hands and tools. Occasionally, I will have fish, shellfish, produce and similar items that are ideally washed outside because of soil and odor and pieces that I'd like to gather and throw out immediately without storing in my indoor trash cans.
I'm thinking about installing a permanent outdoor sink or similar for that purpose. My location has rainy falls, winters, and springs, dry summers, occasionally snowy winter months. I'm not sure what types of product or structure I should look into. Mainly I'm concerned that a wrong type will damage my house in some unexpected way, or will not last longer than a few years. Any suggestions or recommendations?

Edit: I do already have a ground level cement sink which is properly plumbed. It's about a foot from the base of the house and the water goes under the sink and I think eventually into the sewage. It looks ideal to have a small size pet dog to wash feet in. So I'm imagining the new sink station which is to be used when standing can piggyback on this existing sink.

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The sink is on the ground. The shorter bright green tube is connected to a water spout whose other end is under my kitchen sink.

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    and where will you drain it ?
    – Traveler
    Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 17:46
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    The main thing with water in the cold is freezing. Frozen water can and does burst water pipes/sinks, soft plastic type pipes are more forgiving. Will need a way to insulate the pipes or drain all the water out of the pipes. A portable wash tub might be better, than a sink mounted on a wall.
    – crip659
    Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 17:52
  • do you have a drain for rain gutters
    – Traveler
    Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 18:32
  • Can we have a photo of that ground level sink
    – Traveler
    Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 19:53
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    If you do use a garden hose to supply the water, I recommend switching to a potable water version. Garden hoses commonly have lead in the fittings and can leach other chemicals as well. Commented Jul 22, 2022 at 12:59

2 Answers 2


Fairly common to keep such things entirely detached from the house and even portable, which solves damaging your house. If cold only works, then you can set it up to have a garden hose supply, and drain onto the ground under/behind it. Park it in the garden near your most water-loving plants. Roll up the hose for winter, or move the whole thing into storage for winter.

You could get a fully stainless steel commercial sink to have nothing that would rot or rust, most folks I've seen doing this just use a wooden frame and a stainless steel kitchen sink.

Edit: Given your ground level drain dray, you could just drain (no trap on the taller sink) directly into that drain tray if situating the taller sink over or near it - but since one of your reasons for the outside sink is "washing things with soil on them" you risk plugging that drain with mud - which is one reason why the typical gardener's garden sink (used for washing soil off harvested vegetables and tools in a more convenient manner than spraying them with a hose) dumps onto the ground, not into plumbing it can clog.

  • I added some additional info. Sorry for omitting that originally. With your suggested setup, would it be good with 10 hours of sun exposure for all summer?
    – qazwsx
    Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 19:10
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    @Ruskes Actually, fish water isn't that bad. I wouldn't leave actual fish sitting around... Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 20:11
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    If your "garden" is concrete, it might stink. Soil and compost have microorganisms that quite happily eat stink. even solid fish wastes won't stink if buried in a compost pile.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 21:00
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    @Ruskes Fish water does stink. But when poured on decent soil with lots of stuff growing, the smell dissipates quickly and the biomatter degrades and (essentially) helps your plants grow. Ecnerwal is correct. Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 23:23
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    I will not "correct" my post on the basis of an ignorant comment. compost.css.cornell.edu/fishwaste.html
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 13:30

I had a stainless steel sink work a 3’ wide deck to the right.

I built a simple 2x4 frame and anchored it to the slab,

as an avid scuba diver I regularly clean fish and crab, even a few spiny lobsters and shrimp,

I only plumbed cold water to mine using pex some 20 years ago, it has frozen several times but has not yet broke,

I used some hardy siding panel scraps to enclose it,

my drain is directly into a 2 gallon bucket full of small holes and the water waters the lawn. This has worked fine for me for many years.

I did purchase a large nylon square to put on the stainless deck as the stainless was two slippery to filet the fish ( don’t pay extra for the side deck would be my advice).

There were a few times I had wished I had hot water so the one I have at my current home is still plumbed with only cold and a small electric on demand water heater. That the girls use to wash horse brushes I have only needed cold for fish and crab.

  • I'll take three pounds of crab please +
    – JACK
    Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 20:17
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    If possible, could you show a picture of the setup? I'll be very useful to fully understand how it works.
    – qazwsx
    Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 20:19
  • I don’t have any photos of it but it was much like a camp sink that I got the idea from ( but got the first stainless sink for free from the hospital I worked at and built a cheap frame) very similar to this one that comes with legs BI-LMLZBY-2176-1 , but is backwards , note standard counter heights are a bit low if you regularly have a bunch of fish to filet I ended up adding a piece of angle iron on the end to back crabs
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 1:02
  • The only problem I ever had was after a salmon my dog got salmon poisoning from licking the grass, the vet said she would not get it again.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 2:26

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