Garden lovers, allotment holders and even operators of all kinds of facilities that share outdoor areas as their common denominator, are familiar with the problems: sanitary facilities in garden areas are not a given, unfortunately, and providing these is often a difficult task. As a result, one often has to accept long journeys in order to relieve oneself. Those who eventually get weary of this situation and start looking around for a suitable garden toilet, will quickly encounter obstacles as the necessary connections for a regular toilet in garden areas are usually not available and as the installation of a water toilet is often even legally prohibited.
How, then, can sanitary facilities be provided in locations that do not provide any water or wastewater connections? What’s more, what type of waterless sanitary engineering meets the highest standards of comfort and hygiene without falling into stereotypical caveats against alternative toilet systems? These problems are reason enough for us to have a closer look at the issue of garden toilets.
If you’ve been previously interested in the subject, you might have noticed that there is varied terminology around the semantic field of ‘toilet for the garden’. The terms ‘garden toilet’, ‘outdoor toilet’ and ‘bio toilet’ have strictly speaking not been chosen very accurately and do not refer to any specific type of toilet.
Rather, when speaking of ‘garden and outdoor toilets’, a reference to possible areas of application outside of the domestic home is made, while the term ‘bio toilet’ suggests the environmental sustainability of the respective sanitary system. Ultimately, all those types of toilet systems are broadly summarised under these terms as they are possible options for garden areas due to their functionality as sanitary facility.
For the sake of simplicity, we will use the term ‘garden toilet’ in the following and explain their functional requirements which cannot be directly deduced from the term ‘garden toilet’.
Functional requirements for toilets in the garden
Before purchasing a specific garden toilet, you should think about the functional requirements that this unusual area of application calls for. The most important condition for the application and usage of a toilet in the garden is that the chosen toilet alternative functions without a water connection. The reason for this is the likelihood that the correct disposal of emerging wastewater via a sewage connection in one’s own garden as well as in arbours and allotments is impossible or that its realisation causes considerable costs. To avoid this, the only available options for garden areas are usually dry urine-diverting toilets – such as our TROBOLO® – as well as composting toilets without a separation system or chemical toilets.
Provided that the condition of a waterless functionality is met, further functional requirements arise to guarantee a comfortable usage of a garden toilet. With this in mind, garden toilets that will bring you joy for years to come are particularly characterised by their easy operation. Furthermore, their appeal and user-friendliness is significantly increased if they can easily be emptied, cleaned and placed.
1. Easy emptying of the garden toilet
In the case of dry urine-diverting toilets which separate excretions and thereby effectively prevent the development of unpleasant odours, one should be able to transport the collection container easily and more importantly, securely and in a liquid-tight manner as part of an uncomplicated emptying. Our TROBOLO® containers for solids and liquids ensure exactly this thanks to a practical handle and an air- as well as liquid-tight closure. Transporting the containers is thereby secure, hygienic and uncomplicated.
2. Easy cleaning of the garden toilet
Due to the lack of a water supply when cleaning the toilet, you can subsequently use neither running water nor the usual cleaning agents that you might use for the toilet bowl of a regular toilet, for example. This circumstance normally turns out to be less disadvantageous than it might at first appear, however. In fact, the hygienic maintenance of a garden toilet is usually uncomplicated and easily done.
With our TROBOLO® models, the container for solids never directly comes into contact with the excretions thanks to the use of fitted inlays. The cleaning of your TROBOLO® is therefore limited to the removal and subsequent disposal of the inlays and the occasional wiping of surfaces with a damp cloth.
Other models, such as chemical toilets, the emptying and cleaning requires particular caution due to chemical substances used as these should by no means come into contact with the skin. What’s more, the content of a chemical toilet must never be emptied into the sewage system but should instead only ever be emptied at specially designed disposal stations. The hygienic maintenance of a chemical toilet compared to a dry urine-diverting toilet thus requires significantly more effort. Should you nevertheless be interested in this toilet version, then feel free to check out the extensive information that we have collated in our guide to chemical toilets.
3. Where to place the garden toilet
Finally, the factor of easy position should be considered when choosing your garden toilet. Most notably, the aspect of whether you need an additional foundation to set up your garden toilet or whether a level surface is the only requirement plays a key part. The TROBOLO® KersaBœm, our urine-diverting toilet for exterior areas, meets this requirement and, what’s more, does not need any tools for the set-up.
Legal bases for toilets in the garden
When deciding on a garden toilet, the aforementioned functional requirements can serve you as a guide and decision aid. Ultimately, however, the choice of a suitable toilet for garden areas always depends on individual requirements and careful considerations. Nonetheless, your decision may also be bound by different legal bases. This might particularly be the case if, like many other hobby gardeners, you are also looking for a toilet for your allotment.
Conclusions and decision-making aids for the choice of the right garden toilet
As a result of legal bases which often prohibit wastewater in allotments and location-related conditions of other areas of application for garden toilets that do not have a water or wastewater connection, a plethora of consequences ensue that affect the choice of a suitable garden toilet.
A chemical toilet as a garden toilet?
Although chemical toilets function without a water connection and are thereby technically suitable for the usage in a garden, their chemical substances used do pose numerous risks for both humans and the environment, as mentioned before. The greatest caution should be exercised during the emptying and filling of the tank or collection container as the chemicals are toxic for all types of water and microorganisms and must therefore not come into contact with any garden areas or the water drainage at home – let along with your skin.
So if you’re fond of a functioning garden flora and fauna, you might want to refrain from using a chemical toilet when selecting your garden toilet.
Composting toilets in the garden
Classic composting toilets which collection excretions in one single collection container and – depending on the construction and capacity – only pre-compost or directly turn them into useful humus, function without any water connections and are therefore well-suited for a usage in the garden area. Furthermore, composting toilets reduce or even entirely prevent the development of odours thanks to the use of litter so far as an appropriate exhaust system has been installed.
The disposal of excretions is environmentally friendly and sustainable: the obtained humus can be utilised as fertiliser on ornamental plant beds at home and thus close the nutrient cycle. However, the more direct the composting of the toilet waste is to take place, the more complex and space-consuming the compost reactor’s performance usually becomes. Should the reactor be equipped with stirring units, heating rods or an exhaust system, electricity costs will also apply (however, these are usually only small).
More extensive information about the subject of composting toilets can be found in our guide of the same name.
Dry urine-diverting toilets as a garden loo?
The third toilet version which is perfectly suited for all of those locations without a water connection for a variety of reasons, is the dry urine-diverting toilet. Thanks to the separation of solid and liquid excretions, the development of odours is reduced to a minimum as unpleasant odours primarily result from the mixing of urine and faeces.
The addition of litter onto the solid excretions serves to visually cover them and to absorb the enclosed liquids which further minimises the development of unpleasant odours and additionally also significantly reduces the volume of the collected excretions. A dry urine-diverting toilet thus prevents odours before they can even develop and have a considerable advantage over the functionality of a composting toilet in this regard.
Moreover, the use of compostable inlays in the container for solids offers the option to dispose of the collected excretions along with the inlay into an external composter where they turn into useful compost soil together with garden and kitchen waste. This way, dry urine-diverting toilets also enable the return of valuable nutrients into the garden soil and thus close the natural nutrient cycle.
Garden toilets by TROBOLO®
All of our TROBOLO® models are based on the separation system illustrated and therefore offer waterless and thus autonomous sanitary technology which is particularly well-suited for the use in garden areas. Our TROBOLO® KersaBœm was designed specifically for the requirement of a toilet for exterior areas that meets the highest standards with regard to functionality, comfort and solid construction. Thanks to being weather-resistant, the KersaBœm can be used as a garden toilet all year round – even when the temperature falls below the freezing point. Should you prefer to place your garden toilet into an interior space such as an arbour, you can choose from different models like the TROBOLO® LeliBlœm and the TROBOLO® LuweBlœm. What’s more, if you enjoy DIY projects, you might find the right garden toilet for interior areas in the TROBOLO® TeraBlœm which comes as a pre-assembled kit.
If you’d like to find out more about the functionality of our TROBOLO® urine-diverting toilet, why not check out our info materials ‘What is a TROBOLO®’ and ‘Functionality of the TROBOLO® system’.