Sheets of water spill into the landscape to beautifully connect infinity pools with their environments and distant panoramas. Here's a look at how these engineering marvels work and what they can bring to your landscape.

By Ann Wilson

Whether their sky-reflective waters appear to be flowing into the ocean, tumbling down a hillside, or flooding adjacent woodlands, infinity-edge pools always make a grand statement. Infinity pools, or edgeless pools, are designed to look as if they lack a wall on one side. This opens them to pleasing sight lines, creating the illusion that water is moving without obstruction from the pool's interior toward the horizon.

What Is an Infinity Pool?

Infinity pools go by a number of descriptors, including vanishing-edge, disappearing pool, flooded-edge, waterfall-edge, knife-edge, and eternity pool. They are designed with a weir wall on one of the pool's outer sides. Water flows over and showers down the weir wall into a gutter system or catch basin outfitted with a pump system that circulates the water back into the infinity pool.

Because of their exact engineering and construction requirements, even small infinity pools are very expensive to build, with costs dependent on your site, choice of materials, and pool size. Maintenance costs are higher than other types of in-ground pools because of the added pump system and the fact that these pools are nearly impossible to fit with pool covers (which slow down water and heat evaporation). Cleaning chores are doubled due to the spacious catch basin and added pump system, both of which require regular attention.

Designing a Very Cool Pool

In-ground swimming pools with edgeless designs are often built on spacious properties with expansive views—be they of city lights, pounding surf, or desert canyons. Their disappearing border directs attention to and forges a connection with the pool's setting. That said, these types of pools can be designed to suit smaller lots: Streamlined infinity lap pools and compact versions that are cantilevered off the perimeter edge of a property can make tiny spaces look bigger.

Create a Tranquil Retreat

Meant to fuse with its location, an infinity pool should complement a home's architecture and be built of materials that mirror the colors and elements around it. Shoreline settings call for pools that boast blue-tiled interiors and sharp knife-like drop-offs that create a seamless outlook from in-ground swimming pool to shining sea.

Want your pool to merge with a tree-bordered pond? Consider a structure with an organic-shape infinity edge accented with native plantings and boulders that can double as seats. Opt for neutral plaster pool coatings if you wish to bring lush landscapes and scenic vistas center stage.

Live on the Edge

In-ground spa tubs, rounded ledges that supply in-pool seating, bubbling fountains, and cascading waterfalls fine-tune an infinity pool's function, form, and pampering qualities. Experts also note that it's important to pay attention to patio and pool lighting for safety and aesthetic purposes. Ask your pool designer about ways you can illuminate your vanishing-edge pool to highlight its distinctive shape and amplify its presence once the sun sets.

Infinity pools are major investments that require precise attention to detail, so take time to research your design options while working with a reputable swimming pool contractor. Doing your homework upfront helps ensure your project will stay on budget, be completed in a timely manner, and most important, that your never-ending pool will buoy your spirit (and body!) for decades to come.

Comments (1)

April 18, 2018
Thank you for taking the time to write this article about these breathtaking pools. Nothing says luxury like your very own infinity edge pool. Thanks again.