Swimming at the edge of your world
Some say the first infinity pool was built at France’s Palace of Versailles, where from, say, one of the palace’s gardens, the eye is enticed across an expansive “infinite” pool of water up to the panoramic King’s palace.
Now perhaps it’s a breathtaking sunset that you want to draw the eye to on your property, or a gorgeous flower garden, or scenic bay. Indeed, in today’s project showcase, it was their property’s spectacular views of Oyster Bay on Long Island’s North Shore that drew these Deck and Patio clients to such a pool.
Man-made infinity (aka vanishing edge) pools expand the serenity of a backyard pool by drawing the eye to some other exquisite scene, thereby substantially increasing the restful beauty of any backyard retreat. However, the finished results belie their underpinnings. These pools — no matter which focal point you are drawing the eye to — require experts to design and install it.
“Vanishing edge pools are an optical illusion that suggest the water is vanishing out of the back edge of the pool,” says our outdoor living expert, Bill Renter. “Nothing is, of course, vanishing in a vanishing edge pool. The water is actually clinging to a recess in the pool wall which then drops into a catch pool below. And while this sounds simple enough, it requires a good deal of mastery to design it correctly. An undersized catch pool can almost never be corrected.”
Bill explains that if the catch pool or basin isn’t large enough there won’t be enough water returning to the main pool and can cause serious problems. Insufficient water may also be a real disappointment, since many like the idea of an infinity pool precisely because the water they swim in will never be stagnant, but will be continually recycled through the pool.
The key, then, is to make sure you deal with experts. And what you get for your effort, is — dare we say it — fit for a king.
Additional note on catch basins: If the catch pool or basin isn’t large enough there won’t be enough water returning to the main pool and the catch pool will run dry. That can trigger huge water bills because it would have to be constantly refilled to compensate for not having enough room to store water. In addition, during rain falls, the basin could be overwhelmed, leading to it overflowing, or eroding or liquefying the soil behind it.