Vanishing Edge. Infinity Edge. Zero Edge. Negative Edge. Overflow Edge. Perimeter Overflow. Slot Overflow. There are a host of different phrases and descriptions that are commonly used to describe these not-so-common swimming pool water features. However, at the end of the day, they are all describing “water in transit” design elements. Simply put, there is water moving from one body of water to another to achieve the desired effect. A more common, but often overlooked, example of this is a spillover spa at the edge of a swimming pool. Water is pumped from the pool and into the spa causing it to “overflow” and spill back into the pool.

Now let’s look at how this might apply to some of the more advanced water in transit designs mentioned above. The aesthetics of the feature along with the hydraulic schematics and details required to ensure they function properly may differ wildly, but the basic concept of how they operate is similar. Take water from one source or body of water and send it to another body of water to change the water level and thus the “look” of the vessel. Vanishing edge (or insert your favorite water in transit term here) pools typically have one or more sides of the pool that are constructed at or slightly above the normal waterline elevation of the pool design.

Water is pumped from a catch basin or remotely located surge tank into the pool (or spa), causing the waterline to rise slightly and start to overflow. The water is captured again in the basin/tank and circulated back to the pool to maintain the look of the “vanishing” edge. This is a VERY simplified explanation of how a sometimes very complicated feature works. Only experienced and qualified swimming pool contractors should be used when constructing these types of water in transit designs.

A common question is “Would an infinity edge pool work in my setting?” There is not a single correct answer to that question. Water in transit features can look stunning in just about any setting or situation, if designed thoughtfully. Some of the most awe-inspiring projects have been built on flat job sites (as opposed to the standard hillside, ocean view, or lake view installations). The more important part to figure out is “What are the clients’ expectations regarding the feature?” Lines of sight (what will the client be able to see or not see from certain vantage points), existing grades and topography, the architecture of the home, and what the backdrop of the project might be will all affect some of the discussions that need to be had and decisions that need to be made.

Undoubtedly, vanishing edge style pools and water in transit design elements are gorgeous and add a “wow” factor to any project. They are also significantly more complex to engineer and construct than the traditional backyard pool. Evaporative loss of pool water increases. Winterization requirements are more involved (if building in freeze/thaw regions). Plumbing and hydraulic systems are inherently more complicated. Projects take longer to build. The detail required and complexity of construction reflect in the cost to add water in transit element into your pool project design. There is no “rule of thumb” method for estimating how much it will increase your budget as each design and project are very different. But for very simple budgeting purposes and based on experience, vanishing edge style features can add $30,000 to $100,000 (or more) to a project.

The expertise, experience, and training needed to pull off some of these projects are significant. Although we boiled down “How an Infinity Pool Works” to a very basic and simple description, these pools are anything but simple. There are countless ways to design water in transit elements into your swimming pool project and they all demand the services of an experienced designer and contractor.

If this inspires you to learn more about the infinity edge pool feature, or sparks another question related to your pool project, don’t hesitate to contact us! Aquavision’s team of pool experts is always happy to share expertise and best practices so you can be one step closer to your dream backyard space. Contact us today to start a conversation.