The Art of the Infinity Pool

An infinity pool done right can be a true work of art, but hack construction companies can easily turn your exciting new home backyard project into a nightmare. Here we cover some of the frequently overlooked aspects of your infinity pool, which when perfected, ensure your Newport Beach, CA infinity pool runs smoothly and beautifully, while lasting for many years to come.

The basics

Infinity pools are swimming pools where the top edge of one side of the pool, called the weir wall, has been removed, leaving the wall about a half to a quarter of an inch lower than the desired water level. A catch basin is positioned along this edge, and is used to collect the water run-off from where it is pumped back into the pool.

Blending water and sky

While there are many creative ways to implement an infinity pool, they are best built on slopes dropping off into a magnificent view, be it ocean or mountainside. The constant circulation of water within the pool means that, unless disturbed, the surface tends to be still, providing a perfect mirror for the sky or surrounding landscape features and creating the illusion of an endless view from your poolside, without the distraction of a pool edge.

Photo from an interior and exterior renovation  project in Pelican Hill, CA .

Photo from an interior and exterior renovation project in Pelican Hill, CA.

Keep your view clear

The effect of an infinity pool is wasted unless the airspace between the edge and your view is kept clear of obstruction. Professional landscape architects and builders should ensure that the catch basin is low enough on the far side of the pool that it isn’t visible to a poolside viewer. Even when building on a steep slope, make sure the positioning of a tall fence further down the slope will not peek over the edge of your pool and ruin the effect. Also consider aspects of your home like second-floor balconies, from which you have a higher viewpoint.

The importance of the catch basin

The catch basin may seem like a no-brainer, but when built incorrectly, can cause you endless hassle and even ruin the effect of your infinity pool. While the catch basin should not be so large as to be obtrusive to viewpoints higher up, it needs to be built to account not only for usual run-off due to pump circulation and nature taking its course, but also surges of overflow as swimmers enter the pool. Infinity pools built in areas that experience high winds need wider catch basins, to ensure that run-off caught in the wind still ends up in the basin. If not done correctly, you could be left with a soggy hillside, an exposed weir wall and a monstrous water bill.

Waterproofing the weir wall

The nature of the infinity pool leaves at least the weir wall facing the view exposed. While hardscaping the exposed elements of your pool to match the surrounding landscaping is recommended, casting the weir wall from glass is another fantastic option that takes advantage of your view from both inside and outside your pool. When opting for the hardscaped option, ensure that your contractor is aware of the need to waterproof the outer surface of the weir wall in addition to the inside, since constant exposure to both water and the elements means the methods used within the pool are often insufficient to protect against cracking plaster and lifting tiles.