If you’ve spent any time lingering over luxury hotel brochures or dreamily flicking through Instagram, you’ll probably be familiar with the concept of an infinity pool. These magical pools are designed to appear as though they stretch to the horizon with no discernible edge, instead gently overflowing to the invisible depths below. In order to achieve this effect, these pools are usually built on sun-soaked hillsides or perched atop opulent apartment blocks. Although not a hugely common feature of British architecture, they remain an unrealistic aspiration for pretty much most of us. Aside from their lofty locations, infinity pools are often designed to show an integrated edge with a larger body of water, such as the sea or sky. They are most commonly found in tropical resorts, or as a feature in luxury homes.
First and foremost, these swimming pools are a place of health and recreation, either at home or on holiday. If you’re lucky enough to have the savings to invest in one, your primary motivation will usually be happy and relaxing moments with family and friends. You’ll also create a unique aesthetic in your garden and be the envy of neighbours near and far. Another plus point is the value added to your property: when you invest upwards of £25,000 on one of these pools, your home should increase by up to 20% on average. Finally, an infinity pool will have naturally cleaner water than the traditional swimming pool. As the water flows continuously, all surface waste (leaves, insects and other rogue detritus) will be transferred to the reservoir's excess water below. There is no time for these impurities to marr the quality of the water and descend to the bottom of the pool, and any debris will be cleared quickly. If the excess water exceeds the maximum level, the pool becomes like a mirror and cleans the surface of the water. In keeping with their luxurious image, there’s no need for a cleaning net with these brilliant pools.
Perhaps the most obvious drawback to an infinity pool is the complexity of the design, relative to more traditional models. Its buffer tank, hydraulic system, sensors, valves and pump are all inherently different from old-fashioned garden pools. In addition, it’s difficult to find a suitable cover system (tarpaulin) without compromising the luxury aesthetic in general. Another disadvantage is that the water balance is more volatile, and that continued water overflow has an impact on water quality: first and foremost, it becomes difficult to maintain a constant temperature. It’s generally recommended to install a solar, gas or electric heating system to combat this issue. The pool should also be equipped with an automatic acidity controller. This is not mandatory, but will be much easier than regulating pH manually (1-2 times per week). Finally, the fundamental structure of the pool will require flawless work to successfully pull off the infinity effect, with 3m3 of water consumed by each linear meter of edging. Ultimately, these points explain why prices are at least 30% higher than traditional pools. It’s also worth mentioning that in order to construct an infinity pool, you’ll need two reservoirs: the main bathing pool and the secondary buffer tank used to collect the overflow.
If you’ve decided an infinity pool is for you, it’s essential you do your research and enlist the help of an experienced landscape architect and/or pool designer before you embark on the construction. As it’s a sizeable undertaking, you’ll need to plan every stage carefully in order to ensure things run smoothly and you get the result you want. A preliminary survey of the land is vital, so that you understand the properties of the ground you’re building on and how it will respond when dug up. In order to achieve the glorious waterfall effect, you’ll need a slope of exactly the right gradient, so that it remains invisible from the other side of the pool and gives the impression of infinity. It’s also advisable to invest in two pumps and two level sensors to ensure comfort: one for filtration, one for water flooding. Once you’ve factored in all these considerations and carefully planned the project, you’ll be all set for a truly magical addition to your garden!