Vanishing Edge Considerations

One of the most dramatic pool designs is the vanishing edge, or infinity pool.  Nothing compares to taking advantage of an ocean or hillside view than one of these works of art!  In this part of the world, these  vessels are commonplace, as the beautiful surroundings lend themselves to this type of pool construction.

Are you considering having one of these pools constructed, or are you in the process of having one built now?  If so, let’s talk about a few very important considerations that need to be addressed in the design phase of these vessels.  VE pools are complex, and if a few critical elements are overlooked or not designed into the system, you can find yourself with some serious design flaws on your hands that could potentially lead to disaster or cost a lot of money to remedy.

A primary consideration is the size of the catch basin.  Most of the catch basins that I see in my travels are woefully inadequate.  Essentially this basin needs to be large enough to accommodate all the water flowing over the edge.  Basic hydraulic calculations must come into play when designing the catch basin:  water-in-transit, wind, and bather surge.  A suggestion made by many experts is to oversize the basin that will capture the water.  In this way you can avoid a worse case situation that could occur down the road.  Skimmers should not be placed in the catch basin, as they are rendered useless as the water level fluctuates dramatically. Skimmer(s) should be placed in the main pool to keep the amount of debris flowing over the VE wall to a minimum. In addition, adequate suction points in the basin (drains) are essential for removing debris.

A well thought out system would call for a vacuum line in the catch basin to quickly remove debris.  This vacuum line should be tied in to the pump that runs the edge and the system should have a filter plumbed in as well.  That’s right, the basin should have its own pump and filter!  Why is that the case?  For one thing, the water that returns to the main pool will be filtered and clean. Second, when incorporating a variable speed pump, the VE wall can be wet with the least amount of water possible, saving energy.  It’s important to keep this wall wet during the day, as it reduces the amount of mineral buildup that can accumulate.  The additional pump and filter certainly adds to the overall cost of the project, but it’s a worthwhile investment!

The catch basin should include an autofill.  Don’t leave this to chance!  VE pools lose more water than your typical pool due to evaporation and wind.  This water loss is reflected in the catch basin. Remember, the upper pool is always kept full, so water loss is not discernible.  But take a look in the catch basin and you will see the amount of water lost due to splash out and evaporation.  There are different types of autofills on the market, and ones made specifically for VE pools. Insist on one when having your pool constructed!  There is nothing more annoying than adding makeup water by hand on a daily basis.

These are only a few noteworthy considerations that should not be overlooked when constructing one of these beautiful pools.. As you can see, beauty is only skin deep; there is a lot going on with these pools that is not visible to the eye, but are essential to keep them running smoothly.  In a future post we will talk about the heart of these pools, the plumbing.

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