You have probably seen infinity pools by now – those beautiful pools which appear to have only three walls, so the water disappears over the edge of the pool, blending in seamlessly with the horizon. These highly luxurious pools are no longer just the preserve of the rich and famous; now it is perfectly possible to have an infinity pool in your backyard.
Here we explore these fascinating pools, how they work, and how much it will cost you to have an infinity swimming pool of your own.
What are infinity pools?
An infinity pool is a swimming pool which blends in with its surroundings, as the water seems to disappear over one or more edges of the pool. It is sometimes known as a wet edge pool, a negative edge pool, or even an edgeless pool, and when you look at one of these innovative pools, it is easy to see why, as the pool literally appears to be edgeless on one or more sides.
Infinity swimming pools are incredibly luxurious and relaxing to swim in. They are usually built on sloping sites, so they give you a completely unimpeded view over your surroundings, with no pool wall blocking your view. This is highly impressive, as it enables you to take in the true beauty of the scenery around you, whether this is a rural view or a bustling cityscape – an infinity pool is the perfect vantage point for observing the world and watching the sunset. In addition, you are surrounding by the soothing sound of cascading water, as the infinity edge creates a waterfall effect, with the water constantly tumbling off the edge of the pool. These elements create an incredibly calm and relaxing environment, ideal for relieving stress at the end of a difficult day, or enjoying some true quality time with your loved ones.
Until relatively recently, only the most luxurious hotels and celebrity homes featured infinity edge pools. However, thanks to advances in swimming pool technology, it is now possible for the rest of us to enjoy infinity pools in our own backyards, too!
Are infinity pools safe to swim in?
Infinity pools originally became famous when videos of the rooftop pool at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore went viral on social media. People were stunned by the beauty of the infinity pool design, and could not understand how it was safe to swim in without getting swept over the edge.
The truth, of course, is that infinity swimming pools are completely safe, thanks to the innovative way in which they are designed and built. The pool wall on the infinity edge is built slightly lower than the other pool walls, so it does not reach higher than the water level, and cannot be seen at all from beside or inside the pool. This wall is also built at an angle, sloping outwards from the pool, which is what creates the waterfall effect over the infinity edge.
This water obviously needs to go somewhere, as it would be highly dangerous to have a waterfall dropping onto a city from the roof of a hotel, for example! This is where the infinity pool design gets really clever. A smaller pool, known as a holding tank, is built below the infinity edge, so that it is completely invisible from the pool itself. This holding tank catches the fallen water, and pumps it back up into the main pool in a continuous cycle. The infinity pool never empties, and there is no water wastage, making the edgeless pool every bit as environmentally friendly as a regular swimming pool.
The pool walls around the infinity edges of the pool are specially strengthened to withstand the extra weight of the water continuously cascading over them, so infinity pools are just as safe to swim in as regular swimming pools. It is basically an extremely clever optical illusion which adds an extra element of novelty and luxury to your swimming pool design.
How are infinity pools built?
The process of building an infinity pool is slightly different depending on the material you choose. Infinity pools can be built from either concrete or fibreglass, as both of these materials provide the strength and durability needed to create a pool of this complex nature.
Concrete pools are built from scratch on your property; there is no mould or standard shell. This means that every detail has to be agreed with your pool builder in advance. In some ways, it is easier to build an infinity pool from concrete, as the design can be created to suit your property perfectly, and tailored to match your individual taste.
Fibreglass pools are prefabricated, so the pool shells come in a range of styles and sizes for you to choose from. These pool shells come as complete structures and are difficult to customise, so if you want an infinity pool made from fibreglass, significant extra work is required to create an infinity edge on the standard pool shell. Fibreglass infinity pools may not be suitable for all properties, as some particularly difficult sites are not suited to a standard size or shape of pool shell, so you may need to have a concrete infinity pool created from scratch.
One thing both types of infinity pool have in common, however, is that they usually need to be built on sloping sites, as this offers the best view and creates the impression of the pool water blending in with the horizon. Because of this, if your property does not slope naturally, an artificial slope usually has to be created by building the pool partially above-ground.
This is less of a problem with concrete pools, as they are designed to suit your individual property. However, for a fibreglass infinity edge pool, a strengthening structure has to be created underneath the pool shell, so it can be securely installed above ground.
The build process for an infinity pool is highly technical, and usually takes several weeks to complete. This can be slightly longer in the case of a concrete pool, as it is being created from scratch, and will also need tiling once the pool is complete. However, you do have the advantage of being able to design a pool which is completely unique to your property.
How much does an infinity pool cost?
Infinity pool costs vary widely, as each infinity pool design has to be different to suit the property where it is being built. This makes it very difficult to give an accurate estimate, but there are a number of standard of costs you will need to take into account.
The major cost involved in building an infinity pool is the creation of the holding tank. This is essentially a smaller swimming pool built below the main pool, as it has to be capable of holding one-third of the amount of water in your main pool. It also has to be built to the same strength and safety standards as the main pool, so it takes a considerable amount of work and adds significantly to the cost of your edgeless pool.
The second factor is the extra engineering work involved in building an infinity pool. This is a complex, specialist job which can only be tackled by a highly experienced professional. The structure must be extremely strong, durable and completely safe, with extra strengthening work carried out on the infinity edges, so you can expect to pay for professional expertise.
If you choose a fibreglass pool, you will also need to factor in the extra cost of creating the infinity edge, as this is not a simple process. This will cost even more if you want the infinity edge to extend around any corners.
Overall, however, the cost of your pool will depend on the individual conditions at your property, and the design you choose for your pool. On average, you can expect to spend at least $25,000 in excess of what you would spend on a regular swimming pool, but it is important to consult with an experienced pool builder, as this is the only way to get a realistic estimate for your pool. Also, if you are thinking of upgrading your infinity pool to a smart pool, have some more money ready aside to fit in these technologies.
Want to know more about infinity swimming pools?
An infinity pool makes a beautiful and luxurious addition to any property, whether it’s a private home, a hotel, spa, leisure centre or other commercial property. If you are interested in having an infinity pool of your own, Natural Pools can help. We are an award-winning pool building company with over 35 years’ experience of building concrete and fibreglass pools for both residential and commercial properties.
We are based in Melbourne, so we mainly build pools throughout Victoria, but we are happy to travel – you can find examples of our work all over Australia. Please contact us if you would like a consultation and quote, and we will be happy to work with you on the design and construction of your own infinity pool. Call (03) 9555 2215 now!