When I first started working with Darryl + Kyle, I kept mixing up the different “invisible” edge styles. These are pools (or spas) – or parts of pools – that have the pool edge below the waterline. In other words, the water spills over the sides of the pool (into a collection area which recirculates the water back into the pool).
What makes these designs so compelling is they present your pool much more like a natural body of water and less like a man-made structure. Ponds, lakes, rivers and oceans reach out to, meet and naturally blend with the environment that contains them. This is what invisible-edge pools + spas work to achieve.
In this post, we’ll talk about the different styles of invisible-edge pools and then we’ll discuss some of the practical and aesthetic considerations when contemplating any of these styles.
Now, there are variations on all the styles, but the primary styles are:
- Vanishing edge
- Euro edge
- Raised euro edge
- Knife edge
So, let’s take these one at a time.
Vanishing edge refers to a pool that (commonly) has most of the containment above the waterline, but a section — the vanishing edge — is just slightly below the waterline. On the outside of the pool there is typically a two to four foot spill wall, which we call a dam. At the bottom of that wall is a collection area where the water is gathered to be recirculated back into the pool.
Vanishing edges are popular on waterfront properties to create a seamless look between your pool and the body of water your property borders.
Infinity edges have no water containment above the waterline. Instead the water spills over the slightly-below-waterline edge thru a narrow slit bordering the pool and into a collection gutter (from which water, again, recirculates into the pool).
Euro edge pools create a modern, streamlined look that blend seamlessly into the yard or deck surrounding the pool. These designs are bounded by a 12-inch tiled wall, over which water spills into a hidden collection gutter.
Euro edge pools come in two basic varieties: traditional and raised.
A traditional euro edge design presents the pool at ground or deck level. This is the most "as in nature" design for a swimming pool +/or spa.
Raised euro edge design presents the pool approximately 6 inches above the surrounding deck or landscaping. This alternative euro edge design adds visual weight and presence to the pool area, within its surrounding environment.
In the infinity edge category is a special design called knife edge. This is a higher-end (and, yes, more expensive) presentation of the infinity edge concept, that "hides" the outer boundary wall of your pool. Water comes up to the visible boundary of your pool and then then disappears into a hidden collection gutter, giving a seamless look between the water and the surrounding deck or landscaping. For those who have the financial means, knife edge is a striking and unique design alternative.
There are interesting ways to blend these different looks in your pool or pool/spa combination, and we can show you both photographs of those variations, and/or create a 3-D model of a specific design we create just for you. For example, you may like the look of an infinity edge pool with a euro edge spa.
Ok…let’s talk about some aesthetic + practical considerations.
With infinity and euro edge pools, aesthetically it really comes down to your personal taste and if the look “fits” with the style of your home + property.
With a vanishing edge, though, it’s important to consider the surroundings. Vanishing edges are intended to do what their name suggests…vanish. Technically, a vanishing edge can be incorporated into any pool, but aesthetically there are environments that are more suitable for this look than others.
The most common application of a vanishing edge is to create the illusion of your pool being part of a body of water behind it. That said, vanishing edges can be just as effective without a watery backdrop...and we'll help you evaluate vanishing edge for your pool, if it's a look you like.
To successfully create the vanishing illusion, it’s important to consider:
- how the natural light (sun or shade) hits the pool (during the time you’d most often be using it),
- the color of the nearby body of water, and
- the brightness of that color, which can be influenced by light, depth, pool surface reflectivity, background, etc.
On the practical side, these specialty edge pools are often a bit more expensive. Sometimes it’s a small bit, other times it’s more meaningful. In some cases more material is required (gunite, rebar, plumbing, etc.) and often additional equipment is needed (normally a second pump for re-circulating the water). For vanishing edge pools, the size of the vanishing edge will also be a variable.
It’s hard to pinpoint how these edges impact price but, as a broad guideline, you can estimate specialty-edge pools will be 15-20% more expensive. Again…this is just a rough estimate and we can offer ways to lessen the impact on your budget, if that’s a consideration, but you still want that invisible edge look.
As we’ve said elsewhere on this blog and on our website, our job is to help you make smarter decisions based on what you want. Specialty-edge pools can be a little more challenging to envision than traditional pools. So, if that’s the look you’re after, and we spend a little extra time talking thru what you want, it’s only that we’re making certain you have as much clarity about the outcome as possible, from the beginning…so you get exactly what you want at the end.