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Infinity Pools

An infinity pool is a water feature with a negative edge. It can be built as a swimming pool, a decorative pond, or a simple reflecting pool. The negative edge is also known as a disappearing edge or zero edge. This is because it has no retaining wall or coping to contain the water. Water simply flows over its side and vanishes into an indeterminate point beyond—as if it were literally disappearing into infinity.

Infinity pools are some of the most challenging elements of landscape architecture that we construct. They require a great deal of mathematical precision and sense of geometric aesthetics to create the right aesthetic compliment to surrounding architecture and garden design.

Not only does the swimming pool design specialist have to build an appropriately-sized weir to create the disappearing water effect, but he or she must also build the structure high enough to create the momentum necessary for the water to consistently flow over the zero edge of the structure.

In the Houston landscape this is a major challenge because we have such flat terrain. To overcome this, we will have to either bring in fill-dirt or remove dirt to create the necessary grade in order to make possible the illusion of water mysteriously vanishing into an unseen realm beyond the edge of the pool.


In reality, this unseen realm is actually just a catch basin that is skillfully designed and concealed below the shell of the pool. A weir that is generally one-half to one inch lower than the median pool depth is constructed to carry the water to this basin. Tiny slots are made in the interior of the catch basin that capture the water and feed it to silent pumps located below the structure.

This is why a separate circulation system is needed for the edge flow that returns the water to the main pool after it has finished its magical disappearing act. This circulation system must consist of a very strong pump that runs silently, so as not to spoil the illusion of water disappearing into nowhere. The catch basin must also be built with filtration mechanisms that keep debris carried over the edge by the water from clogging the pump.

Without exception, the edge pumps in infinity pools are larger and more powerful than the pumps that circulate the water in the main pool. The catch basins as well often require more mathematical calculation to design than the rest of the structure. This is because they must not only handle the systematic circulation of flowing water, but they must also accommodate additional volume of water displaced by swimmers and occasional rainwater.

Beyond the sophisticated engineering that infinity pools feature, they create some of the most magnificent scenery you can imagine. This is due to the fact that they are always positioned in relationship to major elements of scenery. In residential landscape design, they are frequently used as giant mirrors that reflect the overhanging branches of trees.

They can also be placed near the edge of a property to create the illusion that the water extends beyond the boundaries of the yard—making the entire area look larger than it appears.

In commercial landscape design, infinity pools can also be part of a contemporary landscape design or modern landscape design where vegetation and trees are minimized and geometry is emphasized. In these environments, we will build the structure in such a way as to make the zero edge meet the horizon so that the water appears to disappear into the sky itself.

For more the 20 years Exterior Worlds has specialized in servicing many of Houston’s fine neighborhoods.