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The Water's Edge

The disappearing act –  “Vanishing edge, infinite or lost horizon” are just a few ways to describe water features that tend to blur the transition or distinction between foreground and scenery; and as swimming  pools are classed as water features, we can attribute such rubric to them, too.

Although the ability of an architectural structure to deceive is not commonly seen as an asset, the ability of water to “connect” the horizon with your yard-scape is seen as much an asset as the clear and crisp lines that result from using “vanishing edges” on pools with no apparent horizon.  A vanishing edge pool does not have to “ connect” to a view of the ocean, indeed, many successful “edges” are near plants, boulders or other features make for the perfect place to use a “ transition-less” water’s edge.

Allowing your pool to perform the disappearing act does not mean that your water disappears as well. A well designed pool with appropriate hydraulics (read plumbing) will not necessarily use more water than “regular” pools. As a matter of fact, we have a few pools in the BVI that are actually “gaining” water over the calendar year. Proper sizing of all the elements is crucial to its success.  Well designed water shapes usually employ various pumps and anti-siphoning features.  These are relatively inexpensive items, but necessary purchases, in your pursuit to a well functioning system, especially viewed in the context of more expensive repairs later.

We live in an wonderful place that allows us to use the scenes of nature and then enhance those still through (proper) design.  This enhancement needs to be supported with solid engineering, from the soil up to achieve a low maintenance, high enjoyment waterscape. Construction tolerances for pools with overflow features are pretty tight, and if the foundation of your structure is not just right you will have to make repair after repair.

Whilst a mergence with the horizon has become a popular entity, an often forgotten “vanishing” act is the disappearance of the actual pool edge on the deck side. Where grates used to provide a transition between water and pool deck, today we favour a “slot overflow”.  The pool deck and the water level are the same, separated only by a slot of about half an inch, again blurring the distinction edges. Now combine the perimeter with the vanishing edge, create different flow rates and what do you have? Probably one of the most advanced water shapes that you can build.

Finally one of my favourites is the “ beach entry” pool.  Here we let the deck “disappear”, or vanish if you insist, into the pool at a gradual slope instead of using steps.  This provides a great place for kids to play and adults to soak or lounge in very shallow water…

Is the vanishing edge pool for you or is it great for all sites?  No… we sometimes discourage people from using edges because of the site… be aware of one hugely important factor … it all needs to fit together , the home the garden, the pool. A pool should only be a fantastic element in a magnificent collective of home design, landscape and your input…  

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