Among luxury pools, perhaps the rarest and most elegant style is the perimeter overflow pool. This design shares a trait with the infinity-edge pool that was discussed in a previous entry on this blog, but it takes the “edgeless” concept even further.
Where an infinity-edge pool has one or perhaps two sides built below the waterline, a perimeter overflow pool is designed so that water spills over all sides. As with an infinity-edge system, the water that flows over the sides of a perimeter overflow pool is caught and recirculated.
The appearance of a perimeter overflow pool is often described as mirror-like. With most pools, the water’s surface is in almost constant motion. Ripples and waves bounce off the sides, interact and reinforce each other because they’re confined in a relatively confined space.
In a perimeter overflow pool, the water is allowed to pour in a thin sheet over the edges. Since the water is not bounded by anything, disturbances don’t persist for very long. The result is a smooth, reflective surface that lends on atmosphere of serenity to its surroundings. Because of its mirror-like quality, a perimeter overflow pool will be visually tied to the surrounding architecture and landscaping and create an integrated effect in a way that no ordinary backyard swimming pool can.
Incorporating water features into a perimeter overflow pool may not be the best choice, because moving water will interfere with the unique stillness and sense of tranquility that are the hallmarks of this kind of pool. To play up its reflectivity, the shell of the pool can be finished with a smooth material in a dark color.
Pool construction for a perimeter overflow system is even more exacting than for an infinity-edge setup. The edge of the pool must be extremely level to create even flow over the entire perimeter. The building tolerance is typically one-sixteenth of an inch or less. Only expert pool builders are able to construct a pool to this exacting standard.
Likewise, excellent hydraulic engineering is required for the behind-the-scenes components that make a perimeter overflow system function properly. To catch the overflowing water, a gutter is constructed around the perimeter of the pool. The gutter must be built with the right size, shape and slope to efficiently direct the water it collects through pipes to a holding tank for eventual recirculation. The system must be built in a way that allows water to flow freely and trapped air to be displaced smoothly, otherwise continual “gurgling” sounds created by water drainage will disturb the sense of calm.
Decking cannot be built right up to the edge of a perimeter overflow pool because there must be space to allow the water to overflow into the gutter. The slot between pool edge and deck shouldn’t be wide enough for a person’s foot to accidentally catch in; one inch is usually the maximum. Some pool owners prefer the cleaner look of a much narrower slot, perhaps as small as a quarter inch. Like an infinity-edge pool, a perimeter overflow pool might be situated on sloping ground in such a way that it appears to merge into the sky or an adjacent body of water. With this kind of arrangement, the pool would likely not be entirely surrounded by a deck.
For 25 years, Hop Cassidy Pools has been constructing the finest Phoenix, Scottsdale and Mesa swimming pools. We specialize in custom pool design, construction and remodeling for Arizona homeowners and contractors. Call Hop Cassidy today at 480-905-8780 to put our expertise to work in creating your personal desert oasis.