Rills as Garden Water Features

Rill Flowing to Central PoolIn the 'non landscaping world' a rill is a long straight channel eroded by water, in the 'landscaping world' they are a construction, a rill is an attractive water feature that allows water to move in a straight line through the garden or terrace.

Rill Flowing to Central Pool at Coleton Fishacre (Dartmouth) Pictured right.

Rills used in landscaping are usually very shallow and narrow, rills can fit equally well into a garden area or a hard landscaped area. Used widely to 'lead the eye' to another feature in the garden hay are a very handy landscape design device or they can double as functional element and act as way of directing rain water to a garden pool or pond.

Design ideas for water rills in the garden

Stone Rill used as a Water FeatureUseful for providing strong line in the landscape rills are really a decorative feature rather than a way of moving water around for any particular reason, in fact most are built so that the water is simply allowed to flow down a gentle slope and is then pumped up to the top again. Solar pumps and Low Voltage Pumps are well suited for the low volume required.

A raised design used as a feature to flow into a pond, large foliage plants are used at the top of the rill. Pictured right.

A simple form can actually be a still shallow body of water, the trick is that it has straight lines to give the inherent architectural elements a sharp crisp look. Like all water features you will need to used a proper waterproof butyl liner.

As they can be used as a design feature to provide a strong architectural line through a garden or courtyard or as a device for dividing a garden or lawn from a paved area rills can be a very versatile addition to any landscape design.

Plants and rocks in rill design

Plants can be used to soften the edges although they are not often used in the rill itself due to the fact that plants in a shallow narrow watercourse tend to block the flow. It is also possible to have a series of pools joined, perhaps a small waterfall at the top.

Rill at Hestercombe Gardens

The Rill at Hestercombe Gardens (pictured right) is an example of plants growing in rills.

Pebble or small rocks can be used to create a ripple effect and small drops can also be added to help overcome stepper slopes. Consider the material to be used for construction, stone, steel, rocks, concrete they all create a different feeling and require different plantings to make the most of the rill a most unique water feature.

A little detail from the Rill at Hestercombe is pictured below.

Rill at Hestercomb Gardens

The best known, probably the two at Hestercombe Gardens.

John Allman 




John Allman 


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