How to build a garden rill

A developing trend in UK garden design, is the garden rill.

Garden rills have been part of garden design for centuries. Examples exist at the Alhambra Palace in Granada, and throughout Middle Eastern culture, where their presence brings cooling water to hot spaces. In our climate, they can bring reflective water that brings light and movement into the garden. Plus on hot days what could be more soothing than dipping hands or feet into readily available cool water?

Of course there is always the need to take care where small children and water are, but being shallow, and predominately decorative, a rill is a far less onerous responsibility than a swimming pool.

In this blog post, we will explain where a garden rill should be placed, what materials you need and how to build it. We hope that this short guide will help you.

Where should I place a garden rill?

Gardens of all shapes, sizes and styles can accommodate a rill. It is basically a formal channel of water that can either be still or flowing. They should be placed anywhere in the garden that they can be viewed to appreciate. Use them to link spaces, or lead the eye to a particular view of feature. Surrounded by plants they can become feature in themselves. They can be remote from the house, or butt right up to the building.  Of course in this case, care must be taken to protect the damp proof course of the house from water ingress.  If the water is to flow to either a pond, or another water feature, then a gradient must be incorporated at the build stage.

How to build a garden rill

As a general guide a rill should be 30-60cm wide and 24-45cm deep. The length of the rill is entirely up to you and the size of your garden. The channel needs to be dug to size incorporating the gradient if required. Concrete is a suitable base and then line the space with a butyl pond liner.

Edging stones are what give the rill its elegance. Select a stone that is in keeping with your overall garden design To achieve the elegant form associated with a rill, it is imperative that when the edging stones are laid both edges of the rill are level all the way down, creating the classic form. Plus any gentle gradient that is required must be checked along the whole length to ensure the steady flow of water As there is a need for extreme accuracy we would recommend employing a landscape specialist to create the rill.

What materials are suitable to build a garden rill?

Although the formal lines of a rill immediately lends itself to a contemporary scheme, a rill can also be styled to suit more traditional schemes, by using materials sympathetic to the surroundings.

We are often asked to supply materials for building the newly popular garden rill. Stoneworld coping stones are the perfect material to use for this project. We have plenty of different landscaping stones that can be used for this purpose.

Browse our range of coping stones

Black Sandstone Tumbled Pool Copings
From £36.85/Each
Fossil Mint Hand-Cut Pool Copings
From £30.00/Each
Kandla Grey Sawn & Sandblasted Pool Copings
From £45.95/Each
La Roche Acid Etched Pool Copings
From £44/Each

Plus some designs incorporate stepping stones within the water, and the base of the rill can be filled with decorative slate or paddle stones.

Stoneworld have a wide range of stocked landscaping stones that will enable the creation of a unique rill for your garden. Ask our advice on suitable material for your project.

If you require any bespoke elements to be made, we can fabricate these in our on-site masonry workshop at Stoneworld. Our workshop is equipped with all the latest technology in stone cutting and carving, meaning we can produce anything you need in stone.

If you have any questions, please call us on 01844 279274 or email us at and one of our team will be happy to help. Alternatively you can fill out our enquiry form:

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