A classic pavilion provides an all-season retreat near the lagoon-like pool.
Homeowner Ruth Suttle, an avid gardener, did most of her own landscaping.
A picturesque lily pond adds character to the landscape.
Rill Architects added French doors to the main house, leading out to a large stone terrace.
The pavilion houses a stone fireplace and comfortable seating.
A slate patio provides space for dining al fresco.
A stone bridge leads to the pavilion.

English-Garden Style

Jim Rill creates new outdoor living spaces that enhance his clients' glorious Potomac landscape

Over the years, homeowner Ruth Suttle has repeatedly lent her classic English sensibility to her two-and-a-half-acre property in Potomac, creating lush gardens, family play areas and more. When a tree fell, leaving space for something new, she contacted Rill Architects. 

Suttle and her husband “wanted a place to sit in the garden and be part of it,” says Jim Rill. “We took this beautiful garden and created ways to experience it.” 

He and his team designed a striking pavilion with classic columns, an exposed pergola and a skylight. It’s centered on an existing swimming pool with a stone surround and trickling waterfall. 

“You often see these pavilions in England, where they are called ‘temples,’” explains Suttle, who is British. “It gives us a covered spot by the pool where you can be in the sun or shade.” A fireplace with a freestanding stone chimney extends the seasons.

Rill’s team enhanced the view of the garden from the kitchen with French doors that open to a covered porch and large, stone terrace.  A latticed breezeway provides covered access from the garage to the house. “There’s a really strong flow between landscape and building,” Rill says. 

With help from Richard Grisius of Potomac Horticulture & Landcare, Suttle has filled her yard with roses, boxwood, hydrangea and ferns. A stream, covered by a stone bridge, leads to a pond teeming with iris and water lilies. Sculptures, some made from molds of Victorian-era statuary, peek out from between the plants. 

Karen Watkins is a Bethesda, Maryland, freelance writer. Photographer Lydia Cutter is based in Las Vegas.

ARCHITECTURE: JAMES F. RILL, AIA, principal, and JAMES MURRAY, project architect, Rill Architects, Bethesda, Maryland. CONTRACTOR: CONRAD ZINK, Zink Construction, Bethesda, Maryland.