Brillouin light scattering was applied for investigation of surface wave propagation in phononic materials made of a silicon surface loaded with a nanostructure of nickel pillars. The results revealed the presence of phononic energy gap in the GHz range. The presence of such an energy gap was theoretically confirmed by the finite element method. The width of the energy gap was found to be related to the height of the pillars and was shown to be limited by the frequencies of the modes localized in the pillars. The modes were thoroughly analysed.