Garden pod ideas for outdoor home offices and social hubs for all weather

Forget your shiplap she-shed, the garden pod is here in all its curvaceous glory

Who wouldn't want a garden pod for a modern hangout space?  Office pods are the new garden buildings and using one to extend your living space has the advantage of providing a quiet pocket away from the main hubbub of your main home. A role traditionally filled by sheds and summerhouses is now the remit of the outdoor pod - a garden building singled out by its curvaceous, organic form and beautiful finish.

What are Garden pods?

Pods for the garden come in many forms. From outdoor garden office ideas to guest bedroom, hobby room, play den, entertainment hub, teenage hangout or simple covered seating.

Choose from curvaceous outbuildings in smart timber, organic armadillo-shaped cladded structures or rotating spheres (yes really). Pods for the garden tend not to require planning permission or foundations, which makes them quick to buy and speedy to install.

Buy with no fittings and either furnish it yourself or use it for storage, or choose an interior scheme to match your requirements. Many garden pods come with a choice of interior fittings to match the function of the pod - or go bespoke for a truly personalised space.

We take a look at some our favourite outdoor pods for any garden idea.

1. Install a compact seating bench

garden pod bench seating

Ornate Garden Unique Garden Wheel Bench, £3,495

(Image credit: Cuckooland)

The eye-catching Wheel Bench garden pod is constructed from stainless steel, polycarbonate and two pressure-treated laminated timber rings with a large 80 x 120cm table and two wooden benches at the centre. Seats six.

The stainless-steel roof reflects heat and provides shade over the water-resistant interior and the whole pod takes up no more room in your back garden than a standard patio set. Two or more Wheel Benches can be joined together to form a run of tables and benches. The Wheel Bench pod costs £3,495, but do check as the company sometimes offers ex display models at discounted rates.

2. Relax in a futuristic pod

igloo garden dome

HypeDome Garden Pod, £3195

(Image credit: Cuckooland)

The igloo-style outdoor pods are most synonymous with fine dining at swanky establishments, however due to the social restricts in recent times they have been popping up everywhere. This style of pod is perfect for gardens to create an outdoor social space that is fit for purpose no matter the weather.

The quirky garden pod is constructed from over 100 hexagonal glass-like windows, made from 100% recyclable polycarbonate panels connected together using stainless steel screws. The glass-like structures ideal for blurring the lines between the indoor and outdoor. The material is rain, wind, snow and UV protected, meaning its ideal for use all year round

Best in winter to make sure you can still use your outdoor living room idea by simply moving the igloo-like structure over the space.

3. Turn the tables with a rotating design

rotating garden pod on gravel

The Rotating Lounger, £8,999

(Image credit: Lime Lace)

Turn entertaining on its head with this quirky rotating design. The compact round pod features a wraparound seating area around the circumference of the design, which can seat up to eight guests. The Rotating Lounger can rotate 360º meaning you can position it directly into the sun or seek shade at the hottest period throughout the day. You can also direct it out of the path of any wind. Or simply rotate the pod to change the view of the garden beyond.

'In between each laminated pine section is a UV protected polycarbonate tinted window. This protects the inside from the rain and wind but also gives you full panoramic views from the lounger' say the designers Ornate Garden. 'Above and below each window are mirror polished stainless steel louvers, which help mirror the environment around it and reflect the heat to keep it cooler inside in the summer.'

4. Go large to cater for all your needs

large oval garden pod on decking beside house

Farmer's Cottage Oval House Garden Pod, £18,995

(Image credit: Farmer's Cottage at Lime Lace)

These fabulous garden pod spheres are the equivalent of a covered lounger and all have circular seating and a round table. The pods can be used for working, dining, relaxing and sleepovers. The pods can be rotated to make the most of shade on a hot day or to protect from wind on a chilly one.

Made from laminated pine with UV protected polycarbonate tinted windows, these outdoor garden pods feature stainless-steel louvres around the windows to help deflect heat, stylish waterproof interiors and timber-clad frames.

They are available in three core designs: the Seater, the Lounger and the Summer House. Prices start from £7,999 for the Seater rising to £18,995 for the Deluxe Summer House. Stainless-steel upgrades are also available, as is as a Bed Upgrade - lower the adjustable table and add a set of cushion pads for £500 to create a sleeping space.

The spheres have enough space for seven to 10 guests depending on the model. Also a front canopy or sliding door to protect from draughts and acrylic windows so you can enjoy all-round views. They feature a reflective stainless-steel cover that keeps the heat inside comfortable. The pod rotates on chromium bearings and a galvanised track that requires a hard-standing base for installation. The Deluxe Summer House can support a power supply, which can power lighting and other appliances.

5. Have fun with an armadillo-style pod

armadillo-style garden pod with round windows

(Image credit: Archipod)

Red cedar shingles make stars of these gloriously fun garden pods. The Archipod and its pleasingly larger cousin the Fatpod are built to order and make the perfect garden offices. The curved plywood pods have a one-metre polycarbonate roof dome that maximises light and ventilation, a double-glazed stainless-steel porthole window and a top-hinged, gull-wing door. The cedar shingles are available treated or untreated.

They are fully insulated and come with heating, lighting and power pre-installed. Electrics include spotlights, panel heater and a data outlet for the connection of phone lines. Concrete foundation blocks are included, but the ground will need to be prepared before installation. Garden Office pods include an ergonomic semi-circular desk. Archipods, from around £15,000; Fatpods, from around £22,800.

6. Choose decorative tongue-and-groove

garden hideouts pod with wicker garden furniture

(Image credit: Garden Hideouts)

Garden Hideouts' smart garden pods have sleek profiles that will grace any garden. Double glazed and thermally insulated, the outdoor pods are made using top-grade plywood from Finland. The sustainable cedar wood cladding of the exterior can be oiled or left to weather.

The pods comes with five interior fitting options depending on the function of the pod: Freestyle, Office, Classic, Entertainment, Hobby, Extra Bedroom and Treatment. The decor is by Bayswater Interiors and features tongue-and-groove panelling, hardwearing flooring, upholstered banquette seating that converts to a double bed, plus optional extras including solar panels and outdoor decking. Prices start from £14,950.

7. Add character with an arched Armadilla garden pod

Armadilla wooden garden pod

(Image credit: Armadilla)

Edinburgh-based Armadilla built its first pod prototype in 2009. The company is run by Managing Director Archie Hunter and his designer son Ross and they have made over 500 Armadillas to date. They employ a range of expert craftsmen, including welders and steel fabricators, electricians, plumbers and kitchen assemblers.

Armadilla pods, it goes without saying, are beautiful. Prices range from £13,150 for the Armadilla Garden Room pod to £32,900 for the all-singing all-dancing residential Xtraroom Deluxe pod. All are moveable, transportable and built for year-round use.

They feature low-maintenance Siberian larch cladding on a rigid box-section steel chassis. The pods are regarded as caravans under planning law meaning they are treated as temporary structures – requiring no planning permission. The pods are delivered fully constructed and, as they need no foundations (they are mounted on four concrete blocks), take only around one hour to install.

Designed and built in the company's Edinburgh factory, they include electrics, underfloor heating, controllable ventilation, double glazing and insulation for all-year use in any climate. Choose from a catalogue of readymade internal layouts that can be interchanged or slotted into the core product range.

They are built in three sizes in a range of colours and finishes inside and out - or go bespoke for that personalised touch. Armadilla designs include the Guest Room, Garden Room, Xtraroom and Essential, Hybrid, Guest, Duo and Executive Offices.