Garden Pods put a sci-fi—yet elegant—spin on al fresco entertaining.

If Steven Spielberg had become a designer rather than a film director, the Garden Pod might just be a product that he conjured.

Garden Pods are self-contained enclosed units that heighten the enjoyment of a backyard or garden. Think dinner with the family, drinks and cigars with the boys, even an outdoor office. These outdoor havens aren’t yet available in the U.S., but you can be the first on the block to have one when they become available in early 2013.

“The attraction is their flexibility. They can be anything you want them to be,” says Benjamin Hadley of Mars Lab, the company with exclusive rights to distribute the Garden Pod in the U.S.

Currently, Garden Pods come in four models: small, medium, the deluxe summerhouse, and the large diner pod. Note: Three of the models rotate 360 degrees; the large diner pod is stationary and can come with an optional solar panel with mood lighting.

Each pod can also be customized to the owner’s tastes—think interior color and upholstery. Models can also be equipped with touches like a cigar humidor, a bar, and media units. Landscape architects are already excited for the export to arrive.

“It works perfectly as a space within a space,” says Matt Preuss, a landscape architect based in Redondo Beach, California.

The Garden Pod’s appearance reminds some of a prop from a sci-fi flick, but Hadley says it blends well with any garden environment, mostly due to the materials used in its construction. “The pod mimics its environment,” he says, noting the core’s mirroring aspect. “The outer perimeter is made from sustainably farmed Norwegian treated pine. It’s 20 layers fused together.”

Able “to withstand the weather over time,” the pods are well suited for ocean climates, says Hadley. They are also resistant to mold and have UV protection. The Garden Pod should have success in the market if the continued trend of contemporary over classic holds steady, according to Hadley.

Of course, some homeowners just like the idea of “peculiar” spaces that create conversation. Pricing begins at $13,000 for the smallest pod, while the diner pod sells for $30,000; installation takes between one and two days


The Get: Souluxe


There’s nothing like a soft glow to warm up an evening outdoors. It’s even better when the light source is sustainable. Meet SOULUXE, from Rotoluxe, makers of environmentally friendly display units. This line of sustainable containers can be used as tables, seating, and planters, but they are particularly appealing when lit, as their translucent material diffuses light to create a soft glow. They’re made from recycled plastic, and the containers and stands will remain lit for five-plus hours without need of a power supply. The most popular models (Vazon Magnum, Korto, Kvat, Tavo, and Chumbo) are $170;the Infinity Bench is $420; the Vazon Methuselah is $800.