Skip Navigation

How to Create a Backyard Movie Theater

How to Create a Backyard Movie Theater

Nothing says summer like watching a flick outside with family and friends. Instead of searching for a classic drive-in or a local movies-in-the-park event, create your own backyard movie theater at home. All it takes is a few supplies and a little know-how to set up an outdoor entertainment center on your patio or in the garden. Get ready for summer fun with these helpful tips on building a backyard movie theater that suits your space.
 

Pick a Location & Seating Arrangement

Choosing the ideal place to set up your backyard movie theater can be as simple. Throw a couple blankets down on the grass, or arrange outdoor seating on the patio. You can even do a combination of the two. Consider using gravity chairs, which make an ideal seating option for hard and soft surfaces. Whichever type of outdoor seating is right for you and your family, remember to accessorize with extra pillows for comfort and blankets in case there's a chill in the air.
 

shop all outdoor seating | pillows | picnic blankets

 

Brighter is Better for an Outdoor Projector

There are two important factors to consider when choosing a projector for your backyard movie theater: compatibility and lumens. Lumens are used to measure the brightness. The more lumens, the earlier you can start your movie, though anything over 1,000 should cut through ambient light after the sun has set completely. For compatibility, you'll want to make sure that the device can properly connect with your wired or wireless electronic devices.



shop all projectors


Go Big with Your Outdoor Movie Screen

Homeowners have plenty of options when it comes to outdoor movie screens. Inflatable styles are large and easy to set up, but require an air pump that can be loud and distracting during the film. Standalone screens with pre-made frames are a quieter alternative to inflatable screens that require some assembly. The easiest and most cost-effective way to build a screen is by using a white bed sheet or black out cloth and attaching it to a clothesline, fence or even the side of the house. You'll want to make sure that the fabric is taught to avoid wrinkles or folds from distracting viewers as they watch the film.
 

shop all projector screens

 

Family Watching Movie Outside

Check Your Media Player's Compatibility with the Projector

Whether you're using a DVD player, Blu-ray player or laptop computer to play the film, you'll want to be sure that the device is compatible with your projector. Most projectors will include a variety of multimedia inputs that are capable of playing audio and video without much hassle, though you may need some additional cables or connectors.
 

shop all Blu-ray players | DVD players


Sound is Important

If you really want to nail the feeling of an outdoor theater, hook up a powerful sound system capable of fully hitting all the twinkling highs and thundering lows present in your favorite films. While you could use your home's indoor audio system, there are other more convenient options that will require less time and energy. A Bluetooth speaker can help eliminate cords that could trip guests, but the sound quality is going to be limited by the fidelity and range of the speaker itself.

Computer speaker systems that feature a subwoofer and two speakers for stereo sound are lightweight and are simple to set up and operate, and are often capable of greater range than Bluetooth speakers.The most important thing is to ensure that your guests aren't straining to hear the dialogue.

shop all speakers | computer speakers



Set a Fun & Safe Mood with Outdoor Lighting

The last thing you want while hosting an outdoor movie night is for family and friends to be stumbling around in the dark while they search for refreshments or head inside to use the restroom. You also don't want a light that's so bright that it diminishes the image quality of the projection on the screen. White outdoor string lights or pathway lights are ideal solutions that can be used to guide guests to the snack stand, the patio and more.

shop all string lights | pathway lights


Don't Forget the Snacks

After you've got all your equipment and seating set up, tested and ready to roll, don't forget to distribute snacks for everyone to enjoy. Popcorn, candy and soft drinks are classic choices that will please adults and kids alike. Add a modern twist to your selection with lemonade alongside healthy fruits and vegetables with dips. When the audience is stocked up on snacks, simply press play, find a comfy spot to kick back and enjoy your movie experience in the fresh air.
 

shop all snacks