How To Create A Backyard Outdoor Movie Theater

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backyard outdoor theater

(image: Plural)

Return to the days of outdoor movie theaters literally in your own backyard. Here’s how to do it just in time for popcorn!


While watching a movie on the couch is a relaxing way to spend an evening, warm summer nights make a backyard movie theater a fun and exciting prospect. Whether you’re looking for a unique way to bring the neighborhood together or you want to spice up family movie night, it’s simple to create your own backyard movie theater.

Find the ideal location

There are a few considerations to keep in mind when choosing the right spot in your backyard for your movie theater. First, you’re going to need power to run the projector, DVD player, and speakers.

Therefore, you need to pick a spot that has easy access to an electrical outlet. Second, you also need to think about the surrounding lights when you’re choosing the best spot. Consider headlights from passing cars, house lights, and streetlights, which can all reflect against your screen and make the movie hard to see.

Pick out the right equipment

While there are many parts of a backyard movie theater that you can make yourself, the equipment to show your movie isn’t one of those parts. A good projector is the most important part of your movie theater. Look for a projector that’s as bright as possible. This will make your outdoor movies easier to see.

You’ll also need speakers for your outdoor theater. While you can certainly hook up some surround sound speakers, a set of external computer speakers will also work. Finally, you simply need to connect the video signal from your DVD player to your projector and connect the audio signal from the DVD player to the speakers.

Create your own screen

A retractable projector screen can run more money than you’re willing to spend. Thankfully, there are cheaper options for a projector screen that you can make yourself and that cost a lot less. A plain, white wall in your backyard can make a good projector screen.

If you don’t have a wall that will work, you can also make your own screen with a large, white sheet. Simply attach a white sheet to a thin wood frame as tight as possible and prop it up in your backyard for the ideal projector screen. You can also attach a darker sheet behind your white sheet if you need a clearer and crisper image.

Set up the seating

No backyard movie theater is complete without comfortable seating. Sometimes, this is just about having the right patio furniture, which may or may not include a daybed for everyone to curl up on. Blankets and pillows certainly help. Other times, you might be looking for specialized seating suited to the setting of an outdoor movie-watching experience.

daybed and patio furniture

Bolsena Convertible Wicker DayBed from BuildDirect.

One option for making your own relaxing seating involves just outdoor cushions and plywood. First, pick up some outdoor cushions for a chaise lounge. Then, cut the plywood into 24 by 18 inch pieces. Prime and paint these pieces in your favorite color. Once the pieces have dried, use two hinges to attach two pieces of plywood together. This hinged piece of plywood can now be used as a back rest and support for your cushions and provide fun seating for your movie guests.

For a fun and unique activity everyone can enjoy during the warm nights of summer, consider putting together a backyard movie theater. This do-it-yourself project is easy to complete and provides hours of entertainment for family and friends.


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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.