Setup Your Very Own Outdoor Cinema

A movie theater in your backyard combines the best of both worlds: Movies and the outdoors. It's not as expensive or hard to do as you might think, either, so let's run through the options.

Few would think a sheet and clothespins are the basic ingredients to setting up a DIY screen for movie viewing. It couldn't be so simple, right? Well, it really all depends on how elaborate of a setup you want.

A sheet and clothespins is easy, yes, but there are some other options you have laying around the house - and maybe on it, that can also work as a screen. These options assume you are using a projector, which will be the key ingredient to your movie night.


  • A white table, layed on its side, or mounted on something
  • A cardboard sheet with white paper or a sheet over it
  • The side of your house
  • The side of something flat

The best things to project are flat and brighter in color. Keep it white to make it easier to view in a dark setting.


Many portable speakers can work in an outdoor setting, but some will be underpowered. If you have underpowered speakers then you can always grab a cheap surround sound speaker setup for PC. These can cost as little as $55, and come with incredible sound that can reach high volumes. Logitech is a good brand that offers affordable high quality surround sound speakers for PC use. Don't forget audio cable extensions to increase the reach of each speaker (if necessary).


Lawn chairs are the easiest, but since this is a night focused around bringing the indoors out, feel free to grab a couch and drop it outside. There's something cozy about quite literally bringing the living room outside!

Blankets an pillows work too. As do hammocks provided you have the setting to use them in, and the viewing angles to make them work.


Don't forget the popcorn! You can pop some kettle corn on the fire, or roast some smores. The usual outdoor foods will work for this, but popcorn is definitely at the top of the list.

You can prep these ahead of time of plan for an old fashioned "Intermission" and make them then.

Watching a movie in your backyard can be a fun twist on something you already enjoy. It combines two awesome things and if you've never done it before it gives you the opportunity to experience something you already enjoy in a new setting.

Get Some Ideas

backyard theater in fall
Let's Create a Backyard Theater!

Futon Mattresses and Lighting For Character

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This setup is a beautiful spread featuring comfy and perfectly angled mattress, under a fun and creative string of woven basket lights. The screen is a simple sheet strung up between 2 trees. Pillows and holding vases were added for comfort and convenience.

Raised Cots work as seating

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Are chiggers a problem where you live? Bugs and other creepy crawleys not your thing? You can enjoy the grass without actually being on it, by using cots as seating. Being off the ground is also an ideal way to spend the night under the stars.

Designated Grassy Space

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This simple setup consists of string lights draped between fence posts to create the outline of the viewing area, which consists of pillows and blankets. The screen is a legitimate projection screen that you would find in a classroom. It's simple and looks great.

On The Patio

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Rachel Ray was behind this outdoor movie party, and while the setup is pretty basic, the real heroes are the recipes and the movie! You can't go wrong with jalapeno corn muffins and Will Ferrel! "Don't you put that evil on me Ricky Bobby!"