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If the idea of gathering family and friends in the backyard for a movie night sounds enticing, then it may be time to think about setting up an outdoor theater. Entertaining at home can be an enjoyable way to spend time with special people. When backyard activities include a projector showing a movie on a big screen, complete with sound and seating, your guests are sure to enjoy the event. You have a variety of options as you set up an outdoor theater, many being both simple and affordable.

movie-dog-largeWhy Backyard Movies?

The reasons for heading out to the backyard for a movie night are plentiful. Depending on the size of your backyard, you will likely have much more room outdoors to accommodate guests than you might have indoors. The ambiance of the outdoors can be pleasant and inviting for a backyard movie night. When everyone wants to see a popular movie, the cost can be prohibitive to pay for everyone’s tickets at a theater. Snacks at the movie theater concession stand are an expensive proposition as well. When you host a movie night in your own backyard, you can enjoy the flick and the company of friends and family, often for much less money than you would spend at a theater.

projector-outdoor-smallThe Projector

The projector is an integral component of the movie night because this equipment will project the images onto the big screen. Projector technology has advanced in recent years, making this gadget very portable and surprisingly affordable in many cases. The projector you need will be determined by the screen size, the amount of darkness you predict you will have in the backyard, the distance between the screen and the projector, and your overall budget. If you are trying to keep to a strict budget, consider renting a projector for the first couple of movie nights. This can enable you to experiment with various projectors and your overall setup before making a permanent purchase.

movie-screenScreen Options

The screen is another important feature of a backyard movie night. On a shoestring budget, you might hang a bed sheet on the side of your house to display a movie for friends and family. If you prefer a slightly higher-end experience, you have a variety of options. For a high-quality do-it-yourself screen, you might purchase a kit to construct a screen on a flat surface. You could also purchase a screen especially designed for outdoor use. Inflatable screens are one option for backyard viewing. Motorized screens are also ideal for backyard viewing because you can stow them away when not in use. Renting a screen is another possibility, especially for people who are trying to determine whether outdoor movies will be one of their frequent summer activities.

outdoor-speakerSetting Up the Sound

A sound system will bring the outdoor movies alive to the viewers. For the optimal experience, it’s best to deliver sound in an even coverage throughout the area without any areas having too much or too little sound. Many smaller speakers set up evenly around the area is usually the best way to achieve this coverage. Direct the speakers toward house for the best sound. This also ensures that movie sound is not disruptive to neighbors. Consumers on a budget can probably get by with a standard stereo and speaker system, at least at first. For people who have a budget that allows for some spending, consider adding in-ground subwoofers to add more bass.

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Seating for Guests

Seating for viewers will ensure that everyone is comfortable during the show. At the most basic, you could set up lawn chairs or blankets on the grass. If you prefer to set up a designated area for viewing, you might install theater-style seats on a patio in front of a screen. You might also consider installing synthetic turf under theater seats for a maintenance-free viewing area.

popcorn snacksFood and Snacks

Movies and snacks go together, so plan to serve food to guests. Popcorn is a budget-friendly option, and most people enjoy this snack. Popping popcorn on the stove is a simple process, and this method is an affordable way to prepare a delicious snack. You could also plan an informal dinner to serve along with the show. Pizza, sandwiches, or burgers are just a few suggestions for food that usually appeals to a crowd. Try setting up a table with hot appetizers and beverages to enable guests to serve themselves during the show.

Finishing Touches

As you create a backyard oasis for movie nights, don’t forget lighting. Darkness will be an important element for viewing the movies; however, guests may need a small amount of lighting for safely navigating the area. You may also need to consider insects and pests that could interfere with the show. Some people use preventative methods such as citronella torches and candles or bug traps to keep insects away.