How To Build An Outdoor Movie Theater In Your Own Backyard

Movie Night Under the Stars: How to Build an Outdoor Movie Theater in Your Backyard 2023

Last Updated on March 19, 2023

If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to enjoy movies with your family and friends, look no further than building an outdoor movie theater in your own backyard. Imagine cozying up on blankets and lawn chairs under the stars while enjoying your favorite films on a big screen with great audio quality.

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Whether you’re hosting a birthday party, date night, or just a simple gathering, an outdoor movie theater can be a great way to spend time with loved ones. In this guide, we’ll take you through the steps of planning, building, and enjoying your own backyard movie theater, so you can start creating unforgettable movie nights under the stars.

Planning and Preparation

Choosing the Location

The first step in creating your own outdoor movie theater is choosing the right location. Consider the size of your yard and the proximity to power sources, as well as the availability of a flat surface for your screen. You’ll also want to consider factors like lighting and noise pollution in your area. Choosing the right location is important to ensure that your movie night under the stars is a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all.

Picking the Right Projector

Choosing the right projector is essential to getting the most out of your outdoor movie theater. Look for a projector that is bright enough to be seen in outdoor lighting, with a high contrast ratio and resolution for clear, vibrant images.

You’ll also want to consider the throw distance, which is the distance between the projector and the screen. A short throw distance is ideal for smaller backyards, while a long throw distance is better suited for larger outdoor spaces.

When choosing the best projector for outdoor movies keep in mind that the more lumens, the better. Lumens is the brightness output of the projector.

We recommend between 3,000 to 4,000 Lumens.

One such projector is the BenQ MH733 which outputs 4,000 Lumens of brightness. In addition the BenQ offers full HD resolution 1920 x 1080.

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This combination of high Lumens and the high resolution is perfect for large screens and big backyards.

Another less expensive option is the InFocus IN136 which also outputs 4,000 Lumens of brightness but it does not have the HD resolution.

InFocus IN136 DLP WXGA 4000 Lumens, 3X HDMI, VGA, 3D...
  • Wage (1280 x 800) resolution; 28, 500: 1 contrast ratio and up to 4000 lumens for depth of image and life-like colors

It offers 1,280 x 800 resolution which will still work on medium-sized screens.

Selecting the Best Screen

The second step after choosing a projector is picking the best screen for your outdoor movie theater. The screen is an important component of your outdoor movie theater setup. There are many different types of screens available, from inflatable screens to DIY options like using a white sheet. Look for a screen that is large enough to be easily seen from your seating area, and that provides a high-quality picture with minimal wrinkles or sagging. Consider the portability and durability of the screen, as well as the ease of set-up and take-down.

We at Tech Gadgets Today recommend the following outdoor projector screens:

Elite Screens which offer folding screens that are easy to set up.

Elite Screens 120-INCH Projector Screen|Outdoor Indoor...
  • 【120 inch Freestanding Portable Projector Screen】 This projector Screen is 120-inch Diagonal, 16:9 Aspect Ratio. View Size: 59 inch H x 104.7 inch W Overall Assembled Size: 88.9 inch H x 109.8 inch W x 36.7 inch Leg Size. Silver Aluminum Frame

Keep in mind your backyard size, The bigger the backyard the bigger screen that you need.

For example with the InFocus IN136 you need 11-ft 10-in between the projector and the screen for a 100-in diagonal screen size.
If you use the smaller screen, such as the Epson Duet 80-inch scre

Choosing the Right Video Source

When it comes to choosing the right video source for your outdoor movie theater, there are several options to consider. A DVD or Blu-ray player can provide high-quality video, but you’ll need to make sure you have a portable power source to run the player.

Alternatively, you can use a streaming device like a Roku or Apple TV to access movies and TV shows through a Wi-Fi connection. Some projectors also come with built-in media players or USB ports, which can make it easy to play movies directly from a flash drive.

The easiest way to stream is through a Roku streaming stick which can be directly and easily connected to the projector’s HDMI inputs port.

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  • Wireless that goes the distance: Basement rec room. Backyard movie night. Bring ‘em on. The long-range wireless receiver gives you extended range and a stronger signal for smooth streaming even in rooms farther from your router

Or you can also connect your laptop through an HDMI cable to a your outdoor movie theater projector.

If your Wi-Fi connection does not reach outside the house you can use the Wi-Fi range extender.

If you don’t have Wi-Fi at all then you can use a DVD player or a Blu-ray disc player like the Sony BDP s6700 It’s connected directly through an HDMI cable to your projector and watch those movies that are on Blu-ray in your collection.

Selecting a Speaker System

Great audio quality is just as important as high-quality video when it comes to creating the perfect outdoor movie theater experience.

Look for a speaker system that is designed for outdoor use, with enough power to fill your backyard with rich, clear sound. Wireless or Bluetooth-enabled speakers can be a convenient option, as they can be easily moved around and don’t require long cords or cables.

For the best experience we recommend a pair of powered speakers with high-powered active passive speaker PA system.

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  • 1800 WATT POWER: This portable high powered 2 way full range audio projection loudspeaker PA system has a maximum power output of 1800 watt peak power / 900 watt RMS so you can play your favorite tracks as loud as you want and with style

It features dual 8-inch loudspeakers two speakers stands and even comes with a wired handheld microphone in case you want to adjust the audience during the movie be sure to pick up a 3.5 mm cable that’s long enough to connect the speakers to the projector.

Picking a Power Cord

A reliable power source is crucial to the success of your outdoor movie night. Make sure you have a long enough power cord to reach your projector and speaker system, and consider using a surge protector to protect your equipment from power surges and outages.

You may also want to consider a portable power source like a generator or battery pack, especially if you plan to host movie nights in areas without access to power.

For the best outdoor extension cords on power strips, the Amazon Basics power extension cord is a popular option.

Audio Considerations

Outdoor movie theaters can present unique audio challenges, such as wind, traffic noise, and echoes. Consider using a soundbar or a surround sound system to enhance the audio quality and create a more immersive experience. You may also want to consider using noise-cancelling headphones for a more personalized audio experience.

Seating options

When it comes to creating a comfortable outdoor movie experience, seating is an essential element. You want your guests to be able to relax and enjoy the movie without feeling cramped or uncomfortable. One option is to go with traditional outdoor seating, such as folding chairs or blankets on the ground. However, if you want to take it up a notch, consider investing in outdoor furniture. Sofas, bean bags, and even hammocks can make for a cozy and inviting movie-watching atmosphere. Don’t forget to provide ample cushions and pillows to enhance the comfort factor.

Power and lighting considerations

Before you start setting up your outdoor movie theater, it’s important to consider the power and lighting requirements. You’ll need to have a power source close by to plug in your projector, speakers, and any other devices you’ll be using. You may need to use an extension cord or generator to ensure you have enough power to run everything smoothly. Additionally, think about the lighting in your backyard. You’ll want to create a dim and ambient atmosphere, so avoid using bright overhead lights. Consider using string lights, lanterns, or even candles to provide just enough light to make it easy to navigate without taking away from the movie experience.

Building Your Outdoor Movie Theater

Setting up the screen

Choosing the right screen is important for ensuring a great outdoor movie experience. There are a variety of screen options available, from inflatable screens to DIY options like hanging a white sheet. Once you have your screen, make sure to properly set it up in a location that is flat and free of any obstacles. Be sure to secure the screen with stakes or weights to prevent it from falling over in the wind.

Mounting the projector

Properly mounting the projector is key to achieving the best possible picture quality. It’s important to place the projector in a location that is level and free from obstructions. You can mount the projector on a tripod, a shelf, or even a tree branch if it’s sturdy enough. Before you start the movie, adjust the focus and zoom to ensure a clear and crisp image.

Installing audio equipment

Good audio is essential to creating an immersive outdoor movie experience. You can choose to go with a basic speaker system or opt for a more advanced surround sound setup. It’s important to place the speakers in a location that will provide the best sound quality, such as on either side of the screen or at the front of the viewing area. Don’t forget to test the volume and adjust it as needed to ensure everyone can hear the movie.

Creating the perfect ambiance

To take your outdoor movie theater to the next level, consider adding some extra touches to create the perfect ambiance. This can include things like string lights, candles, or even a fire pit to provide some warmth and light. You can also set out some cozy blankets and pillows to create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere.

Safety considerations

While building your outdoor movie theater, it’s important to keep safety in mind. Make sure all cables and cords are secured and out of the way to prevent tripping hazards. If you’re using a fire pit, make sure to follow all safety guidelines and keep a close eye on it at all times. Additionally, be mindful of the weather conditions and take down the equipment if there is a risk of high winds or heavy rain.

Enjoying Your Outdoor Movie Theater

Tips for hosting a successful movie night

Now that you have built your own outdoor movie theater, it’s time to enjoy it with your friends and family. Hosting a movie night under the stars can be a fun and memorable experience, but it also requires some planning and preparation. Here are some tips to help you host a successful movie night:

  • Create a cozy and comfortable seating area: You want your guests to feel relaxed and comfortable while they watch the movie. Make sure to provide enough seating options such as blankets, chairs, and cushions. You can also add some string lights or lanterns to create a cozy ambiance.
  • Serve some snacks and drinks: Movie nights are incomplete without some delicious snacks and drinks. You can serve some popcorn, chips, and candy, along with some refreshing drinks like lemonade, iced tea, or soda.
  • Prepare your outdoor grill and start preparing the food, to enjoy your dinner while you watch your favorite movies in your backyard.
  • Test your equipment beforehand: It’s important to test your equipment, including the projector, screen, and speakers, before your guests arrive. This will ensure that everything is working properly and prevent any last-minute glitches.
  • Choose the right movie: Select a movie that is appropriate for all age groups and matches the interests of your guests. You can take a poll to see which movie your guests would like to watch.
  • Don’t forget bug spray to protect against mosquitoes and the other insects, so it can enjoy a distraction free movie night in your own backyard.

Maintenance and upkeep of your outdoor movie theater

Maintaining your outdoor movie theater is essential to keep it in good condition and ensure that it lasts for a long time. Here are some maintenance tips:

  • Keep your equipment clean: Dust and dirt can accumulate on your projector, screen, and speakers, affecting their performance. Use a soft cloth to clean them regularly.
  • Store your equipment properly: When not in use, store your equipment in a safe and dry place. Make sure to cover them with a protective cover to prevent any damage.
  • Check for any damage: Inspect your equipment regularly for any signs of wear and tear. If you notice any damage, get it fixed as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

Troubleshooting common issues

Even with proper maintenance, you may encounter some common issues with your outdoor movie theater. Here are some troubleshooting tips:

  • Blurry or distorted image: This can be caused by a dirty lens or improper alignment of the projector. Clean the lens and adjust the alignment to fix the issue.
  • Poor sound quality: This can be caused by a loose connection or low battery. Check the connections and replace the batteries if needed.
  • Screen wrinkles or creases: This can be caused by improper storage or handling of the screen. Stretch out the screen and try to remove the wrinkles or creases. If the issue persists, you may need to replace the screen.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I turn my backyard into a movie theater?

To turn your backyard into a movie theater, you will need to select a suitable location, set up a screen, mount a projector, and choose the right audio equipment. You can also add seating options and lighting to create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere. With a little planning and preparation, you can transform your backyard into an outdoor movie theater and enjoy your favorite films under the stars.

How to set up an outdoor cinema at home?

To set up an outdoor cinema at home, you will need a projector, a screen, speakers, a power source, and a video source. You will also need to choose a suitable location and seating options. Once you have gathered all the necessary equipment, you can set up the screen, mount the projector, and connect the audio and video sources. With a little effort and attention to detail, you can create a cozy and inviting outdoor cinema experience right in your own backyard.

How to build an outdoor theater?

To build an outdoor theater, you will need to select a suitable location, choose the right projector, screen, and audio equipment, and set up a power source. You may also need to install seating options and lighting. With the right tools and materials, you can build a durable and reliable outdoor theater that will provide many hours of entertainment for you and your guests.

What do I need for outdoor movie setup?

For an outdoor movie setup, you will need a projector, a screen, speakers, a power source, and a video source. You may also want to consider seating options and lighting to create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere. With the right equipment and accessories, you can transform your backyard into a cozy and inviting outdoor movie theater.

How do you power an outdoor projector?

To power an outdoor projector, you will need to use an extension cord or generator that can handle the required wattage. You should also make sure that the power source is located in a dry and protected area to avoid any electrical hazards. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and use caution when handling electrical equipment.

How to make a cheap outdoor projector screen?

To make a cheap outdoor projector screen, you can use a white sheet or a piece of white fabric that is stretched tightly over a wooden frame. You can also use a white shower curtain or a tarp if you’re on a tight budget. It’s important to make sure that the screen is smooth and wrinkle-free to avoid any distortion or blurring of the projected image.

How much does it cost to build a movie theater in your house?

The cost of building a movie theater in your house will depend on the size and complexity of the project. A basic setup with a projector, screen, and speakers can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the quality of the equipment. If you’re looking for a more elaborate setup with custom seating and lighting, the cost can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Can you use an outdoor projector during the day?

Outdoor projectors can be used during the day, but the brightness of the image may be reduced in direct sunlight. To get the best picture quality, it’s recommended to use an outdoor projector in the evening or in a shaded area. You can also use a high-brightness projector or a special outdoor screen that is designed to enhance the image quality in bright daylight conditions.

What is needed for a home cinema?

To create a home cinema, you will need a few essential things such as a large screen or projector, comfortable seating, surround sound system, and a media player or streaming device to play your favorite movies and shows. You can also add some additional features like ambient lighting, soundproofing, and decor to enhance your cinematic experience.

What is the best time of day to setup your outdoor movie theater

The best time to set up your outdoor movie theater equipment is after sunset, when it starts getting dark. This guarantees that you get a brighter picture from your projector this will ensure clear and crisp video images.

One thing to keep in mind is the size of your backyard, this will determine how big your screen should be, and how far away you projector needs to be from the screen.


As you can see, building an outdoor movie theater in your backyard is an excellent way to entertain friends and family and create unforgettable movie nights under the stars. With a little planning and preparation, you can create a comfortable and inviting space that will make everyone want to come back for more.

From choosing the right projector and screen to selecting the best audio equipment and seating options, there are many factors to consider when creating your outdoor theater. And with proper maintenance and troubleshooting, you can ensure that your theater will provide many enjoyable movie nights for years to come.

So why not get started on your own outdoor movie theater today? Whether you’re looking to host a party or simply enjoy a cozy night in with your loved ones, your backyard can become the perfect setting for a cinematic experience unlike any other. With a little creativity and some technical know-how, you can transform your outdoor space into a magical movie theater under the stars.





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