Backyard Blockbuster

Turn your outdoor space into your own private movie theater.

Leah Corraya/Quaint Inc.

With perfect Central Florida temperatures upon us, why not take your home theater outdoors and enjoy an alfresco screening under the stars? Here are some must-have items to get you started in creating an outdoor theater your family and friends will love. 


High Tech: A high definition (HD) projector is your best bet because it will give you the most crisp and colorful projection. Epson makes several highly rated home-theater projectors ranging in price from $299 to $2,299.  

Low Tech: If you’ve opted for a less expensive projector, use Blu-ray movies. They give more than twice the screen resolution of a standard DVD.   


High Tech: A freestanding projection screen is ideal, especially for those looking for portability. Inflatable screens are also available. Expect to pay $150-$250.   

Low Tech: Hang a clean, unwrinkled queen-size white sheet between two trees in your backyard. Or you can tack the sheet to your closed garage door and host your movie night on your driveway. “It becomes a neighborhood social event,” says Mike Barry of Millennium Systems Design ( 


High Tech: Simply using the sound system on your DVD player or laptop won’t be enough, especially if you have a lot of street noise. “At minimum, you’ll need a stereo receiver, speakers and a Blu-ray player,” Barry says. “Expect to pay $300 to $1,500, but you can spend much more.” 

Low Tech: You can pair the receiver from most stereo systems with your Blu-ray player and then connect any available speakers. “The easiest thing is a small home theater receiver—they start at a few hundred bucks, and then you can plug your Blu-ray player and speakers into it,” Barry says. +



Seating: Beanbags, lawn chairs and blankets will do. Just be sure everyone has a good view of the screen.  

Lighting: Incorporate soft lighting for ambiance while still keeping the area around the screen dark.  

Bug Out: Keep insects at bay with a citronella candle or bug spray.

Food and Drink: Make a batch of gourmet popcorn or consider renting a popcorn machine. Fill a big cooler with ice and your favorite beverages.

Themed Décor: If you’re planning to invite neighbors and friends, consider creating movie-themed invitations and add some decorations and nibbles themed for your chosen film. 

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