Backyard Blockbuster

Turn your outdoor space into your own private movie theater.

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. 

Categories: Backyard & Patio, Food & Entertaining